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November 11, 2021

The 3 Best Investments for Your Brand in 2022

Samantha Davis

The 3 Best Investments for Your Brand in 2022

Ah, Q4. The crisp, cooler temperatures. Changing foliage. Early holiday prep. Scorpio SZN… All the best things come to those who wait. Unless you’re still trying to figure out where to focus your time and money for your brand next year.

But – it’s been another “unprecedentedtwelve months. The Great Resignation. Supply chain issues. Companies navigating or adapting a hybrid work environment.

Cut yourself some slack. And, don’t fear. Creative Energy has made it easy—I’ll give you some hot (data-driven) tips on where to focus your budget dollars so that your investments are the best use of your time, resources, and will provide the best return.


If we’ve learned nothing else in the last two years, we’ve learned to innovate or die. Business transactions are still taking place. Messages are still being communicated. And humans are still looking for connection. This was best demonstrated in the *first* industry event I have attended in 2+ years.

Members of our agency attended two large-scale foodservice trade events in October – CrEATe in Denver, CO, and NACS in Chicago, IL. We all agreed that attendance numbers were down, but important stakeholders were still “in the room.” Instead of bringing large teams of 20–30, the mission-critical team of 5 key decision-makers were still there, ready to engage and excited to be in person again. And this trend is set to continue.

In the 12th annual installment of Content Marketing Institute’s B2B research, budgets are set to increase next year, and more than half of marketers anticipate those dollars going to events, both virtual and in person. Their findings show that virtual events produced the best content marketing results in 2021, and half of the respondents expect funding to grow specifically for in-person events moving forward.

Our clients have found that virtual events are a fantastic way of offering low-cost, highly measurable engagement with their brand, sales team, and strategic messaging. Without the cost of travel, “swag,” and the entertainment factor, organizations have been able to unleash highly impactful interactions with the right people at the right time. However, it’s time to begin prepping your team (and budget) for in-person trade events and sales conversations again. These opportunities are likely going to be fewer and far between, but more strategic. Ensure you’re prepped with the right communication plan, material, plan of action for execution, and reporting mechanisms to gauge your success.

Thought Leadership

The growing distrust of media and large organizations has made consumers leery of messaging on every front. Coupled with the constant news cycle and immediate access to information, it’s even harder for brands to break through the noise and provide content that consumers (and therein business leaders) discern as worthwhile. Out of necessity—successful organizations have discovered that now is the time to develop trust and credibility through ownable, regular thought leadership.

In a 2021 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study conducted by LinkedIn and Edelman, 54% of B2B decision-makers spend more than one hour a week reading thought leadership. However, 71% of those same decision-makers remark that less than half of the content they consume helps to provide valuable insights. More simply put—there’s definitely a market for content-hungry folks; there’s just not a lot of high-value content available. That’s a lot of missed opportunities to get it right and win.

Developing valuable content, or thought leadership is hard work. It takes SMEs who are willing to invest the time to document their thoughts and a well-rounded plan to share them. But organizations are making big investments to get this right, and you should too. Work within your organization to take inventory of what already exists. What can we own? And how do we make it ours? Develop a process for brainstorming content, developing it, communicating it, and testing it.

Agency partners are great at helping to streamline this process. Thought leadership can take shape in many ways—custom research done for or within your own organization, whitepapers on a complex, but relevant topic, long-form blogs, case studies, and even routine reactions to other articles on your own social channels. The key is to ensure you provide actionable takeaways so that your content is easy to consume, highly valuable, and therefore, more likely to be widely shared.


And finally (does it even bear repeating) your team has to invest and have a plan for digital advertising and tools. You probably already have some dollars allocated here, but in case you need some fodder to pad that budget with your leadership team, some important and daunting stats:

  • From 2019–2021, digital retained 12.8k advertisers over the same period and added 22.7k new advertisers into the B2B space. The main driver of increased ad spend? New advertisers who are breaking into the B2B space.
  • More than three quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions.
  • The US B2B digital ad market grew 32.5% in 2020 and will grow 24.9% this year for nearly $11 billion in spending.

Choosing to no longer advertise digitally or prepare for a digital selling environment is not an option. As technology continues to adapt, so too will the process required to reach consumers.

So as you round out your plans for next year, not only is it a good idea to include these tactics, it’s a safe bet. Working with a partner to develop a plan that covers these three areas is an even better idea for investment in 2022. That’s where we can help. Give us a shout to see how.