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2024 Marketing Trends & Predictions

Hoca

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What are the biggest marketing trends in 2024?

Such questions, however fickle, help us plan better, get more results, and be prepared when change happens.

Coming up are my top five predictions on how marketing will change – or continue shifting – in 2024, from macro-level changes to specific topics close to my heart. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts and feedback, feel free to DM me on LinkedIn.

TOP 5 marketing trends in 2024:

  1. Gen Z social media is now a must-have
  2. Creator marketing & UGC keep growing
  3. The AI hype will calm down
  4. Results & quality beat scalability
  5. Real sustainability over greenwashing
marketing-trends-2024.png


But first, a few words about 2023. Because, as they say, to understand the future we must look to the past.

In 2023, I worked with several tech companies, both B2C and B2B, on their growth strategies and marketing campaigns. One thing I noticed is that it’s become a lot harder to get results at a high ROI. That is, it is hard to get those good results if you rely on the best practices that worked five years ago.

I also gave an interview to TULI where I spoke at length about work-life balance and greenwashing in marketing. And launched a weekly marketing newsletter to share my thoughts & experience.

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For years, there have been so many small brands popping up, investing mostly in digital ads, and competing for social media users’ attention without being original or innovative. There is also so much more noise in general: more of everything (publications, news, films, TV series, products, and so on…).

So how to survive in 2024 as a brand? How to maintain a positive marketing ROI?

In 2024, marketers will keep shifting their efforts towards brand marketing instead of digital performance ads that have become up to 10x more expensive than back in 2020.

In parallel, new social media opportunities keep popping up like fungi after rain.
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Keep reading to learn how to navigate the biggest marketing trends of 2024 and keep growing your user base and revenue.

1. Gen Z social media is now a must-have​

2024 marketing trend social media


In 2023, all social media giants – Meta, TikTok, and YouTube – released plenty of new formats and features to boost brands’ sales and profits.

Most of these updates were not for the ad products but organic social platforms (and ways of driving purchases through organic engagement). Meta launched Threads, TikTok added an integration with Amazon – and these are just two examples out of tens of updates.

And the changes paid off: an increasing number of young consumers are changing their browsing and purchasing habits.

For example, 57% of Gen Z users say that they prefer to use TikTok as a search engine, not Google: the social media platform’s more relatable and personal.

In their 2024 trend report, TikTok predicts that there will be a shift towards greater brand-led social change and transparency. Users want to see brands living up to their words and promises.

A fun example of this in 2023 was the Northface campaign on TikTok.

2024 marketing trend example


Meta launched Threads in July 2023 and the platform has already 100 million monthly users. Brands have been slow to move to the platform. However, even if you’re not ready to commit to posting on Threads, it would be smart to register your brand’s presence there to secure a good user name and handle.

If you’re not in B2C marketing but B2B, a similar approach applies to LinkedIn marketing. There was a huge shift in 2023 towards audience-building on LinkedIn. However, note that you should not try to build your company’s LinkedIn account but your team’s accounts. That’s because personal LinkedIn accounts’ posts have a lot higher organic reach.

And even on LinkedIn, the less-traditional formats like carousel posts and video perform the best. You cannot rely on static images and blog post shares anymore.

2024 marketing trend social media


When it comes to new social media features, the fastest movers and first adopters will reap the highest benefits, growth, and profit. The same applies to reacting to daily trends and viral content.

When working in a small marketing team, committing hours each day on chasing social media trends might seem like a huge waste of time. To hack the system, follow brands with active social media teams and lots of viral content to keep your hand on the pulse.

Another thing you could do is outsource your social media content creation to people who do it daily and on a professional level: content creators.

Actionable takeaways:

  1. Get serious about organic social media marketing. Test new formats on top platforms.
  2. Find the best-performing social channel (Reels, TikTok, LinkedIn) and post new content 3x or more per week.
  3. Create less social media content but with higher virality potential. Put more effort into scrappy videos over static posts.

2. Creator marketing & UGC keep growing​

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Not everyone is great at filming 5 video clips per day and one of them going viral. But some people really are.

In 2024, influencer collaborations on social media are no longer about paying €€€ for a single post or promotion.

Rather, the leading brands are securing long-term collaborations with content creators who become something in-between a brand ambassador and a freelance content-creating team member.

Long-term content collaborations work better for many reasons:

  • Creators become familiar with your product and audience, and as they what content performs best, they create more of it.
  • Creators have a long-term interest in delivering results to continue the collaboration.
  • You only need to brief the creators once a month, not every time you hire another influencer.

There has also been a shift towards UGC-style ads in paid digital advertising. So many Meta ads now look like selfie videos, telling how “this product changed my life.” And they actually work. So here’s also a tip for paid ads: try UGC-style video ads.

2024 paid ad trends



Actionable takeaways:

  1. If you haven’t already, sign 2-3 TikTok, YouTube, or Reels content creators to collaborate on video content for your brand.
  2. Get serious about measuring your creator collaborations’ performance and creating clear and detailed briefs for these partners.
  3. Test creating UGC-style videos for social media and ads in-house with your marketing team to build that increasingly critical creative skill in your own team.

3. The AI hype will calm down​

2024 marketing trend less ai


If you had to sell chocolate chip cookies, you would not use a marketing slogan saying “These cookies are made of wheat.”

However, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for marketers and founders to say that the greatest benefit of their product is: “This product is built with AI.”

In the 2nd half of 2023, I heard many stories of startup founders who talked about creating a product with AI. What product? They didn’t know – it didn’t matter as long as there was AI. I found it funny every time I heard another founder telling me that. Of course, they were bound to fail, building an AI-using product for something that already functions without it.

But this doesn’t mean that all AI-powered innovations from 2023 and beyond are useless.

It’s all about finding the right balance.

And, in my opinion, in 2024 this balance will shift towards less AI, not more AI. As we move into the next year, everyone has an AI hangover. Even the LinkedIn influencers who grew their audience on posting about Chat GPT hacks have fallen silent. People are full of AI hacks, and still doubtful of whether it actually helps them.

Personally – and I think using AI is a highly personal choice – I do not use AI-powered tools for content ideation, writing, nor designing creatives. Even though Canva and especially Adobe have launched advanced AI design tools, I want to have more control over my designs.

2024 marketing trends with ai


As someone said: AI’s not going to take your job. But someone who knows how to use it will. I’ll add a caveat: Neither will someone who’s completely reliant on AI ever take your job.

The main selling proposition of AI tools is “Save time.” But for what are you exactly saving that time? For watching Netflix? For using another AI tool?

There are many bad tradeoffs in using AI-powered marketing tools in order to “save time” or “accelerate results” or “personalize marketing” or “optimize smarter.”

  • You may save time with AI-powered copywriting or design tools but the results are always worse than when done by a skilled human. You also have less control over output.
  • Using AI, you lose in originality. You also lose a lot of control over what’s happening in the background, being unable to tell if you’re actually getting better results or not.

And, most importantly, I never use AI for ideation or writing. Why? For the simple reason that I do not want to outsource my capability to think with my own head.

2024 trends in advertising


I sometimes like to use Chat GPT to suggest rephrasing in some sentences I’ve already written. I also like to use it for official emails, recommendation letters, etc. so it tells me what the format should be. I always rewrite all the text provided by the AI to make it more creative, professional, and in my own style.

Actionable takeaways:

  1. If you haven’t tried the popular AI-powered marketing tools yet, give them a go: Jasper AI, Grammarly, Canva, Chat GPT itself, Userbot, Howler, etc.
  2. See if the AI tools actually save you time and give original ideas. If yes, keep it going. If not, you’ll know this was all another hype cycle.
  3. Ask yourself if you’re just using the AI tools out of sheer laziness or because of the hype. It might be convenient but will also hurt your own writing, thinking, and marketing skills.

4. Results & quality beat scalability​

2024 marketing trend four


Between 2019-2022, most brands enjoyed fast-paced growth, often from digital strategies. And the easier it seemed to launch and grow new businesses on social media, the more there appeared.

However, already in 2023, I saw many marketers struggle with keeping up the high ROI at previous scale. The ad platforms simply did not deliver as well anymore: the price went up and the ROAS (return on ad spend) dropped.

The hangover period is going to persist for at least the first half of 2024: it will be continuously hard to grow with low effort and at a high scale.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t grow at all. My prediction for 2024 is that the marketing teams who work hard on high-quality campaigns will get the highest results.

Less is more, again. Instead of posting 5 times a week on social media and getting 0 engagement, craft 1-2 videos per week, but make sure they have the potential to get high reach and engagement.

The shift in Bolt’s social media strategy is a good example of keeping up with the times: back in 2019, we used to do iPhone giveaways on social media. In 2024, giveaways are passé, now it’s about quality video content, brand building, and creator collaborations.

example of 2024 marketing


Even the brands that have historically relied on digital performance ads are turning towards brand campaigns. Nest Commerce’s analysis of their clients’ ad spend in 2023 showed a trend towards higher brand investment.

marketing trends 2023 to 2023


Instead of a bit of everything, make bold bets on high-quality brand campaigns and social media posts with virality potential.

No well-performing marketing campaigns come to life in a few hours. It takes time to come up with good ideas and make them happen. Therefore, create an annual and quarterly marketing plan that helps you stay on track.

Read more about seasonal marketing planning.

Last not least, the quality-originality-authority approach also applies to content marketing and SEO. Publishing blog artiles written by AI will not get you ranking on Google.

Google’s EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) framework gives priority to content coming from long-term experts on a subject, providing original information not available anywhere else (like other blogs).

Actionable takeaways:

  1. In 2024, aim for quality over quantity, results over scale. It is alright to grow slightly slower if the alternative would be not growing at all.
  2. Consider shifting resources from performance to brand building, and make sure your content and creatives are aligned with this change.
  3. For the first time, try planning ahead for the entire year. Understand the seasonality in your business and invest more during high-demand periods.

5. Real sustainability over greenwashing​

2024 trend in sustainability


Consumers are increasingly interested in supporting socially responsible brands.

However, if back in 2022 you could get away with saying “We’ll plant one tree for each purchase,” in 2024 people will recognize this as greenwashing.

In fact, careless tree planting does more harm than good:

  • Many service providers that offer tree planting do it poorly, planting monocultures. The planting of only one tree species overlooks the complex network of interactions present in the old-growth forest ecosystems.
  • Planting a tree does not undo the carbon footprint of the product you’ve purchased. It only makes you feel better about yourself.

The only green thing to do is to not purchase new products.

However, this is not how the world works. Even though I believe in degrowth, I realize that people need jobs.

So the least you can do in 2024 is to be genuine about your sustainability efforts. Instead of outsourcing tree-planting or buying carbon credits, think about how to actually improve your production pipeline, as well as the carbon footprint of product delivery.

From sustainable packaging to minimized returns and shipping in bulk, you can make your product lifecycle greener. Offer free product repairs, sell products that are made to last long in the first place – there is so much that can be improved.

I called this 2024 marketing trend “Genuine Green” because I see honesty as a key here. Do not talk about environmental topics or make social posts on World Environment Day if for the rest of the year, you’ve done nothing to live up to your words.

Good example: IKEA creating toys out of recycled plastic and launching a cute social media campaign about it.

good example of 2024 marketing


Bad example: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority changing the color of its logo to green without any real shift towards sustainability.

bad example of 2024 marketing


When it comes to sustainability in marketing, actions speak louder than words.

As a marketer, it is part of your job to be critical of the brand messages you put out there.

Question the slogans and campaign ideas suggested by agencies and people ranking above you. Keep your ethics and morals high, and demand that others do the same.

Actionable takeaways:

  1. If you’re still doing tree-planting and other low-commitment greenwashing campaigns (like carbon offsetting) in marketing, stop it.
  2. Look for meaningful ways to make your company or products more sustainable. Then do it. And only after it’s done, talk about it.
  3. If your company is not willing to contribute to social responsibility, accept it and find another marketing angle.



Et voilà! These were my predictions on 2024 marketing trends. As always, I’d love to hear your feedback.

If you’d like to be notified about new blog articles and get actionable marketing tips, subscribe to my weekly (Friday) newsletter.


The post 2024 Marketing Trends & Predictions appeared first on Karola Karlson's blog.
 
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