The rules have changed.

Research from RRD reveals a new generation of buyers, sustainability pressures, and workforce dynamics that are changing the rules of marketing playbooks.

The study, based on surveys of both in-house marketing decision makers and consumers in the U.S., highlights four transformative industry themes:

  • Marketers are bullish on emerging channels
  • Direct mail feels novel for digital natives
  • The shift in generational buying power is underway
  • CX continues to be a tough nut to crack

A young person preparing to look through public binoculars.

Report Vitals

What we did: Surveyed 500 in-house marketing decision-makers and 1,000 consumers in the U.S.

When we did it: August 2022

Why we did it: To provide insight for marketers that informs strategy, priorities, and investments

What did we learn?

Marketers are currently experiencing a watershed moment: Gen Z now accounts for a larger share of consumer spend, the evolving work-from-home movement is continuing to shift how marketers reach consumers, and many shoppers are coping with soaring prices of their everyday items.

Marketers who can navigate this complex environment with nimble strategies and an optimal channel mix are most likely to connect with their audiences.

Marketers are bullish on emerging channels

Despite an array of concerns converging to create a tough marketing climate, marketers are still opting to make big bets and test-drive emerging channels. Consider this: 94% of marketing decision-makers agree the metaverse is a new and exciting way to reach potential customers.


of marketers show more interest in exploring new and innovative marketing channels, than just sticking with channels with high returns.

Which channel has delivered the best return on investment (ROI)?

2022 2021

1 in 4 consumers under the age of 25 are currently involved with the metaverse

Yes, 77% No, 17% Don't know, 6%

Marketers: Do you have plans to incorporate marketing inside the metaverse as a new channel within the next year or two?

As a consumer, which of the below comes closest to describe your experience with the metaverse?

The metaverse presents a new and exciting way to reach potential customers. Agree or disagree?

Business services/ consulting Retail Financial Services Media/ Communications Manufacturing

Direct mail feels novel for digital natives

Our data suggests digital natives — those familiar with computers and the internet from an early age — find physical brand communications to be more compelling and novel.

For example, more than four in 10 consumers are more excited about direct mail now than they were a year ago and this percentage is even higher among younger generations (63% of Gen Z and 62% of Millennials).

Consumers believe direct mail to be more personal (+11%), more likely to catch their attention (+17%), and more trustworthy (+17%), in comparison to email brand messages.

More personal
More likely to catch your attention
More trustworthy
Direct Mail E-Mail

Marketers also value direct marketing as a core component of their strategy. Nearly three-quarters (73%) report direct mail has either kept the same level of importance or increased in importance in the last year.


of marketers say direct mail has increased in importance


of marketers say direct mail's importance has stayed the same

Additionally, a vast majority of marketers (85%) are adjusting their digital marketing strategy due to data privacy concerns — of those, three out of four (76%) have opted to reallocate budget to direct mail.

Marketers: Have recent consumer data privacy concerns (e.g., the demise of third-party cookies) influenced your digital marketing strategy?

Yes, 76% No, 24%

As a response to consumer data privacy concerns, have you reallocated any digital marketing budget into direct mail?

The shift in generational buying power is underway

How will you capture a younger, growing segment of customers? Nine out of 10 marketers feel there needs to be an adjustment to marketing strategy as purchasing power shifts into the hands of Gen Z.

With Gen Z in mind, over half of the marketers responding to our survey agree the following need to be restrategized:


As an example of the impact of shifting buying power, a majority of consumers (63%) agree that it’s important for brands to take a stance on political and social issues.

80% of our Gen Z respondents believe that brands should take a stance on political or social issues — and they’re more likely to purchase from the brands that do.


of marketers agree that addressing social and political issues within marketing efforts is an important way to connect with consumers

CX continues to be a tough nut to crack

Marketers: What are the top three (3) challenges your organization is facing currently?

First Second Third

Compounding this, 55% of consumers feel that brands have the responsibility to accommodate for recent inflation, with 66% believing brands should offer discounts or promotions.

Yes, 55% No, 23% Don't know, 22%

Consumers: Do you believe it's the responsibility of the brands you like to accommodate for recent inflation?

Marketers: In which of the following ways, if any, do you believe that brands should accommodate for recent inflation?

Inflation has impacted purchase behaviors Inflation will impact purchase behavior over the next year

Did you know...

The Macro Marketing Report is RRD’s third annual survey of marketers. Prior studies include:

coffee cups

Dig into the numbers.

Think you’ve seen it all? There’s more.

We will be publishing the full Macro Marketing Report in Q4 2022. Sign up to have a copy sent right to your inbox as soon as it becomes available.

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