The Biggest Trends in Marketing for 2024 (And How to Use Them to Your Advantage)

Welcome to 2024, a year where digital marketing continues to break new ground. As a marketing manager or business owner looking for a Fractional CMO, you’re probably weary of buzzwords like “trend” and “artificial intelligence (AI)” by now, but there’s no avoiding them if you want your business to succeed in 2024. 

The good news is that we’re breaking down the top trends in marketing – and how you can apply them to level up your marketing efforts and connect more meaningfully with your audience.

Trends in Marketing: Hyper-Personalisation

One in three marketers spend at least half of their budget on personalisation. In fact, nine in ten industry professionals claim that customers expect some personalised content

Personalisation through big data has been a marketing tactic for a while, but today it goes beyond basic product recommendations to encompass a fully tailored digital experience for each customer. This includes customising not only what content or products are shown but also how and when they are presented based on a deep understanding of individual user behaviours, preferences, and engagement patterns.

  • Employ Advanced Data Analysis. You can use analytics tools to gather and interpret data from various touch points across the customer journey. This includes tracking website interactions, purchase history, social media engagement, and even offline behaviours if digitally captured. 
  • Utilise Predictive Personalisation. When you leverage machine learning algorithms in marketing, you can identify patterns and predict future customer preferences and needs. This keeps you one step ahead at all times. 

For instance, if a customer recently purchased a new smartphone from your website, follow up with suggestions for compatible accessories like earphones.

  • Remember Omnichannel Marketing. Ensure that personalisation extends across all channels – social media, mobile apps, email, and in-store experiences. Consider how Checkers uses WhatsApp in addition to email and their app to update customers on the status of their orders and share important news; they’re meeting their customers where they are. 

Trends in Marketing: New Era of SEO

Every marketer and their second cousin is writing content with ChatGPT. Amid this wave of artificial intelligence-induced information, it’s no surprise that Google has raised their standards. Authoritative content is now a non-negotiable pillar for achieving superior rankings.

According to Monster Insights, the most important ranking factors in 2023 were quality content, backlinks, and relevance (how accurately the content matches the searcher’s intent). Here are three additional ways to stand out with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):

  • Enhance Voice Search Readiness. Echo natural speech patterns and questions that potential customers might ask with conversational, readable content and long-tail keywords. In a nutshell: write how your customers talk. 
  • Implement Local SEO. Hubspot tells us that 46% of all Google searches are local. Since your Google My Business profile is your digital storefront, keep it updated with your latest business hours, precise address, and contact specifics. Encourage customer reviews and engage with all feedback.

Don’t forget to also infuse your website’s content and metadata with localised keywords and geographically pertinent material.

  • Leverage Expertise in Content Creation. Pivot towards content that comes directly from subject matter experts to ensure depth and accuracy. You can interview CEOs and simply turn their words into articles that live on your website. It’s the easiest way to give Google (and readers) high-quality, insightful information they can’t find anywhere else. 

Trends in Marketing: Artificial Intelligence

AI developments show no signs of slowing down. Whether you’re excited, daunted, or averse to AI technologies, they can certainly make your life – and workday – easier. Among marketers who are already using generative AI, 76% said they use it for basic content creation and copywriting. Gartner also predicts that 30% of outgoing marketing messages from large organisations will be generated by AI by 2025.

  • The Rise of Programmatic Advertising. The use of AI in programmatic advertising, such as Google Ads AI, has enabled marketers to automate ad-buying processes, targeting the most relevant audience with precision and efficiency. AI algorithms analyse user data to serve ads at the optimal time and place.
  • Image and Voice Recognition. Technologies like Google Vision AI and Amazon Alexa have made image and voice recognition more accurate and ubiquitous. Marketers are using these technologies for innovative advertising campaigns and to improve user experience, such as voice-activated shopping or visual search capabilities.
  • Social Listening. The use of AI for sentiment analysis and social listening (with platforms such as Brandwatch) helps marketers gauge public opinion, monitor brand reputation, and capitalise on market trends before it’s too late. 

Trends in Marketing: Ethical Practices

Consumers demand transparency, diversity, and social responsibility from brands. It’s not enough to have good intentions or keep quiet and let other companies pledge their zero-carbon goals; you need to show your business’s commitment to bettering society and the environment. The result: you’ll have a greater chance of building trust and loyalty with consumers.

  • Adopt Responsible Practices. Adopt and promote sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in your operations and marketing. Are your products recyclable? Are you using energy-efficient technologies in your offices? 
  • Show Support for Social Causes. Align your brand with social causes or charities that reflect your brand values. For example, if you’re a software provider, you could sponsor IT students or provide free assistance to non-profit organisations that can’t afford your services otherwise.  

Trends in Marketing: Interactive Experiences

How are you engaging with your audience? This year, why not create immersive and participatory experiences for consumers using technology like AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), and even interactive web elements? 

The goal is to shift from passive content consumption to active user involvement, making brand interactions more memorable and impactful. This approach helps in fostering a deeper connection with your audience.

  • AR and VR Integration. Implement AR and VR technologies to provide immersive product demonstrations or virtual experiences. For instance, a furniture brand might use AR to allow customers to visualise how a piece would look in their home.
  • Interactive Web Design. Incorporate interactive elements into your website, such as quizzes, polls, or gamified features, which encourage users to engage more deeply with your content.
  • Gamification. Implement game-like elements in marketing campaigns, such as point scoring, competitions, or rewards, to make interactions more engaging and fun.

Trends in Marketing: Short-Form Video

73% of consumers prefer watching a short-form video to learn about a product or service rather than a long-form video marketing. Meanwhile, short-form videos receive 2.5 times more engagement than long-form videos. 

The surge in popularity of platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels highlights the power of short-form video content. These platforms cater to the modern audience’s shorter attention span, offering quick, engaging, and easily digestible content. The key to success in short-form video is to be authentic, creative, and direct. And to include captions since many viewers watch without sound.

  • Create Platform-Specific Content. Tailor your videos to the unique style and audience of each platform. What works on TikTok might not necessarily work on YouTube.
  • Focus on Storytelling. Even in a short video, tell a story. Whether it’s a quick tutorial, a funny skit, or a product showcase, ensure it has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Encourage User Interaction. Use calls-to-action that prompt viewers to engage, like asking a question or encouraging them to use a specific hashtag.

Trends in Marketing: Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy has been around for a while, but it’s becoming more important every year. Employee advocacy humanises a brand and builds trust with the audience. Your employees can serve as authentic brand ambassadors, offering a behind-the-scenes look at a company’s culture and values. 

Employee advocacy is also an easy way to attract new talent and clients. Leads developed through employee social marketing convert seven times more frequently than other leads, while content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by the brand.

  • Share Stories. Encourage employees to share their work experiences, unfiltered and genuine. Perhaps create a series of “Day in the Life” content to give viewers an inside look at your employees’ work lives.
  • Provide Social Media Guidelines. Offer training to your employees on how to effectively use social media and represent the brand online. Sometimes, what your employees do in their personal lives needs to stay off the internet – or at least out of sight of your customers. 
  • Highlight Diverse Perspectives. Showcase a range of employees from different departments and levels within the company to provide a well-rounded view of your brand. Maybe your copywriter and UX designer are having coffee. Or an intern and their manager are busy compiling a report for a specific client.   

Trends in Marketing: Offline Experiences

You want your brand to be top-of-mind for prospective customers. If they need risk management software, your risk management platform should come to mind immediately. Offline marketing is a great way to remind people about your brand once they’re away from a screen. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that 73% of consumers use multiple channels to shop, including online and offline touchpoints.

In our digital-dominated world, offline experiences create memorable, tangible interactions. These real-world experiences can range from events to pop-up stores, unique brand activations, and even physical gifts. 

  • Take an Omnichannel Approach. Use online platforms to promote offline events and vice versa, creating a cohesive brand experience. Be everywhere your customers are.
  • Be Generous. Don’t hesitate to give away knowledge or offer incentives to customers. This could be as simple as a CEO responding to a LinkedIn comment with their own advice, or giving attendees a gift basket when they attend your store launch. 
  • Collect Feedback. Gather feedback from participants to improve future events and experiences and understand what resonates with your audience. Their needs must shape your marketing efforts. Which brings us to…

Trends in Marketing: Customer Centricity

Customer-centric content is sorely needed in a world where individuals are overwhelmed by offers, products, and social media posts that fill up their feeds but don’t add value to their lives. Your customers are tired of irrelevant content that says more about your brand than them. They want you to put them first. 

  • Conduct Audience Research. Understand your audience’s pain points, interests, and preferences to create content that truly resonates with them.
  • Make Your Customer the Hero. Your content should never be about you. You’re simply the guide, nudging your customers towards a better life that becomes possible when they purchase your product or choose your services.  

Trends in Marketing: Privacy-First 

How are you collecting, using, and storing personal data? Salesforce reveals that 83% of consumers are concerned about sharing personal data online, and 72% report that they would stop buying from a company or using a service because of privacy concerns.

Regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) have set new standards for data handling. Businesses must now prioritise data privacy not just to comply with laws but also to build trust with their customers.

  • Transparency in Data Collection. Clearly inform customers about what data you are collecting and why. Ensure that this information is easy to understand and accessible.
  • Consent and Choice. Always obtain explicit consent from users before collecting their data. Provide them with options to opt out or manage their data preferences.
  • Data Security Measures. Implement robust security measures to protect customer data from breaches. Regularly update these measures to tackle evolving cyber threats.

By integrating these trends into your marketing playbook – whether it’s through crafting more personalised user experiences or strengthening your brand’s commitment to data privacy – you’re setting the stage for a successful digital marketing journey in 2024 and beyond.

At Shift ONE, we’re passionate about driving business growth through impactful, customer-centric marketing. If you’re optimistic about the potential of these marketing trends, yet need guidance on the next steps, we’d love to help. 

Contact our marketing specialists today.

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