2024 will be a significant year in many ways. Cookies are finally being phased out. It’s an election year. And Artificial Intelligence is evolving at breakneck speed. Technology is changing the way we market, and so are consumer’s expectations. Consumers and customers want more. More authenticity. More personalization. More experiences. More diversity. Our experts share their thoughts on some of the biggest trends for 2024.
Let’s talk about artificial intelligence!
Have you guys heard about AI? Me neither. Forget I brought it up.
Kidding aside, many believe AI to be the most transformational tech innovation ever. Everyone’s on the AI train and depending on who you talk to, it’s either a novelty or the advent of Armageddon. I can’t speak for other strategic marketing agencies, but at Core we use it for quite a bit, including storyboarding, visual compositing, and more recently as a facilitation helper for concept development. I admit it’s impressive how quickly and smoothly AI assisted tools worked their way into various aspects of our workflow. And there’s more on the horizon like the ability to use AI for repetitive production tasks, competitive research, even strategic analysis. That said, here’s the headline: insights and ideas from human brains are still king. At least for now. No matter how good generative AI gets at rendering a t-rex wearing a hat made of pizza, people are still the best at relating with other people. At Core, we believe ideas and storytelling built on a foundation of empathy and a deep understanding of our audience is what results in the best work for our clients. Artificial Intelligence becomes most useful when it reduces the time spent on trivial tasks allowing us to spend more resources digging into what really matters.
— Nick Krueger; VP, Creative Services
Cut through the clutter
Not only is 2024 a political year, but we’ll also have the Summer Olympics and some changing strategies for tracking performance. Competition is going to be fierce, so media and marketing minds alike are going to have to get crafty with their messaging, delivery channels, and budget. It’s more important than ever to ensure you deliver content and experiences that can be easily differentiated from your competition.
— Dana Carpenter; VP, Client Service
Third-party cookies are crumbling
After four years and a few delays, the death of third-party cookies for Google Chrome users has finally arrived and will expand from 1% of Chrome users to 100% by the end of the year. Roughly 75% of marketers rely on third-party data to help drive marketing initiatives, so, at first glance, removing them altogether from the most popular web browser in the world seems like it might herald a seismic shift in the digital ad ecosystem.
In reality, we need to wait and see.
Patience and precaution — not panic — are going to be the key to surviving in our cookie-less world. In the short term, expect to see more reliance on first-party cookie data from direct login websites like Facebook and Google as well as zero-party data from website quizzes and surveys designed to lead customers down a specific path without third-party data retargeting.
In the long term, removing third-party cookies will push marketers to get smarter about how they target potential customers and identify new tools and strategies that will provide the best ROI for collecting quality data.
In both instances, this is less of a seismic shift and more of a shift in ad priorities.
Ultimately, the death of third-party cookies points to a broader trend of laws and regulations prioritizing user privacy. For marketers, the real shift in digital ad strategy will be from invasive monitoring to building relationships with users to gain trust and explicit consent for data collection. While it may seem daunting at first, the quality of the user data we collect will likely increase which in turn can lead to better, more personalized marketing.
— Tom Easter; Associate Director of Technology
Personalization is now table stakes
Consumers and B2B buyers alike have come to expect a more personalized experience. A vast majority are willing to share their data to have a better experience. They expect security and transparency with their data, but the data is clear — people are demanding a more personalized, more human experience:
- 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized experiences
- 83% of shoppers would exchange data for a more personalized experience
- 57% of B2B buyers expect fully or mostly personalized content when discovering the company’s products or services; it increases to 66% when buying and 72% when using the product or service (referenced in Marketing Charts)
The stakes are high for those not delivering a personalized experience and messaging:
- 45% of consumers say they’re likely to take their business elsewhere if brands fail to offer a personalized experience
- 52% of consumers agree that as digital experiences with brands become more personalized, their satisfaction improves
If you don’t have a first-party data strategy in place, that needs to be a top priority in 2024. Cookies are dead. First-party data and personalization are king. Consider how AI tools can help you analyze your customer data and provide personalized recommendations and experiences.
— Janee Wolf; Associate Director of Strategy
Sources: Accenture, McKinsey, Evergage, Adobe
Authenticity is everything
2024 will be the year B2B marketing fully shifts to personalization and authentic, value-driven narratives to attract customers. In a recent study, 70% of people said they would prefer to receive information or read an article about a company rather than be served a generic ad. In the B2B world, awareness isn’t enough. Consumers have become more discerning than ever, and businesses need to embrace partners that share their values and lead with thoughtful insights.
Leading with authenticity also means moving away from generic top-of-funnel campaigns to hyper-segmented campaigns to speak to multiple, diverse audiences. By dividing your audience into smaller, more specific groups you can boost the effect of personalization by connecting with each audience on their level and craft quality content that speaks to their unique needs.
— Steve Cuff; Public Relations Strategist
Preventative health and self-care are top priorities
We’re still in the middle of an inflation economy, and healthcare costs continue to rise. This is driving consumers to refocus their lives on preventive health measures and self-care. From diet to exercise to supplements, there is so much self-care information available now, and consumers are making it a top priority and taking control of their health. Of note, IRI shows consumers are taking a much more holistic approach to self-care. Self-care isn’t one big action, but instead several small actions and behaviors that accumulate and result in better health and wellness. Categories and lines are blurring, and marketers need to think differently about self-care. It’s critical to know your audience(s). The IRI Self-Care Segmentation reveals eight distinct consumer profiles. Segment your audiences, tailor offers and solutions for them, and make sure they’re solving problems and creating value.
— Janee Wolf; Associate Director of Strategy
Experiential marketing is back!
U2 at the Sphere in Las Vegas was an experience. But they didn't stop there. A companion pop-up took you inside Zoo TV. And they aren't the only ones promoting themselves. It seems like all major artists, and big events, provide some form of intentional selfie moment for you to spread the word when attending an event.
Rock and roll may have restarted experiential marketing post pandemic, but brands have taken note. As people get back to centralized work and enjoying city centers, brands will be there to show them what they've been missing. From a Netflix Stranger Things pop-up coming to a city near you, to Brooks Brothers outfitting a New York City subway car — expect more of these creative experiences to break through the clutter in 2024.
— Rebecca Eckhart, Senior Public Relations Strategist
Visual and design trends for 2024
As brands strive to build personal connections with those they serve in the coming year, design choices in advertising will double down on celebrating people and diverse lifestyles with bold colors and a resurgence of illustrative typography.
For years the mantra has been “authenticity.” That remains the trend for 2024. Look for pics that celebrate unique, diverse, even weird personalities and lifestyles. While previous photographic trends saw an increase in imagery that felt less professional, more candid (akin to a soccer mom’s Instagram feed), the new authenticity will feel more polished and stylized. Almost as if professional-quality photography were available to everyone with a smartphone. Almost.
While the 2024 Pantone color of the year is a delicate and altogether uninspiring neutral called “Peach Fuzz,” the trend for brands trying to stand out with their marketing will lean a bit closer to primary colors. Photography and typography will both adopt these bright saturated palettes to create an aesthetic that will feel like … a bit much, but still somehow interesting.
There will always be a place for Neo Grotesque typefaces. You know those timeless geometric sans serif fonts that all the cool designers love. They’re like the black turtleneck of advertising. However in the coming year we will see an increase in bold, quirky, stylized type designs. Puffy, illustrative headlines will be stuffed into compositions creating bold, irreverent layouts. Is Neo Deconstructionism a thing?
— Nick Krueger; VP, Creative Services