The excitement of a new year elicits pondering the possibilities and challenges that lie ahead. In the ever-evolving realm of marketing, we rely on trends, data and instinct to predict what the next year of marketing holds. With curiosity at the helm of the momentum we create year-round for our clients, our Hiebing experts explored what trends could power the possible or present an obstacle for brands in 2024. Here’s what they found.
The Hybrid – Human Touch
Automation in retail has created many opportunities, but it’s also impacted customer service. Consumers are likely to have efficient shopping experiences, but it’s now more challenging for them to effectively communicate with large retailers when problems arise – particularly when third parties like delivery services are involved. Prioritizing the customer experience past the point of sale and into the final steps of delivery helps businesses build brand loyalty. Creating frequent updates and quick responses using both automation and brand representatives will balance efficiency with a more “human” approach to customer service.
Life with AI
In 2024, balancing the integration of AI tools with the essence of human expression and connection will be pivotal to creating meaningful stories that resonate with audiences. We can’t out machine the machines, but they can’t out-human us humans – which means the output is still only as good as the input you provide it. The people tasked with layering AI into marketing programs will need the flexibility to adapt to this fast-paced change in an ever-evolving landscape. Marketing experts will face the challenge of managing content rights for AI tools, requiring ongoing negotiations and advocacy for ownership and talent payments. This was the main flashpoint for the recent strikes in Hollywood, and it’s only going to get worse, despite the new deals cut with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. Brands should proceed with caution however when adding AI into the marketing mix, as it may inadvertently overshadow the importance of fostering genuine connections and trust with audiences.
Millennials and Gen Z have long been champions for diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion – and their social impacts and purchasing power in these spaces are deepening. Brands that have adapted to demands for inclusion have built-in long-term vision for increasing visibility into underrepresented audiences and have dedicated efforts beyond marketing to causes they care about. Inclusion is taken even further by brands that are adopting intersectionality into campaigns or business models – offering a more nuanced and thoughtful approach to DEAI. In the coming year, brands will need to continue to walk the talk and demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for the experiences, needs and personal values this cohort owns to reach them in meaningful ways.
Connecting Through Tech in a Digital World
2024 promises to be a pivotal year in the tech sector, with a refocused emphasis on leveraging technology to connect with consumers of all ages. As we navigate an increasingly digitized world, marketers are recognizing the significance of catering to both the tech-savvy younger generation and the digitally adapting older demographic. Immersive, interactive and customizable engagements through tech like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will further push traditional advertising boundaries. Personalization through AI will blossom, allowing marketers to curate tailored content and experiences for individual consumers at a faster pace, fostering a deeper sense of connection. The rise of voice search and the integration of smart devices into daily routines underscore the importance of optimizing content for voice-activated platforms. Marketers who embrace these tech-driven trends in 2024 will not only stay ahead of the curve but will also create meaningful connections with a diverse consumer base in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Nostalgia is an evergreen trend. Brands can leverage this desire to connect emotionally to the past to forge deeper connections with their audiences. Crafting a genuine connection between the past and the present requires a delicate balance. Successful brands in 2024 will not only tap into the longing for nostalgic experiences but will seamlessly integrate modern, technological solutions with a retro feel. Much like the revival of retro-stylized kitchen appliances, marrying nostalgic designs with cutting-edge technology, brands can deliver a harmonious blend of the familiar and the innovative, fostering a timeless connection that resonates with consumers across generations.
Curious to partner with a team that knows how to activate one of these marketing predictions? Hiebing can help. Email Nate Tredinnick at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a call.