Embracing The Next Big Thing
Top takeaways for brands from our latest MasterConnect event
Every fall, Forrester Research makes predictions for the year ahead, holding conversations with marketers, advertisers, technology and service providers and analyzing the trends. Dana Toering, VP, Walmart Connect, sat down with guest speaker Emily Collins, VP, Research Director at Forrester, to learn more about the predictions and the data behind them in order to empower marketers and brands to embrace the next big thing.
Forrester Research’s Top 4 Predictions for Marketers & Advertisers in 2022

Two years into a protracted pandemic, brands are more agile and open to experimentation. So are consumers.

  • Consumers’ tech use is at an all-time high, reshaping expectations for the digital customer experience (CX).
  • Consumers crave novelty and variety, so it’s no surprise 41% of marketing executives surveyed said improving their brand’s ability to innovate is a priority.1
  • Brands that succeed in 2022 will be those who get out in front of the customer using new modes, models and methods that elicit not just satisfaction, but delight at every step of the CX journey.

    Prediction #1 – Metaverse

    Metaverse buzz will attract bandwagon ad dollars from some Fortune 100 brands.

    Although the metaverse got a boost from celebrities and high-profile brands in 2021, activations still happen on private virtual world platforms. Aside from Gen Z and younger millennials, consumers aren’t ready for the metaverse. Most aren’t even curious. Forrester believes the metaverse won’t truly exist until the virtual world and real world can more easily connect and exchange information. Even though that infrastructure could be years away, some brands are starting to invest in metaverse-lite activities.

    Advice for brands:
    Test and Learn.
    • Start with your customers. Test their awareness of the metaverse.
    • Which ones are already playing in the virtual world? Do they expect to see you there?
    • Keep in mind, crypto and NFTs will be the common currency.
    • If you’re one of the big brands who can’t resist the buzz, invest in adapting your marketing playbook to the virtual world first.
    Prediction #2 - Shoppable Connected TV (CTV) Ads

    Shoppable Connected TV (CTV) ads will be the bellwether of shoppable experiences everywhere.

    The gap between discovery and transaction narrowed during the pandemic, a result of more shoppable touchpoints and digital-only shopping options. Will shoppable experiences replace the touch-and-feel appeal of in-person shopping (e.g., clothing purchases)? “No,” says Forrester, the two can be complementary. Fractional buy-now-pay-later and try-before-you-buy options are finding favour with consumers for budget and convenience.

    Consumers’ appetite for shoppable TV ads is increasing. QR codes, connected remotes and voice assistants take advantage of second-screen behaviours. Customers make purchases on their mobile phone, with minimal interruption to the viewing experience.

    Advice for brands:
    Innovation can’t happen without experimentation!
    • Experiment with shoppable ad experiences; just be mindful of how they fit into your larger omnichannel advertising, branding and commerce strategy.
    Prediction #3 – AI-powered Solutions

    Brands will flock to AI-powered audience solutions, fueling 20% category growth this year.

    Don’t get hung up on identity-based solutions alone.
    Targeting known customers means searching for authenticated permission overlap.
    Retargeting unknown users is significantly curtailed, if not completely existentially threatened.
    Targeting net new prospects gets far less ‘personal’, more predictive.

    Data deprecation is upending data-driven marketing efforts, so adapting data strategies for deprecation is a priority for brands.5 Marketers will invest in AI-powered audience solutions and use prediction to drive performance. No single solution is a silver bullet. It’s about adopting a privacy-first approach, testing and learning.

    Advice for brands:
    Put the onus for audience solutions on your 3rd-party partner.
    • Ask providers the tough questions. What can you expect when it comes to performance, end results, transparency and a guarantee of data safety?
    • Look for a partner that invests in multiple digital signals, such as opted-in digital tracking panels, contextual insights, time of day and weather to predict audiences and performances.
    • As with any AI-driven model, bias and lack of transparency pose risks.
    Prediction #4 – Retail Media

    Global revenue from the retail media category will reach $50 billion in 2022.

    Marketers are shifting more of their ad spending to retail media networks (RMNs). The category has deep-zero and first-party data to better influence the customer at the point of purchase compared to digital ad platforms.

    Like Walmart Connect, Forrester believes the future of retail media is omnichannel.

    Advice for brands:
    Expect change and challenges on the road to success.
    • Brands may need to change their thinking about RMNs — they’re not just a media buy or another channel.
    • RMNs can be an excellent opportunity to reimagine the strategic partnership between retailer and brands, offering new data and a new level of insights to drive innovation and growth.
    • Look for a partner with deep omnichannel expertise.
    • Biggest challenges with RMNs?
      • Not all networks are created equal; think about the level of scale, insights and flexibility your brand needs to succeed.
      • Over-monetization can lead to poor CX.
      • Consumers are savvier in 2022, they expect a frictionless CX journey.

    Is your brand ready to embrace the next big thing?

    The key driver for brand success this year is “INNOVATION.” Innovation is not about buying new technology. It is about building a brand culture that champions diversity of thought, values varied skill sets and ensures employees feel genuinely engaged and connected to your brand’s plans for the future.

    1 Forrester’s August 2021 CMO Pulse Survey.
    2 Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics Benchmark Surveys, 2011 and 2021.
    3 & 4 Forrester’s December 2021 Consumer Energy Index and Retail Pulse Survey.
    5 Forrester’s August 2021 CMO Pulse Survey.

    Learn more about Forrester Research