No one can see the future because neither time travel nor crystal balls have been invented yet. Arguably, such a device would only show us one possible future because the moment we saw it, we would start working to change it so we could achieve a better outcome. In that sense, every possible future is the real future. It is just a matter of which of those futures we wish to pursue, and which of the challenges we choose to address.
As it happens, we don’t need a crystal ball to predict some of the challenges that will face us in the near future. Even now, those challenges are at hand. We might understandably be blindsided by the challenges that face us ten years hence. But we have no excuse for lack of preparation with regard to challenges that will be fully upon us next year.
It is always wise to leave room for the unexpected. A little more than a year ago, no one expected the world to be ravaged by a pandemic. Almost every government in the world was caught flat-footed. Businesses were expecting AI and facial recognition to be the biggest issues they would have to tackle, instead, we had a viral pandemic and social pandemonium. Barring that kind of uncertainty next year, here is what you can expect to be facing in 2022:
Overcoming Anti-Advertising Sentiment
Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency initiative enacted in iOS 14.5 is taking the advertising world by storm. As it turns out, when given a clear choice, people don’t want advertisers to track their every move across the internet. In the US, 96% of users have opted to block advertisers from tracking them. Overcoming this anti-advertising sentiment will be an existential-level challenge for some businesses.
Fortunately, there are good options for advertisers. Check out this free Facebook business resource that can help you get your message out through the social media community boasting over 2 billion users. Businesses that rely on advertising do not have to fold. They have to be smarter and more user-friendly rather than user hostile. Such tools are available. Social media can have a big impact on your marketing. So you have to get over your aversion to social media. If you are one of those people who has contempt for Facebook and Twitter, you are also harboring contempt for the billions of users who rely on them everyday. Your audience feels they are being treated with contempt. Your challenge is to change that narrative.
Diversity is a top business challenge in 2021. In fact, it has been one of the top business challenges for several years. All levels of your business will be under scrutiny from the janitor to the CEO. What does your business demographics proclaim about your stance on diversity? If you’re not looking at it, rest assured that others are.
Diversity in the C-suite is an even bigger problem. The age of assuming that companies should be exclusively run by middle aged white men is over. In 2022, you will have to answer to more than the board of directors for your choices. You will have to answer to the consumer. We are rapidly approaching zero-tolerance for casual racism and casual sexism. Your lack of awareness about the role you might be inadvertently playing will not protect you from backlash. Start putting out that brushfire before it is out of control and out of your hands.
Recovering from the economic wreckage of COVID could take longer than expected. We are very close to reaching the place where everyone who will be vaccinated has been vaccinated. Projections are that it will fall well short of what is needed for herd immunity. That means that the old normal will not be returning anytime soon. The new normal will involve much of your customer base still insisting on remote ordering and home delivery. Expect retail numbers to be down. Everything will reopen this year. But it will be another year after that before anyone knows how it will all pan out.
It doesn’t take a great sage to know that advertising fatigue, diversity accountability, and pandemic hangover are going to be among the biggest challenges businesses have to face next year. It does take forward-thinking business owners to address those problems today.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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