Five Marketing Trends to Watch: A Forward Looking Approach Benefits Businesses

New tech may make your company’s services more accessible to customers, but it requires business leaders to think intentionally about how to convey brand messaging. Local digital marketing experts believe that 2024 will bring a mix of customer-focused experiences and technological integrations.

#1: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic in industries across the board. As it continues to advance, marketers are figuring out how it can be used ethically and effectively.

“To avoid problems, brands are using [AI] to check if the stuff they put out is real,” said Karisa Malchow, vice president of client services at OBI Creative. “They’re also using content made by users to keep things legit. When used right, AI can be timesaving for staff, better utilizing the time and resources to agency and in-house creative talent for more strategic endeavours.”

Aaron Mackel, digital strategy director for Hurrdat concurred.

“Businesses will need to find a rhythm and incorporate AI in a way that supports employees and helps them be more efficient, he said. “More and more businesses will be adopting AI and finding ways to save time and money in 2024.

“I also think we must look at how generative AI such as Google SGE (search generative experience) will impact search in the future. The way people find the right businesses or products for their needs could see a massive shift over the next year or several years. Traditional SEO (search engine optimization), local SEO, search ads, and more could all be impacted by generative AI in search. With all of this being so new, being attentive is one of the top priorities right now.”

#2: Targeted SEO

When customers look for a business, chances are, they pull out their phones or laptops and search online for it. Ensuring your business is visible on search engines is critical.

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“SEO should be a priority every year,” said Ryan Pankoke, president of Blueprint Ad Agency. “I think any good business should ask themselves how potential customers would find them … Google is today’s phone book and how most people will find out.

“If you search for a few key terms that you think your potential customer would be searching for, see where you show up at.  Are you on page one, two or three? How far down the list are you willing to be? Not only that but what are your Google reviews? Are they good? How many of them do you have?”

#3: Short-Form Video Content

Website users – especially those on social media – are looking for short, digestible and engaging content that gives them what they want quickly. Creating content that not just captures the user’s attention, but spurs action, is important.

“Short-form video content will continue to dominate social media,” Mackel said. “Audiences have been trained to consume short-form video content. For businesses utilizing social media in 2024 and looking to their social content to deliver visibility, investing in this type of content using TikTok, Instagram reels, and YouTube shorts will be essential.”

Tyler Catania, chief operating officer at Constellation Collective, said that a message needs to be ‘snackable.’

“From emails and websites to video content and podcasts, the ability to get your point across in lightning speed is essential to success,” he said.

#4: First-party Data

Catania said that businesses should emphasize the collection and utilization of first-party data.

“With cookies coming to an end and continued fragmentation across the digital landscape, opt-in information like email addresses, phone numbers, and IP addresses will be the lifeblood of digital marketers,” he said. “This data will allow marketers to reach their core audience and grow with lookalike targeting.”

#5: Augmented Reality

Creating unique, memorable customer experiences is becoming one of the best and most popular ways to connect people with brands.

“The marketing realm is witnessing a revolution with the infusion of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) into campaigns,” Malchow said. “Brands are leveraging these technologies to offer consumers immersive and interactive experiences, whether through virtual try-ons, product demonstrations, or virtual showrooms.”

Having a Strategy is Key

No two years of business are ever the same. That’s why it is imperative to closely examine marketing and advertising plans yearly. Examining what worked and what could be improved upon in the upcoming year is part of being adaptable.

“Advertising is all about return on investment (ROI) and you should always be examining how things performed,” Pankoke said. “How was the ROI for each campaign and what performed the best?

“What new products are on the market? Is there new competition in the market? These are all questions a business owner should ask themselves every single year. We even have money set aside each year where we typically like to spend 10% of an advertising budget strictly on new things they have never tried before. Testing out new things is always smart.”

Malchow noted that revamping a marketing plan means taking a thorough look at the strategies in place and adjusting them to match both business goals and what’s happening in the market.

“In the fast-changing digital world, it’s not enough to just follow trends,” she said. “You need to understand them and be ready to try new things.

“Being a business that learns from trends and is open to trying new ideas is key to staying strong and successful in the always-changing digital world. Keep checking how well your strategies are working, see the results, and don’t be afraid to tweak things … if your heart is in the right place, and you keep your customers (which includes your employees first) in mind, you’re on the path to success. It’s like having a winning recipe that everyone loves.”