Marketing Trends to Watch in 2024
Big tech changes are already in motion. This includes the final demise of the third-party cookies, the continued generative AI race, and the turbulent state of the social media platform we fondly remember as Twitter. We’re predicting that 2024 is destined to be another interesting year for marketers.
Looking ahead, we asked leaders across Mod Op to share their expectations for the upcoming year, especially the role of technology in marketing. They’ve shared thoughts on everything from evolving consumer expectations to the importance of technological governance. Here are the key marketing trends we believe will emerge in the coming year.
Marketers will uninstall apps, embrace data quality and go back to brand
Marketers rode the rollercoaster from “AI is the next big thing!” to “Hold up, why isn’t this magic?” and landing on “Got it, here’s how we make it work.” It’s the classic AI/ML cycle of acceptance. We’ve seen a lot of marketers playing mad scientists, experimenting with ChatGPT and similar tools. And hey, I’m all for it! It’s been a blast seeing them amp up productivity, stoke the fires of creativity, and churn out quality insights. Plus, they’ve learned the hard way that owning a shiny AI tool and wielding it effectively are worlds apart.
Marketers have had a long-time crush on data, but now, like a mature romance, it’s less about allure and more about substance. The right data, carefully chosen and finely tuned, is what will make AI and ML (Machine Learning) sing in harmony with a brand. So, in 2024, expect to see marketers clearing out their app clutter, zeroing in on AI efforts that truly embody their brand, and buddying up with data scientists to effectively sift through the data goldmine.
Tessa Burg, CTO at Mod Op
Brands will focus less on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
In previous years, brands shouted from the rooftops about their ESG initiatives. This often led to positive media coverage on environmental or social justice issues. Make no mistake—these are excellent initiatives and deserve praise.
Unfortunately, they have become increasingly politicized, with a growing chorus of “anti-woke” voices undercutting the halo-building power of ESG-related storytelling. In an election year, where candidates have introduced anti-ESG legislation, the spotlight on these initiatives will be even brighter. Ultimately, and unfortunately, this will have a chilling effect on PR about ESG campaigns.
Brands will be less likely to highlight ESG initiatives and will be more conservative, overall, in the topics they choose to speak on. Recent layoffs at ESG media outlets also capture this shift. That’s happening because advertisers are wary of the current climate and are cutting back on advertising spend alongside ESG content.
Chris Harihar, Executive Vice President of PR at Mod Op
LED technology will continue to drive bigger screens—indoors and out
I expect we’ll see more gigantic indoor and outdoor LED experiences under construction—whether they make money or not. The excitement and attention that the Sphere in Las Vegas has received is a good example of this. Plus, a large gaming stadium with 5,000 seats was recently introduced in Saudi Arabia. It features an impressive LED screen that hangs like a chandelier and covers 3,600 square meters.
The growing trend of incorporating transparent LED screens into building designs will transform large exteriors and even entire structures into dynamic display screens. Convention venues are installing large transparent LED screens at their entrances, allowing show sponsors to make a striking impression on guests as they enter the convention centers. Plus, shows like the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and ISE Europe are using them.
The trend is for both new and existing buildings to use transparent LED screens. These screens are popular because they don’t block views and they offer an additional way for building owners and convention center operators to earn money from outdoor advertising. However, the issue of light pollution created by these screens is becoming a whole other story.
Mark Bennett, Executive Vice President, Mod Op Creative Studio
Consumers will demand better content experiences
Marketing is becoming more and more about creating an experience—because that’s how humans make decisions. This understanding, coupled with the pricing and availability of technology that make customization possible, will drive the demand for exceptional, customized content experiences in the new year.
To compete in 2024, brands must customize their content for different channels and audiences, focus on engaging mobile users, and understand the specific needs and challenges of their target audience. They should create content that is not only relevant and interactive but also truly resonates with and engages challenges and aligning those challenges with interactive and engaging content.
Customers expect exceptional content experiences. Creating good content just isn’t good enough.
Kip Botirius, Executive Vice President of Client Experience at Mod Op
Zero- and first-party data will become a primary driver of brand marketing and community building.
The continued shift away from third-party data reliance will refocus efforts on generating consumer insights directly from engagement and interaction in owned environments.
Brands now recognize the need to stay committed to building more authentic, trust-based relationships with consumers as the industry moves to meet increasing demand for privacy management and regulation.
Brands adopting a first-party data strategy should expect improved customer engagement and loyalty, which is essential in this moment where maximizing customer lifetime value is high on every company’s growth agenda.
Additionally, community data will play a linchpin role for brands in aligning business operations, influencing product development and informing marketing strategies.
Tomas Madrilejos, Associate Director, Audience Strategy at Mod Op
With greater personalization comes great expectations
The ability to customize content will become much more attainable for the average advertiser in 2024. Thanks to AI, what used to involve a heavy lift in resources can now be done much more efficiently—and you won’t even need to venture far to find these tools. Take Meta, for example: you can now use Generative AI tools for image expansion, background generation and text variation directly in the platform. As these tools continue to roll out and improve, we’ll see personalization of ad content become more commonplace. And once that trend is felt by the consumer, it will become more clear when an advertiser doesn’t customize. For strong engagement, conversions and return-on-investment, personalization won’t just be ideal—it will be essential.
Christina Phillips, Account Director, Client Experience at Mod Op
We’ll experience a shirking PR-media chasm
In 2024, I expect to see the emergence of online communities that foster more authentic relationships between journalists and publicists—moving away from the sometimes frustrating and often transactional interactions that seem to currently dominate the industry. The focus will be on publicists actively cultivating thoughtful, symbiotic relationships with media as opposed to working as ‘adversaries. Through platforms like Discord, we’re already seeing the beginnings of more meaningful dialogue—publicists and journalists engaging equally to collaborate on stories and exchange valuable insights, connections and feedback which ultimately elevates the quality and depth of coverage we can deliver for our clients and reporters for their audiences.
Patrice Gamble, Director of PR at Mod Op
The importance of the intersection of unstructured feedback and AI grows
The intersection of unstructured feedback and artificial intelligence will grow in importance in 2024. Traditional market research relies on structured feedback (surveys) while unstructured feedback comes from a wide variety of sources, such as social media posts, blog, online platforms, comments, online reviews, emojis, images, customer services calls, chats, messages and more. Once the unstructured data is collected, natural language processing (NPL) can summarize topics and keywords. Prior to NLP, it was daunting and expensive to process unstructured feedback. With the technology available today, it’s much more possible to mine unstructured feedback for actionable voice of the customer intel.
Lauren Schmidt, Director of Client Services and Strategy at Mod Op
The end of third-party cookies will usher in creativity and innovation
I foresee a pivotal shift in the marketing landscape as third-party cookies bid adieu. This departure will catalyze a fundamental re-imagination of how marketers connect with audiences. I expect a pronounced divergence between B2B and B2C approaches. B2B strategies may lean into precision-targeting specific audience lists or harnessing the power of retargeting, capitalizing on a narrower scope. However, for B2C clients characterized by diverse and nuanced individual profiles, assembling audience lists becomes a complicated task. There will be an imminent necessity for marketers to pivot towards creativity as the cornerstone of audience curation. Crafting these lists will necessitate inventive methodologies that transcend conventional cookie-based tracking, compelling marketers to explore innovative avenues for audience segmentation and outreach. This transition heralds an era where strategic creativity becomes the linchpin for navigating the complexities of reaching diverse B2C audiences. I envision a future where marketers who master this artistry will flourish, delivering resonant messages tailored to the nuanced tapestry of consumer profiles, despite the vanishing roadmap of third-party cookies.
Maria Antonietta Velasquez, Ad Operations Manager at Mod Op
What marketing trends do you expect to see dominate 2024?
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About the Author
Anna Julow Roolf is VP of PR at Crenshaw Communications, a Mod Op company. A natural communicator and skilled operations professional, Anna is passionate about bridging the gap between creativity and technology. She brings more than a decade of experience in the B2B PR industry, including leadership roles in both agency and SaaS startup environments, working with brands like Act-On, Pelican Products and Zoom.