2022 Marketing Trends for Small Businesses

Small businesses are still getting their bearings as we’re adjusting to the new normal forced upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the related supply-chain crisis has hit every sized business, small businesses suffered especially hard as priority goes to big box stores. 

With 99.8 percent of Canadian businesses considered small or medium-sized and small businesses employing almost 70 percent of Canadians, small business survival isn’t just important, and it’s critical. Fortunately, there are some marketing steps small businesses should take in 2022 to help weather the crisis. 

Try supply chain collaboration

The supply chain crisis, fueled by a perfect storm of labour shortages, infrastructure problems, raw material shortages, and high demand, isn’t likely to end any time soon. Unfortunately, small businesses have to compete with big-box stores such as Walmart, Costco, and Target over who receives their deliveries. As much as we don’t want to admit it, it makes sense. Big box stores have their own logistics setups and plenty of negotiating power. 

There is one option for small businesses: supply chain collaboration. Admittedly, it might seem counterintuitive to help the competition. Still, studies show that when companies team up to consolidate their purchases, they see higher growth, more profit, and lower operating costs.

Fortunately for small businesses, Canadians are on their side. Three-quarters say they think shopping at small businesses is essential, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. About half of Canadians think it’s worth the wait. That leaves just over one-quarter who want to spend their money locally but might not be so patient. 

Use artificial intelligence

One of the biggest 2022 digital marketing trends is Artificial Intelligence. Unfortunately, many small businesses are reluctant to embrace AI. Some feel it’s impersonal, too glitchy, or difficult to integrate into their existing systems. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Several online platforms, such as Amazon Pre-trained AI services or Google Colab, make building AI models intuitive and straightforward. 

Small businesses can use AI to keep in touch with customers or use features like auto-completion to make in-house tasks easier. Other examples of AI for small businesses are using chatbots for messaging or automating and customizing marketing campaigns

Hire gig workers

Amid the post-pandemic labour shortage, hiring gig workers is almost a necessity. Sixty-four percent of Canadian employers expect to replace full-time workers with gig workers. So what can gig workers do for small businesses?

There are several benefits for small businesses looking to hire gig workers. With very little overhead, gig workers can fill roles in marketing, IT, web design, delivery, accounting, and even engineering, while freeing full-time employees to focus on their primary duties. 

Consider resilience training

If gig workers don’t fit your business model, resilience training is another way to weather the labour shortage. Cross-train employees so they can serve multiple roles. Of course, this helps fill gaps if someone is absent, but more significantly, it lets companies prioritize tasks and reduce recruiting costs.

Go carbon neutral

According to the Paris Climate Agreement, companies have less than 30 years to become carbon-neutral (when a company removes enough CO2 from the atmosphere to offset the CO2 released by company activity). That goal will be easier to achieve for small businesses in many ways. A small business has fewer layers of bureaucracy and can move much more quickly. As a bonus, Canadians are willing to pay more for environmentally responsible products from environmentally responsible companies.

If you’re struggling to understand how your business can benefit from a sound marketing strategy that may or may not include some of the above ideas, book a free consultation call! We’re always happy to help.