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What are Communicators’ 2022 Strategic Priorities?

By Brianna Lux | October 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

MarketingCommunicationsCommunications Function and Team LeadershipMarketing Leadership and Strategy

Every year, Gartner Marketing & Communications surveys our seniormost clients to identify their top strategic priorities, challenges and questions for the year ahead. My colleagues and I look forward to these annual survey results because we’re nerds, but also because they help us get a pulse on where our clients’ heads are. The results are also great for guiding discussions with our clients. I love asking “How do these results compare to your own priorities and challenges?” so we can then talk about how to solve those challenges. 

Top Priorities

As part of the 2022 Gartner Marketing & Communications Agenda Poll, we asked leaders to share up to three of their top, most critical priorities in supporting their organizations’ goals for 2022. 

Of the responses from Communications leaders:

  • 74% fell under the topic of Enterprise Communications, with written responses such as: 
    • Streamline communications tools and channels
    • Evolve and enhance our communications ecosystem of channels and live event experiences to best engage our audiences
  • 61% aligned to Communications Leadership & Strategy, with written responses such as: 
    • Aligning Communications staffing and skill sets to support the organization’s top priorities
    • Organizing ourselves more in support of the key business priorities
  • 57% related to the topic of Reputation Management, with written responses such as: 
    • Evolve reputation management and brand protection capabilities
    • Driving reputation and building trust

Communications themes from the write-in responses reflect a common focus on brand, engagement, employees, digital communications tools, and strategy, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Themes in Most Critical Priorities from Marketing & Communications Leaders

n = 74 communications leaders
Source: 2022 Gartner Marketing & Communications Agenda Poll

 

Top Challenges & Questions 

In addition to understanding our clients’ top priorities, we also ask about what their top challenges and most urgent questions are. 

The top three challenges to meeting commitments to the organization in 2022, as shown below in Figure 2, are: 

  • Employee change fatigue and/or confusion about priorities
  • Difficulty balancing short-term execution-oriented needs and long-term strategic planning
  • Audience information overload/digital distraction 

Figure 2: Top Challenges to Meeting Commitments to the Organization in 2022

Percentage of Communications Leaders Anticipating Each Challenge

n = 74 communications leaders
Source: 2022 Gartner Marketing & Communications Agenda Poll

 

The most urgent questions for Communications leaders, as shown in Figure 3, are:

  • How should we be measuring communications’ impact? 
  • How do we help employees deal with information overload and ensure that important messages get through?

The question ranked by most communicators as their first choice was: How can we help ensure a consistent, positive employee experience with the organization?

 

Figure 3: Communicators’ Most Urgent Questions for the Next 6-11 Months 

n = 74 communications leaders
Source: 2022 Gartner Marketing & Communications Agenda Poll

Key Trends

We see the following key trends emerge when we combine the above priorities, challenges, and questions with conversations Gartner experts have with our clients:  

1. Proliferation of digital tools: The growing prominence of digital tools across Comms comes with positives and negatives. On one hand, access to more tools can improve communicators’ ability to reach audiences and measure impact. But on the other hand, it can lead to information overload if communicators do not use these tools and channels strategically.  

Key Gartner Resources

2. Change fatigue is here to stay: Interestingly, and perhaps dishearteningly, employee change fatigue has been the top challenge for the past five years of Gartner’s Communications Agenda Poll. Clearly, organizations have been changing at an overwhelming pace for a long time, and appear to have no intention of slowing down that pace of change.

Key Gartner Resources

3. Activity prioritization is a must: As Comms functions continue to establish themselves as strategic partners with the business, they have trouble balancing their daily work with strategic work to create business impact.   

Key Gartner Resources

4. Need for proactive reputation management: Expectations of organizations have changed – from employees, prospective employees, customers, and other external stakeholders. Even clients of B2B organizations are looking at them to determine if they are responsible suppliers aligned to their own priorities. To manage reputation and build brand trust, Comms is shifting away from telling the “fluff” stories toward building narratives with proof points. 

Key Gartner Resources

So back to the question I love to ask: How do these trends and survey results compare to your own priorities and challenges? If they resonate for you, set up time with a Gartner expert to discuss. Let’s talk about how to solve those challenges for your team or organization. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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