If you are like me, it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to keep up in the ever-evolving and tech-driven marketing landscape. When I was getting started nearly 25 years ago the industry was still print-driven and “social media” was largely relegated to chatrooms and message boards. A lot has changed; next year looks to be one of the most paramount years of advancement in the advertising and marketing industry. A year with perhaps greater exponential change than ever before.
With every new technological development – from Artificial Intelligence to new social media platforms to virtual reality – there come huge shifts in consumer behavior. For younger generations, these shifts seem exciting and almost like second nature in their adaptation to them. For an “older guy” like me, I often find myself viewing them with my mouth agape as I say to myself in David Byrne’s voice “How did we get here?” But staying on top of and hopefully ahead of these shifts is essential for businesses aiming to thrive in 2024.
As I began researching this article I began to feel very grateful that I have surrounded myself with a team of creative content generators and designers that grew up with smartphones in their hands and technology on the brain. It is crucial that we at Catapult both understand these trends and embrace those among us who are living and breathing the online world. Together we combine this with our practical understanding of business and universal marketing know-how. With this “best of both worlds” mindset, we aim to marry creatively strategized campaigns and timeless design with what can seem to be day-to-day shifts in what is happening “right now.” It is with this mindset that we can best get our client’s brands noticed in an increasingly competitive world of digital advertising and marketing.
Below are our top trends to pay attention to in 2024. If you find yourself stuck in the old ways of marketing your business we highly recommend that this be the year to find those who will embrace and understand the future on your behalf. Change is here. Are you ready?
AI-Powered Content & Personalization
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been all over the news this past year, and it is set to revolutionize marketing in 2024. We like to say “use AI to help you do your job, not do it for you.” In fact I used AI to help me write this blog post. Can you tell? No? Good. That’s because I rewrote every single sentence ChatGPT spit out for me and gave it my own voice and my own relevant perspective. Search engines are even starting to recognize AI generated content and penalizing websites that use it. Personalization is becoming very important. Aside from content generation, businesses will increasingly leverage AI to analyze vast amounts of customer data and provide ever-more individualized experiences and strategies. For mega-corporations, like Nike and Amazon, we will increasingly see customized product recommendations and ads that feel specifically made just for you. While smaller businesses will utilize it to create increasingly targeted or micro-segmented email campaigns and digital marketing campaigns. At this smaller level, AI marketing will continue to enable businesses to research opportunities, develop content, and design more efficiently. Whether your business is big or small the end goal with taking advantage of AI is increasing engagement and conversion rates, therefore growing your customer base. Catapult is perpetually refining the art of how to use AI for personalized marketing.
Voice Search Optimization
In the world of SEO, businesses will need to pay attention to the rise of virtual assistants and smart speakers, such as Siri and Alexa, as they become more ubiquitous and more useful. Optimizing online content for voice search will increasingly become important to ensure your business remains visible to users seeking information through voice-activated devices. This will involve using more natural spoken-style language in your content and incorporating long-tail keywords that reflect how people actually speak. “Siri, what is the best authentic Mexican food restaurant near me?” For small businesses, this seemingly small trend could have some major impacts down the line. That’s why it’s important to stay in tune with the best practices for voice search optimization, or at least with someone who is.
Engagement is key, and interactive content is the way forward. We’ve all seen those posts on social media. “We just love these super fuzzy socks! Where will you wear yours?” From our own experience, just a simple question can double or quadruple a post’s comments, likes, or shares. People want to be heard, and in 2024 your business should offer as many opportunities for your customers to be heard as possible without drowning out any key brand messaging. Interactive quizzes, polls, and surveys, all invite your customers to interact with you, fostering a deeper connection and sense of trust with your brand. This trend not only captures attention but also provides you with valuable data for targeted marketing.
As our world becomes increasingly driven by technology, digital interactions, and a sense that the person we may be speaking to or seeing might not actually be a “person,” customers are craving a sense of authentic human interaction. People just want something “real.” Customers want to know that we are human, with relatable human concerns and motivations. This can lead to highlighting your sustainability efforts, showcasing your diverse employees, or even drawing attention to your own mistakes or flaws you’ve learned from in business. Market the humanity and humans behind your success and framework it within your own values and goals. This transparency will lead to trust, loyalty and growth.
Virtual Reality Marketing
The metaverse is no longer some wild fantasy of science fiction. It is here, it is real, and your kids are probably eager to jump in and explore it. Mine certainly do anyway. Even though this trend may be a touch more pre-emptive than the others, the opportunities to market your business within the metaverse are fast approaching. While the big dog advertisers, like financial institutions and tech companies, will be the first to jump in, small businesses should be paying close attention to this entirely new space in 2024 to see where they might find how they could fit in. Virtual events, branded virtual spaces, and immersive digital experiences can provide unique avenues for engagement and interaction with tech-savvy and younger audiences. How this all begins to take shape will be fascinating to observe and adapt to.
Video Content Dominance
Video content will continue to be dominant in 2024. Perhaps the biggest shift will be in moving away from those super quick “under-ten-second” video snips and reels to ones that are just a bit longer. Think 20 to 40 seconds as a good length. Largely because the platforms on which this content resides will be more likely to organically boost it as there is more room to sell advertising within the brief length of time these videos typically play for. Of course all of this is somewhat determined by your broader digital marketing strategy and the platforms you post your videos on. Businesses should invest in both high-quality video production and more authentic “user generated” style videos, and create a solid distribution strategy to make sure the right video style is in the right space.
I know. This seems like a lot, and staying on top of the rapid changes in marketing, and honestly the world at large, can be a bit overwhelming. It’s important to know that not every trend we will see in 2024 will be appropriate for every business to be an early adopter of. However, as your business develops its strategy for growth next year it is worth identifying the lowest hanging fruit or those avenues that your agency or internal marketing department can utilize with the least amount of headache or consternation, and then go from there. By staying informed and adapting to these trends, businesses can position themselves for success in this ever-changing digital world. With all of these opportunities arising in 2024 it is imperative that you embrace the change that is coming, or partner with service providers that better understand these advancements and can embrace them for you. If you don’t, you may find your business getting left behind.
By Daniel Rizer
Creative Director & Partner