We are living in challenging and volatile times. Consumer attitudes and behaviours are changing. Technology is advancing rapidly against a backdrop of social, economic and political uncertainty. But these are also times of powerful opportunities for marketers to drive growth for the better. Here are our top 5 marketing trends to look out for in 2024.
1. The rise and rise of generative AI tools
It’s without doubt that generative AI is raising the game within the marketing industry. With consumers seeking personalised experiences, generative AI tools will help marketers meet consumer expectations on an unprecedented scale. Popularised recently by Open AI’s ChatGPT, generative AI tools can analyse and response to vast data sets to generate text, audio, video, images, code, simulation and other content. Through generative AI algorithms, marketers will be able to tailor and customise content so that it is relevant and appealing to audiences. It could be a personalised social media post, a tailored product description or a customised image. Applications of AI will not only improve brand engagement but deliver ROI.
Generative AI systems will also enable marketers to analyse customer data to generate visual representations of customer segments and personas. Through understanding audiences better, marketers will be able to refine their targeting and messaging strategies, improving the effectiveness of campaigns. Moreover, generative AI will be used to simulate human-like conversations, creating a deeper connection with audiences. Marketing applications could include personalised responses to consumer queries or product recommendations based on consumer behaviours and preferences.
Generative AI will be a game-changer. It is likely to advance rapidly over the coming months, with Microsoft, Google and others set to launch new tools into their business software. As we’ve seen, the benefits are multifold. Ultimately it will enable brands to create personalised experiences and deliver meaningful connections with their target audience in ways previously unattainable.
2. Sustainability will become a team sport
Over the past few years, sustainability has been at the top of the corporate agenda. However, recent research conducted by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and Kantar has highlighted that marketers have been slow to respond (Sustainable Marketing 2030, kantar.com). Specifically, 39% of marketers are just now taking their first steps towards more sustainable practices. With increased regulatory and market demands, along with the rise of the eco-conscious consumer, it is anticipated there will be a rapid breakdown of organisational silos to meet sustainability goals. Sustainability will quickly become a team sport as very few people – or companies – can do much on their own. Marketers will play a pivotal role in bringing teams together to drive responsible consumption.
With consumers increasingly aligning themselves with brands that are embracing sustainability, along with a raft of new regulations, the marketing industry has reached a point where the status quo is no longer an option. There will need to be a radical transformation as marketers grasp the fundamental challenge of ensuring that economic sustainability and social and environmental sustainability are synergistic and not in conflict. It will be the role of marketer to bring together teams, agencies, suppliers and experts to develop sustainable products and services, and sustainable supply chains, to meet consumer expectations, satisfy regulators and investors whilst also driving brand differentiation and growth.
Marketers will become pioneers of positive change. Sustainability will be front and centre in key decisions. But only through effective team-working, leveraging expertise within and outside organisations, will marketers be able to turn the sustainability challenge into a key opportunity for growth.
3. The growth of de-influencers
Over the past few years, there has been exponential growth in influencer marketing – but is the bubble about to burst? With mounting pressure on influencers to operate more authentically, those known for taking to social media platforms to tell their audience what to buy have started to do exactly the opposite. This relatively recent trend is known as ‘de-influencing’. It involves recommending overhyped products that consumers should avoid. This includes products or services that the de-influencer perceives to be over-indulgent, ineffective or not worth the money.
In a relatively short space of time, influencing has grown into a highly profitable form of marketing but by its nature influencing can also be disingenuous. The de-influencing trend is shaking up this model. The trend has quickly gained momentum, with nearly 730 million views on TikTok as of July 2023. There are a few reasons for its growing popularity, including a desire for authenticity, social media burnout and a shift in values resulting in a backlash around over-consumption. De-influencing is currently taking different forms. Some are simply sharing honest, personal experiences on products, whereas others are recommending low-cost, more sustainable alternatives.
This latest trend introduces a new dynamic into influencer marketing. As consumer scepticism grows, the de-influencer offers a refreshing and candid perspective that may resonate with many individuals. Whilst it may disrupt current approaches that rely on polished images and celebrity endorsements, it may offer an opportunity to connect with consumers on a more genuine level. This latest trend will force marketers to re-evaluate their influencer marketing strategies.
4. A paradigm shift in the relationship between brands and consumers
There is going to be a paradigm shift in the relationship between brands and consumers driven by ethical issues around data. With increased regulation, consumer privacy concerns and data inaccuracies, a new type of value exchange is emerging, whereby brands are enticing consumers to willingly hand over personal data in exchange for tailored, personalised experiences.
This type of data, called zero party data, will be hugely valuable. It is data that the consumer intentionally shares with a brand. It can include preference data, purchase intentions and personal context. It equips marketers with accurate, rich data, avoiding potential privacy violations. Moreover, zero party data enables marketers to understand their consumers on a deeper level, creating more tailored experiences and products to better meet their needs.
It’s easy to see why zero party data is becoming a major focus for marketers. But it all comes down to whether consumers are willing to share data with brands in exchange for an experience that is customised to their needs and wants. Marketers will need to create a clear value exchange. They will also need to invest in conversational marketing tools to drive a real-time dialogue with consumers, for instance, chatbots that can simulate conversation and collect valuable data. Those investing in zero party data will reap rewards. Research by McKinsey has found that companies that excel at personalisation generate 40% more revenue. This transparent value exchange will not only build greater engagement but maintain consumer trust.
5. Guardians of content authenticity
Protecting content authenticity will be critical for brands to help them build trust and create a deep emotional connection with audiences. The scope and sophistication of misinformation is set to accelerate. The exponential rise of user-generated content (UGC) and recent advancements in generative AI tools both pose a serious risk to the distribution of both false and fake material.
Marketers will increasingly need to combat inaccurate, defamatory and fake material. They will need to be able to scan the web for misinformation at scale – and in real time. Technology will be a valuable ally in the fight against inauthentic content. Generative AI tools will contribute to the problem and are likely to be part of the solution.
Given the extent of misinformation, Gartner predicts that by 2027, 80% of enterprise marketers will have a dedicated content authenticity function. Marketers will need to be able to quickly identify, verify and validate content so that their brand’s integrity can be maintained. A strong brand reputation starts with trust. Reputation management will become even more important in a world of misinformation. Those marketers that embrace new technologies to help solve the problem around content authenticity will most likely succeed.
Partner with Oxford
We help organisations grow for the better through strategy, planning, change management and capability consulting. We partner with you to help you make more informed decisions to drive growth that’s better for people, planet and profit.
You May Also Like
These Related Stories
OxfordSM wins coveted Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Award™ for Learning and Development
Inspiring a culture of creativity in marketers
What is Change Management? Why does it matter, and is it really as hard as everyone says?
No Comments Yet
Let us know what you think