FEATURED ARTICLE DECEMBER 2023:
TOP FIVE MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2024
By GILL CHAMBERS, RESEARCH DIRECTOR
The UK is getting ready for some significant changes in the economy in 2024. As interest rates reach their highest point, there’s a noticeable shift in focus towards fiscal policy. The upcoming general election, despite bringing potential complications, adds an element of excitement, providing businesses with a chance to navigate through the uncertainties and adjust their investment strategies.
The effects of the pandemic are slowly balancing out, creating a foundation for newfound stability and growth. Even though high interest rates and ongoing uncertainties present challenges, KPMG’s latest UK Economic Outlook predicts a GDP growth of 0.3% in 2024, painting a picture with plenty of potential. The downward trend in inflation also suggests positive developments and opportunities for businesses.
We’ve identified the key marketing trends for 2024 to help you in staying ahead of positive shifts in the market, enabling you to adapt your business strategy effectively and capitalise on emerging opportunities.
A key marketing trend for 2024 is the continuing boom of generative AI, which will become an even more integral part of the marketing toolkit. Marketers who embrace AI as a powerful ally rather than a threat will have the opportunity to create more efficient, creative, and meaningful connections with their target audience.
AI will continue to transform the landscape for marketers, offering a range of possibilities that enhance efficiency and creativity.
AI is likely to become even more proficient in handling routine and mundane tasks, allowing marketers to focus on more strategic and creative aspects of their work, optimizing their time and energy.
AI’s ability to gather and interpret vast amounts of data will evolve, providing marketers with more sophisticated customer insights, and enabling them to target the right audiences with personalised content, improving the overall effectiveness of marketing campaigns. AI’s predictive capabilities will become more refined, enabling marketers to anticipate customer preferences with greater accuracy.
AI is likely to play a larger role in the creative process. From generating ideas to crafting compelling copy and designing visuals, AI tools can assist marketers in producing high-quality and innovative content. This collaboration between AI and human creativity can result in more impactful marketing materials.
As AI becomes more integrated into marketing processes, there may be a shift in job roles. However, rather than job loss, this evolution should allow marketers to acquire new skills and adapt to the changing landscape. AI can be seen as a tool that enhances human capabilities rather than replacing them.
The key to successful marketing in the AI era will be finding the right balance between automation and the human touch. While AI excels at data analysis and automation, human creativity, empathy, and intuition are irreplaceable. Marketers will need to leverage AI as a supportive tool to enhance their efforts rather than relying on it exclusively.
Adapting to Rising Costs
The world economy has gone through a major shake-up due to rising inflation, sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This isn’t just about higher prices for energy and food – inflation has spread to different sectors, especially in places where strong demand lets businesses pass on those higher costs. The impact is hitting consumers, leading to lower purchasing power, increased costs for subscription media, and a spike in advertising expenses on certain channels.
For consumers in the UK, things look tough. The recent Kantar data shows that one-third of adults are having a hard time coping with their current income due to double-digit inflation. This is a 50% jump since the beginning of the year and the highest it has been since 2006. Energy bills are a big concern, with 41% finding them unaffordable, hitting younger householders particularly hard. And it’s not just utility bills – subscription media prices are going up, as seen with Amazon raising the price of Prime Video globally in September, blaming it on increased inflation and operating costs.
People are feeling the pinch, and it is showing in their choices. Kantar’s Entertainment on Demand tracker notes a clear trend of people cancelling subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services to save money. In the UK, 22% of consumers plan to cut down on the number of services they pay for, including TV, music streaming, and mobile services. Spending on media subscriptions has also taken a hit across different price ranges.
The impact isn’t just on consumers – it is hitting the media and advertising world too. With budgets getting tighter, 2024 will continue to witness major strategic changes. Media plans will continue to diversify, with more focus on Video on Demand (VOD) as people move away from regular TV. Less sensitive-to-price media, like radio, outdoor ads, and sponsorships, will become popular alternatives to TV for building brands.
With inflation in mind, a major marketing trend for 2024 for smart marketers will be using data to spend money more wisely. Direct digital targeting based on what people usually buy will make campaigns more effective, reducing waste and reaching those who are most likely to be interested in the message. In this ever-changing landscape, businesses will be adapting to make sure marketing still works well despite rising costs.
In the face of economic challenges, businesses will need to act swiftly to adapt their marketing strategies. Smart budget allocation, driven by data insight, will be essential to ensure resources are directed towards proven and impactful channels; a shift towards Video on Demand, content marketing, and less price-sensitive media, such as radio and social media, reflects changing consumer preferences and resonates with cost-conscious audiences. Agility in campaign execution, a focus on customer retention, building fans rather than followers, and cost-effective content creation are all critical.
THE POWER OF PODCASTING
Podcasting is having its moment, and it is no mystery why. It is easily accessible, fitting into our lives whether we’re commuting, hitting the gym, or just chilling. With a vast array of content covering news, entertainment, education and so much more, there is something for everyone.
What’s more, podcasting isn’t just for the big players; it is a playground for independent creators, leading to a surge in unique and niche podcasts that cater to diverse tastes.
The beauty of podcasts lies in their ability to create personal connections. The longer format fosters intimacy, allowing hosts to engage in deep conversations and storytelling, establishing a unique bond with listeners. Beyond the feel-good vibes, the rise of subscription models has made it a game-changer for creators, resulting in a boom of high-quality podcasts. Technological advancements have democratised podcast creation and distribution, bringing in a broader range of voices.
Smart speakers and in-car listening have also fuelled podcasting’s growth. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, making people more inclined to check out a podcast if it comes recommended by friends or family. With this perfect storm of factors, podcasting has become one of the fastest-growing media formats globally, and the number of listeners is expected to keep soaring.
For marketers, this significant marketing trend for 2024 presents an incredible opportunity. Podcasting isn’t just about brand awareness; it is a platform to establish your brand as a trusted industry leader. It goes beyond traditional marketing, fostering real connections with your audience through long-form discussions and storytelling. The cost-effectiveness of podcasting makes it a valuable addition to your marketing toolbox, allowing for tailored content that resonates with specific audiences. With measurable metrics, content repurposing possibilities, and the potential to drive website traffic and generate leads, podcasting is a dynamic force in the marketing landscape.
Short and Sweet: the Explosive Rise of Short Form Videos
Short-form videos, those quick 15 to 60-second clips, have become incredibly popular in today’s fast-paced digital world. Their rise is driven by factors like our shorter attention spans in the age of information overload. With content mostly consumed on the go via mobile devices, short-form videos, readily available on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, fit perfectly into our busy lives.
Creators love the freedom these short clips offer for creative expression, whether it’s dance challenges or educational snippets. They are easy and affordable to produce, fostering a surge in unique content. Their potential to go viral is a big plus for both creators and businesses, offering increased brand awareness and engagement. Beyond the hype, short-form videos create emotional connections, provide quick entertainment, and adapt to various interests, making them versatile and appealing.
As a marketing trend for 2024, short-form videos are going to be a game-changer. They enhance brand awareness, boost engagement, and allow targeted audience reach. The cost-effectiveness, measurable results, and adaptability of this format make it a valuable addition to any marketing strategy. Plus, being optimised for mobile, short-form videos align perfectly with today’s on-the-go consumption patterns. As this format continues to evolve, marketers embracing short-form videos are set to thrive in the ever-changing digital landscape.
The Gaming Goldrush
Gaming is witnessing a remarkable surge in 2023-2024, with the global market projected to hit $314.4 billion by 2027, a substantial leap from $175.8 billion in 2022, according to Newzoo. Driving this growth are key factors such as the dominance of mobile gaming, attracting over 3 billion monthly users globally, and the burgeoning popularity of e-sports as a major spectator sport with millions of fans.
Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) are contributing to immersive gaming experiences, while the rise of cloud gaming is making the gaming realm more accessible by enabling game streaming without the need for downloads.
2024 will continue to see gaming becoming an integral part of our lives, extending beyond entertainment into areas such as education, training, and healthcare. The upward trend will continue with the release of new consoles and mobile gaming devices, a surge in esports viewership, substantial investments in VR and AR tech, and the increasing popularity of cloud gaming services.
This thriving industry opens up a wealth of opportunities for marketers, from broadening audience reach and fostering engagement to building brand awareness and leveraging targeted marketing. The cost-effectiveness of gaming as a marketing channel, coupled with its real-time engagement potential and emotional storytelling capabilities, positions it as a strategic avenue for brands seeking impactful connections with diverse audiences in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Marketing Trends 2024 – In Summary
The top 5 marketing trends for 2024 reflect a dynamic landscape shaped by economic shifts, technological advancements, and evolving consumer behaviour in the UK.
Embracing AI emerges as a key trend, transforming the marketing toolkit and offering opportunities for more efficient and creative connections with target audiences. Adapting to rising costs is crucial in the face of global economic changes, with a focus on diversifying media plans and utilising data for more targeted and cost-effective campaigns. The power of podcasting emerges as a significant trend, offering a platform for personal connections, brand building, and cost-effective content creation. Short-form video content continues to rise in popularity, catering to shorter attention spans and providing a versatile and engaging format for marketers. Lastly, the thriving gaming industry presents opportunities for marketers to leverage immersive experiences, broadening audience reach and fostering impactful connections in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Marketing professionals will need to stay ahead of these trends to effectively navigate and capitalise on emerging opportunities in 2024.
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