The good news? A 2024 recession isn’t looking likely. The mediocre news? The economy will be boringly slow to grow.
It’s been quite the year for marketing. With the cost of living crisis annihilating personal budgets and company spend alike, marketers are increasingly being asked to do more with less. Wave a magic, low-cost wand, and return sparks of brilliance.
But what does the year ahead have in store? And how can marketing teams capitalise on the opportunities that are still out there? Let’s take a look.
The Value of Knowing Your Audience
Recent data from the ONS found that nearly two-thirds of people are spending less on non-essentials in the current climate. We’re also shopping around a lot more – meaning that challenger brands could be having their moment!
Understanding your target market – and how likely they are to invest in your products or services in the midst of a financial crisis, will help you to determine how hard to push for budget in the year ahead. If you offer up luxury products or experiences, for example, you might do well to save the bulk of that budget for 2025. If, on the other hand, you fall into an essential industry like utilities or healthcare, it’s a good time to capitalise where you can.
Top Marketing Trends for 2024
Having a good grip on current market trends will stand you in good stead for your 2024 strategic planning – and this year, there’s a lot to be aware of.
1. AI Evolves
There’s been a lot of chatter about AI in recent months. Ah, who are we kidding? It’s been all anyone can talk about since ChatGPT took the world by storm. Admittedly, there are a great many marketers who live in fear of the robots taking their jobs, but AI can really help marketers to enhance their offering – removing the grunt work, and allowing them to focus on delivering a stand-out customer experience.
It’s likely that AI will soon become embedded into every aspect of your marketing efforts, but rather than replace human interactions, the personal touch will be more important – and more valuable – than ever. By blending the efficiency of AI with the personal touch of genuine human connection, brands can boost loyalty, improve customer satisfaction, and even increase ROI. For 2024 then, marketers will need to find ways to truly connect with their consumers.
2. Personalisation Rules
On that note, one of the most effective ways to increase customer engagement is through personalisation. Of course, AI can be used very effectively to gather the data needed to add the personal touch to your communications, but it’s the idea of connections that’s really driving the results here.
Psychologists have shown time and again that we love to see our names in print! In fact, studies show that 84% of people are more likely to open a letter if it’s personalised (InfoTrends). But today’s marketers don’t have to stop at a name drop: with advances in tech, digital marketers can dig deeper into key customer data and get a real flavour of what problems people are facing, and how their brand can swoop in to save the day.
3. Social Media Shows Decline
Research from Marketing Insider Group shows that social media’s contribution to website traffic dropped from 7% in 2019, to less than 2% in 2023. Yep, a tiny 2%. Organic search still accounts for over 60% of traffic, while both email and paid media have followed the downward trend set by social media.
Whilst no-one is suggesting you abandon your social networks entirely, you may not want to invest too much of your budget here – because the way that brands drive traffic is evolving. For instance, direct mail is proven to be more effective at driving people to take action: so much so that 86% of people have contacted a business as a direct result of receiving mail.
4. First-Party Data on the Rise
As privacy regulations increase and third-party cookies decline, marketers can expect to deal with far more first-party data in the year ahead. Collected directly from customers through website interactions, newsletter sign-ups, buying history and the like, first-party data is more accurate, more compliant, and more actionable than third-party data ever was.
By personalising your campaigns and communications, you can increase conversion rates to capture even more data. Using predictive analytics, you can predict buying trends and focus your marketing budget accordingly. And by prioritising transparency about how you’re collecting and using data, you can position yourself as an ethical brand that people actually want to do business with.
Direct Mail Adds the Personal Touch
With customer spend still cautious and brands vying for their share of the market, 2024 will be a key time to invest in the customer experience. As we’ve already touched on, the influx of AI is making consumers crave connection – and one of the most effective ways of connecting with your customers is through the medium of print.
In fact, JICMAIL’s ‘The Time We Spend With Mail’ – which quantifies the amount of time consumers spend with their mail – found that the average piece of Direct Mail is looked at for 108 seconds across the course of a month, while the average Door Drop is viewed for 46 seconds. The DMA also found that 27% of direct mail is still ‘live’ within the household after 28 days, while 60% of respondents in a Royal Mail survey said the physical nature of mail made it easier to recall messaging at a later date. Trust in direct mail has also risen by 12% amid a sea of fake news stories circulating online – with a reassuring 87% of consumers seeing mail as believable across all age groups.
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