How To Combine 2022 Marketing Trends Into One Simple and Successful Program

by Lu, OTL City Guides & Seat Fillers

Remember when marketing focused on billboards, TV ads, and print? Then, we moved into an era of experiential marketing (aka grassroots or guerrilla marketing).

Grassroots marketing is something I’m very familiar with after spending seven years on a Chrysler marketing program. We went wherever our potential customers were, bringing Chrysler Sebrings and Plymouth Voyagers to shopping malls, stadiums, and festivals.

But, everything keeps evolving. These days, if you want to get more bang for your buck and reach out to customers, you’ve hopped on the virtual bandwagon. Social media and Google ads are all the rage. But those concepts can be hit or miss, depending on how much time and money you have to spend. Plus, your success also depends on how well-versed you are in setting up somewhat complex advertising plans.

So, what’s next? Fortunately, a few top 2022 marketing trends include a complete reversal of paid online advertising.

Virtual and In-Person Marketing Trends

I did a little research on 2022 marketing trends to see if online still reigns supreme. And, while Google isn’t going anywhere and social media ads will also dominate, they’re not the only focus. You might be better off with an unplugged strategy in some cases (entertainment, activities, and services).

You’ll find different blog posts with the top five, seven, or ten 2022 marketing trends. But I found some common threads that can be woven together into a new model that I’m labeling “private marketing.”

I’ll get to private marketing in just a minute. But first, here are the three marketing focuses for 2022 that might have already caught your attention and popped up on most marketing advice lists. While they can translate to products, I’m zooming in on these marketing trends specifically for events, activities, and services, which don’t have the same online advertising success rates.

You’re going to find that private marketing and the three marketing tactics I’m covering are directly tied to COVID restrictions and modern consumerism.

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Three 2022 Marketing Trends and Focuses

  1. Exceptional customer experience
  2. No hard-selling
  3. Think outside the box

1. Exceptional Customer Experience

The customer experience doesn’t necessarily translate to “the customer is always right.”

However, it does involve good customer service, value, and attention to detail. It’s putting your product (even if it’s an event or service) on display in the best light.

For example, let’s say that you’ve just reopened the doors to your community theater after a year in the dark. Yes, your excellent and entertaining show should produce positive reviews. But the focus on customer experience encompasses more.

Creating Repeat Customers

The patrons sitting in those theater seats are your ideal customers, and you want them to return. So, have you done a refresh? Maybe a little painting and updated décor? Have you revamped your concessions so things are sanitary and safe? Maybe covers for your drinks and popcorn? How about your ticketing process? Are you using paper tickets that are changing hands, or have you found a more effective method that won’t frustrate older patrons who aren’t as fond of using their smartphones as others?

Look at the big picture with the goal of repeat patrons, customers, students, etc. After a few years of isolation, showing you care about the needs of others will go a long way.

2. No Hard Selling

Finally, huh?! When I think of hard-selling, visions of retailers with sales reps located every few feet pop into my head. They’re constantly asking if you need help, making suggestions, and following you around.

Sometimes I just like to wander a store without any purpose and, many times, I end up buying something. Hey, I don’t mind a suggestion or two, but I also like to browse.

Or, how about when you buy an item online and have to jump through ten hoops before you get to the checkout. “Pay 5.00 more, and we’ll double your order.” OK, I can handle one of those offers. But, c’mon. I don’t need to decline a dozen of them.

The COVID-Prompted Marketing Trend We Like

COVID did quite a bit to change the auto industry, didn’t it? Buying cars online is much more prevalent, and people who shy away from hard-selling are breathing a sigh of relief.

It doesn’t matter if you have a product, service, or entertainment venue. Putting you and your brand in the best light with an easy way to purchase or redeem an offer is now on display more than ever. Think samples, freebies, or discounts without a catch, and a good FAQ web page to start.

3. Think Outside the Box

The third 2022 marketing trend is one of my favorites. While thinking outside the box can lead to positive change, it’s also an excellent strategy for businesses with a limited (or no) budget.

When you don’t have the money to spend on traditional advertising, you come up with a plan b, c, d, or z.

This particular marketing trend returned out of necessity. After experiential marketing had its heyday, many businesses were spoiled with instant online success and a straightforward approach.

Outside the Box Thinking is Always a Wise Marketing Strategy

But, as I mentioned, most of today’s advertising and marketing tactics are COVID-prompted to some extent. Think about it. We had to stay at home, so brick and mortars morphed into delivery services. Employees couldn’t go into offices, so Zoom zoomed ahead. Supply chain issues, more virtual competition, our lives, and businesses have rapidly adapted.

Everyone was forced to think outside the box somehow, and the trend continues in 2022. Creativity is a must if you want to stand out and accommodate new demands.

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Combining Trends Into a New Marketing Strategy

I briefly mentioned the concept of “private marketing.” It’s not a widely publicized strategy but one that bears consideration.

What is Private Marketing?

My definition of private marketing is a way to entice new customers or patrons to give your show, event, service, or activity a try without publicizing that you’re giving anything away.

At OTL Seat Fillers, we’ve been privately offering private marketing services for eight years, and it’s incredibly effective. In fact, it’s private marketing that sustains the concept of local seat filling. So, I’m focusing on seat fillers and private invitations through OTL’s partners, but the idea is adaptable.

2022 Marketing Through Private Invitations

The way that private marketing through OTL is we team up with local businesses: theatres, show venues, comedy clubs, gyms, movie theaters, classes, conferences and expos, escape rooms, sports teams, virtual events, the list goes on.

Businesses provide complimentary tickets or opportunities, and OTL promotes them in the private seat fillers member area. Members make online reservations, and OTL shoots a reservation list to the venue or business.

Mutual Benefits to Partnership With No Money Exchanged

No money or tickets are ever exchanged between OTL and any partner. And, it’s not limiting access to interested patrons, as OTL’s local seat filler membership club is open to anyone who wants to join (18 or over).

These partners are providing free tickets or a complimentary experience. However, no one but OTL Seat Fillers knows they’re doing it. Once again – private marketing. And, it’s marketing to people who are 100% on board with getting out and being entertained or trying new experiences.

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Benefits of the Private Marketing Strategy

You might think private marketing would be a bust without a big splashy campaign targeting the masses. But that’s not the case.

Private marketing (through OTL) ticks all three 2022 marketing trend boxes:

  1. Exceptional customer experience – free pairs of tickets or complimentary admission. And, OTL members are treated like every other paying patron. They don’t clip coupons or are seated in a particular “free” area. No one knows they’re on the comp list.
  2. No hard-selling – showcasing what you have to offer through a complimentary experience targeting your ideal patron or customer. OTL seat fillers are known to return time and again to places they’ve had a great experience. Some have even volunteered for community theatres they were introduced to through seat filling tickets.
  3. Think outside the box – no explanation needed here. It’s unique marketing (that’s also free, private, and easy.)

This particular marketing approach introduces shows, events, activities, etc., to new patrons and customers through a hidden invitation. The concept is like a private VIP experience, and what’s more exceptional than that?

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More Benefits of Private or One-on-One Marketing

>> Your ideal customer or patron actually walks through your door.

>> It doesn’t devalue your product because you’re not putting everyone on your comp list.

>> The invitation is extended exclusively to people who enjoy live entertainment, activities, and experiences (they pay dues to be a part of local seat filling).

>> Regular sales aren’t impacted because your program isn’t advertised.

>> It’s an easy way for you to build your marketing opt-in list (have guests sign in upon arrival or fill out a form).

>> Immediate increased income (even with free admission) – OTL Seat Fillers buy concessions and bring extra guests. They return and support places where they have a good experience. If you invite them to a comedy club, they’ll abide by the drink minimum.

There are all kinds of ways to elevate your bottom line, even with some private freebies. How?

Just think outside the box!

We don’t want to speak for every private marketing opportunity. But, with OTL, it’s free, private, and easy. You let us know what you want to offer, and we put together a reservation list for you.

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How to Get Started with Private Marketing

We’ll be posting all kinds of marketing ideas and information throughout the year. So, be sure to add your name to our private promoters list.

But we’re also standing by with private marketing opportunities for you right now. Check out OTL’s event promoters page with all kinds of information. Or you can go right to the submission form and get started. You don’t need to write a new marketing plan or create a custom budget. All you need are comp tickets, passes, or admission to whatever you’re showcasing.

You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the current top marketing trends and focuses?

There are three primary focuses that marketers, event marketers, and show promoters are mindful of in today's world. They include exceptional customer service, no hard selling, and thinking outside the box instead of defaulting to a singular social media or online advertising focus. These 2022 marketing trends translate to new programs like private or one-on-one marketing.

Private marketing? How does that work?

it seems counterintuitive, but sometimes the best approach to securing new customers or patrons is to narrow your reach. OTL Seat Fillers has hundreds of event partners and provides each with private marketing. The events and venues reap the benefit of local seat fillers attending shows and adding to the bottom line through food, beverage, and merchandise sales. However, no one knows that shows are taking advantage of local seat filling because that could impact their regular ticket sales. So, the venues are privately introduced to new patrons who actually walk through the door and love live entertainment. However, no one else knows that it's part of their overall marketing strategy. It's a personal approach that's proven effective.

How does private marketing, like seat filling, fit into 2022 marketing trends?

Three new marketing focuses (top-notch customer service, no hard selling, and think outside the box) are combined into a unique private marketing program called local seat filling. Community shows, events, and activities promote on a one-on-one basis. It's marketing by invitation (no hard selling), a feel-good for new patrons and customers (top-notch customer service), and a unique opportunity that veers from the norm (think outside the box).