In the dynamic world of marketing, change is the only constant. As we step into 2024, marketers face the ongoing challenge of connecting with consumers in an ever-evolving landscape. The central question on every marketer’s mind is, “Where do I begin?”
We’ve delved into our research and combed through 2024 predictions to offer suggestions on what marketers should prioritize this year to successfully connect with today’s consumer.
Sustainability with Integrity: Doing it poorly is worse than not doing it at all.
Sustainability has been a buzzword echoed in the marketing realm for years and continues to gain prominence. Consumers, particularly younger generations, look for opportunities to make environmentally conscious shopping decisions, whether that means buying green-labelled items or buying less overall. If we assume this trend continues, the act of sustainable shopping will only grow further.
Despite this, many companies are doing more harm than good. Persistent greenwashing, which involves deceptive marketing that looks to capitalize on demand, has made consumers more discerning and less trusting. This means that, even for the companies that are making honest claims, they may have to work harder to gain and keep their customer’s trust. If the deception continues, it’s possible that we will witness less spending on sustainable goods altogether.
The only way to appeal to sustainably inclined consumers will be to authentically think like them. This means acting with radical transparency, which they are looking for, and encouraging them not to buy more than they need with a degrowth strategy. Consider Early Majority, a fashion brand that designs multi-function garments that are made to be altered, repaired, and worn for life. Their perspective is that less is more. By doing so, they’ve garnered a loyal customer base and have inspired others brands to follow similar strategies.
Technology in Balance: Embracing AI with healthy skepticism.
But while the potential sounds exciting, many are still not accepting of this new world. Consider the Modern Luddites and a growing distaste for the modern world bubbling amongst younger generations. Trust is a large factor with 3 out of 4 consumers who are now concerned with misinformation coming from AI use. For others, it’s about living a more fulfilling life with real connections that is not obstructed by artificial ideas and virtual barriers.
Do not over-do it. The best way to work with AI is slowly and with care. Consider how people may react to your company using AI. Will your clients approve? Will your employees feel phased out? The answers are going to be unique to each business.
Budget Sensitivity: A Back-to-basics approach for brands.
According to Sophie Lewis, chief strategy officer at advertising agency M&C Saatchi, “the cost-of-living crisis will be the biggest challenge marketers face in 2024 as they look to drive growth in the face of a rather bleak economic outlook.” And we believe she’s right. The facts show that 1 in 4 Canadians are still struggling to make ends meet, which has huge implications for spending habits over the next year.
Financial struggles will be felt by companies as well. Consumer spending can be expected to slow and marketing budgets are the first to go in times of crisis. As a result, there will be a pressure to do more with less. Successful marketers will return to grassroots strategy pillars such as clarity, courage, and connection. Lean on data and research to clear the air of speculation and rumor. Ask the difficult questions like, ‘have we been wasting money on this’ so that the budget can be used to its full potential.
Marketers must not take their budget for granted and learn to fight for every dollar. Working together with your team as well as the customers will be imperative in times of uncertainty.
Fighting For Attention: Moving beyond vanity metrics
Attention has become one of the most valuable currencies in our hyper-stimulated world. Attention spans have declined as we are inundated with more content than ever before. In addition to the infinite forms of content people choose to consume, they are also faced with an average of 10,000 ads per day. Cutting through the noise begins to feel like an impossible task for the marketer.
One step towards capturing attention is to move beyond vanity metrics. These metrics consist of numbers that sound good on paper, but ultimately provide no solid evidence that your content connected or resonated with your core demographic. For example, the number of impressions an ad generated on Instagram does reveal whether viewers read your copy; rather, it tells us how many people were forced to scroll past it while they searched for the content they actually went to the app for.
More advanced analytics approaches will become essential for monitoring performance of marketing efforts and content online. Successful marketers will demand more nuanced reports that drill down on authentic engagement and interest through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.