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  • Writer's pictureArmin Wieland

The 2024 State of Marketing: Navigating business growth with technology and creativity for more human marketing

Discover the trends, winning opportunities and challenges brands will face this year, with data from close to one-thousand five-hundred global B2B and B2C marketers

2024 State of Marketing by V5 Digital
It’s no secret that the marketing landscape is changing quicker than ever. AI and automation, alongside a fast-paced world, have the majority of marketers agreeing that marketing has transformed more in the past three years, than over the past 50. We no longer live in a go-to-market world where having information alone is enough – those who want to succeed must instead act on intelligence. We’ve shifted from the Age of Information to the Age of Intelligence.

If you’re anything like me, you probably wish you had unlimited time and resources to get through your busy work, come up with game-changing ideas, and ultimately give your audiences unforgettable brand experiences.

While AI's quickly become a marketer's ultimate assistant in many of these quests, it's also caused our landscape (and competition) to evolve even faster.

Using data from our survey of B2B and B2C marketers across the globe, we’ll dig into the top marketing trends of 2024, how AI will keep shifting our industry, and how you can win over audiences in a new era of marketing.

Key Findings:

  1. AI is quickly becoming the ultimate marketing assistant but still faces adoption barriers like job security concerns, brand reputation, and lack of knowledge about how to use it.

  2. Social media apps could drive higher ROI than ever in 2024 as they evolve into frictionless e-commerce platforms.

  3. Video-centric apps like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube will see the most growth in 2024, though Facebook is still the most used and ties with Instagram for the highest ROI.

  4. Short-form video offers the highest content ROI and will earn more investment than all other formats.

  5. Marketers will turn to social media targeting, first-party data, and AI tools to reach their audience after Chrome's third-party cookie phaseout.

The Top Marketing Trend of 2024

1. AI's becoming the ultimate content marketing assistant.

We can’t discuss marketing trends without AI, and the impact is so huge it takes the first and second spots on our list.

The most important takeaway is that AI is quickly becoming the ultimate marketing assistant, with 64% of marketers already using it, and 38% of those who don’t yet planning to start in 2024.

AI is only growing in importance. In fact, Sean Downey, Google's President, Americas and Global Partners, believes it will be the single biggest trend in 2024. He says:

"It should come as no surprise that in 2024, the biggest marketing trends will center around the possibilities of AI. Today, marketers are faced with pressing challenges to navigate evolving consumer expectations and consumption habits in today's media landscape, which is fragmented and shifting dramatically — all while delivering business outcomes more efficiently."

He adds, "The AI opportunity is coming at a time of transformation for everyone, including marketers. In fact, in addition to connecting brands and products to people, more than ever before, marketers need to be growth drivers for their companies."

AI can't do anything without YOU!
AI can't do anything without YOU!

Things get interesting when we look at how marketers see AI being used - 60% say it will act as an assistant that helps them across their job duties, while 20% see AI primarily taking over menial tasks. 

But there’s no debating that AI will make a big splash in the world of marketing in 2024. 

85% of marketers say generative AI has changed the way they will create content in 2024 and  63% say that in 2024, most content will be created at least in part with the help of generative AI. 

Marketers who use generative AI are seeing great results, saying it helps them make significantly more, higher quality content that performs better.

As Briana Rogers, Head of Product Marketing at Miro, tells me, "Marketers will have to learn how to integrate AI into their work." She explains:

"The space is moving so quickly and we need to experiment with everything … from the more well-established use cases — like leveraging machine learning to improve ad buying, or creating predictive customer value models — to newer spaces, like identifying patterns in user research and data, assisting in creative development, and building full customer campaigns that are powered by AI."

81% of marketers who use generative AI say it’s effective at assisting them in their role, saying. Specifically, it helps them:

  • improve the quality of the content they create (85%)

  • create content more efficiently (84%)

  • make significantly more content (82%)

  • create more personalized content (77%)

On top of all that, 56% of marketers who use generative AI for content creation say this content performs better than content created without it.

Also, our survey shows marketers who use AI/automation tools are 95% more likely to say their marketing strategy was very effective this year compared to those who don’t.

But, a big disclaimer is that AI shouldn't replace your entire content team. You're consumers won't want this, and neither will platforms like Google.

In fact, a recent report from one of our colleagues, Curtis del Principe, highlighted the punishment handed down to one agency after they farmed thousands of posts with AI in what we're calling an "SEO Heist."

So, if you can't create ALL of your content with AI completely, how can you still leverage it to the best advantage in your content plan?

How Marketers Use AI for Content Creation

The marketers surveyed said the top use cases for generative AI are data analysis, research, and content creation (but, don't stop reading here).

When it comes to creating content, marketers aren't replacing writers or creatives with AI. Instead, they primarily use AI for:

  • Brainstorming new ideas or angles

  • Re-purposing or adapting pre-created content for a different audience, format or channel

  • Writing basic copy or outlines

  • Creating images or basic videos

In terms of the types of content marketers use generative AI to produce, social media posts, emails, blog posts, images, and product descriptions.

While that all sounds great, there are a few concerns to be aware of with AI we should talk about.

Where AI Still Faces Barriers

The AI revolution is a huge change, so it’s no surprise that close to half of marketers are concerned about AI replacing their jobs. 23% even think marketers should avoid using generative AI altogether.

But based on how marketers are actually using AI, it isn’t replacing their jobs, but acting as an assistant.

Among marketers who use generative AI to write copy, just 6% use it to write the entire piece of content for them. 45% use it for ideas/inspiration, 31% use it for an outline, and 18% use it for a first draft.

Additionally, 95% of marketers who use generative AI to write copy make edits to the text, with 44% making significant edits. 

Another issue is integrating AI throughout marketers’ workflow, with 46% feeling overwhelmed at the prospect.

The good news is businesses are going out of their way to help, with 40% of marketers saying their company has hired a new employee specifically to help their team leverage AI.

Still, with AI being so new, just 21% of marketers have integrated it throughout their daily workflow. 32% of marketers use AI for specific tasks and 10% are still in the experimentation phase. Of course, 36% don’t use AI at all - but 38% of marketers who don’t say they will start using AI in 2024.

One final concern shared by 60% of marketers is that AI can harm their brand’s reputation due to bias, plagiarism, or misalignment with brand values.

This is definitely an issue, but if you’re using AI as an assistant, you’ll be editing and watching over the output every step of the way.

AI tools are also aware of these problems and some have already rolled out capabilities to source and fact-check the information it spits out.

For example, Google’s Bard will allow you to double-check the output with existing information on the web to let you know if it can be confirmed by other sources, while also providing links to relevant sources.

Luckily, as companies hire AI implementation experts, marketers become more comfortable using AI as an assistant, and AI tools become more accurate and trustworthy, we predict the concerns above will be overcome quickly.

Top Marketing Channels

2. Social media is the highest ROI marketing channel as it continues to evolve with e-commerce.

Social media is indisputably the #1 marketing channel. Not only does it offer the highest ROI, but it's used by 43% of marketers.

The reason social media is so effective is that it’s become a leading product discovery and purchasing channel as shopping takes centre stage across platforms. 

Marketers can set up virtual stores to give shoppers an all-in-one frictionless shopping experience, from discovery through influencer recommendations to in-app purchases and customer service via DMs.

Earlier this summer, a Consumer Trend Survey found that 64% of Gen Z, 59% of Millennials, and 47% of Gen X discovered a product on social media in the past 3 months. On top of that, social media is the most preferred product discovery channel for Gen Z and Millennials, with Gen X and Boomers warming up to it quickly. 

What's more, 17% of social media users bought a product in-app in the past three months. In that time, one in four bought something based on an influencer’s recommendation, and 19% sent a DM for customer service.

Additionally, every time we run and rerun our Consumer Trends survey, these numbers increase significantly. So, it’s no surprise marketers are quickly embracing social selling.

A social selling survey even found that 87% of marketers who sell on social say it’s effective, and 59% say they’re making more sales in 2023 than they did last year.

The data underscores the expanding influence of social media as a powerful sales channel in today's digital marketplace
The data underscores the expanding influence of social media as a powerful sales channel in today's digital marketplace

Currently, 27% of marketers use social selling tools, 23% leverage influencer marketing, and 22% use social media DMs for customer service. Marketers plan to invest heavily in these channels for 2024.

Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of social selling, let’s take a look at the most effective platforms for marketers in 2024.

Top Content Trends & Formats

3. Video-first apps like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube are growing fastest - but don't ignore Facebook.

If you’ve been on social media lately, you know it's all about video, and marketers report that video-centric social media platforms are the most effective and offer the best ROI.

Instagram and Facebook are tied for the highest ROI platforms, followed by YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, and X.

Facebook's still the most popular platform used by markers (57%), followed by Instagram (55%), YouTube (52%), TikTok (44%), X (39%), and LinkedIn (37%).

While there’s no doubt Facebook is still dominant, video-centric platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram will see more investment in 2024. 

56% of marketers using TikTok will increase their investment next year, the highest of any platform. YouTube and Instagram will also see a significant boost in investment. 

In terms of first-time use, 27% of marketers who don’t use YouTube plan to leverage it in 2024, followed by TikTok (25%), Facebook (24%), and Instagram (23%).

But the real social media showdown of our time is between X and Threads. Our survey shows marketers are sticking with the newest version of Twitter, with 68% expecting to see greater success with X over Threads in 2024.

Right now, just 11% of marketers use Threads, and only 13% of those who don’t use it plan to try Threads for the first time in 2024.

At this point, you might ask yourself, "But are consumers I market to using these channels?" Check out these deep dives for more:

4. Short-form video offers the highest ROI and will see the most growth of any marketing content format in 2024.

Since TikTok reinvigorated the virality of Millennials' favourite app, Vine, our blog team's been predicting a short-form video renaissance.

Today, there’s hardly any contest – short-form video is now the #1 content marketing format, offering the highest ROI. Short-form video is also the most popular, used by 44% of marketers.

While short-form video has reigned for a few years now, it will continue to see the most growth of any format in 2024, with marketers planning to invest more in it than any other format.

26% of marketers plan to invest more in it than any other format in 2024, the highest of any format by far. Additionally, 57% of marketers who leverage short-form video will increase their investment in 2024, the highest increase of any format. And to top it all off, 30% of marketers who don’t use short-form video will start in 2024.

5. Marketers will keep investing in micro-influencers -- who can engage tight-knit and loyal communities.

Not only is influencer marketing super effective and going to keep growing in 2024, but influencers are also becoming even more impactful on purchase decisions.

86% of influencer marketers say influencer marketing was effective for their company in 2023. A consumer trends survey shows that 1 in 4 social media users bought a product based on an influencer’s recommendation in the past three months - that’s up 33% from when we ran the same survey a year before.

Influencer marketing will also see significant growth in 2024, with 50% of the marketers who use it planning to increase their investment, and 20% of those who don’t leverage it yet planning to try it for the first time next year.

But the interesting thing is, marketers are finding more success working with micro-influencers who have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers than celebrities (aka, macro or mega influencers) with huge followings.

About half of marketers worked with influencers or creators in 2023, and 64% of them worked with micro-influencers, making them the most popular type of influencer.

They’re also the influencer-size marketers saw the most success with this year, according to 47% of influencer marketers.

The biggest reasons for that are that working with small influencers is less expensive, makes it easier to establish long-term partnerships, and offers access to tight-knit, engaged, and loyal communities.

This goes to show that followers aren’t everything anymore - a 2023 Social Media Trends Report found that when it comes to how influencer marketers decide which creators to partner with, they say the quality of their content is more important than how many followers they have.

Top Marketing Challenges Ahead

6. Marketers turn to social media targeting and first-party data in response to Chrome's third-party cookie phaseout.

Increased data privacy regulations have been a hurdle for marketers over the past few years, from iOS changes to GDRP and Google’s plans to phase out third-party cookies. 

With 84% of consumers in our consumer trend survey saying data privacy is a human right, public opinion is definitely shifting towards more safeguards around personal data.

On the marketer side, 84% say data privacy changes affected their strategy in 2023, with Google’s planned phaseout of third-party cookies being the most impactful.

The issue is marketers aren’t quite ready for this shift - 81% say their marketing activities rely on third-party cookies to some extent and around one in five marketers say they aren’t prepared to lose access to them.

Additionally, 76% of marketers say Google phasing out third-party cookies will make marketing more difficult. 

So what are marketers doing about it? 47% say their company is exploring alternatives to third-party cookies, with social media targeting and first-party data being the most popular solutions.

25% of marketers are exploring targeted social media ads, followed by collecting first-party data (25%), Google Topics API (21%), contextual advertising (15%), and universal identifiers (14%).

We’ll talk about the benefits of first-party data next, but to learn more about these alternatives, check out this blog post taking a deeper dive into each solution.

Personalized Marketing with First-Party Data & AI

Despite steps towards personalization and a lot of talk about focusing on the customer experience, we know there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Our survey shows only 35% of marketers say customers get a very personalized experience with their brand and just 65% of consumers say the content they see from brands feels relatable.

On top of that, most marketers lack crucial information about their audience, with only 65% saying they have high-quality data on their target demographic.

When they asked marketers what they knew about their target audience, less than half knew where they consume content, their demographic information, their interests and hobbies, products they are interested in, and insights on their shopping habits.

Why is this so important? Getting this data helps you create a truly personalized experience, which 96% of marketers say increases the likelihood of buyers becoming repeat customers, and 94% say personalization increases sales.

To top it all off, marketers whose brands give customers a personalized experience are 215% more likely to say their marketing strategy this year was very effective compared to marketers at brands that don’t offer a personalized experience.

As mentioned in the previous trend, data privacy regulations make personalization a little more difficult by reducing your access to data.

But that also presents a new opportunity with first-party data, which is data collected directly from your customers. Not only is it higher quality, but it’s also unique to your customers and your business, providing better insights and only getting more powerful with the addition of AI.

While we’ve all been using generative AI tools that leverage public information, the real magic happens when you combine AI with your own business data, allowing marketers to offer a highly relevant, personalized experience.

77% of marketers who use gen. AI say it helps them create more personalized content, personalize the experience customers get with their company (72%), improve the overall customer experience (71%), and understand their customers better (71%).

While the power of AI and first-party data is still yet to be seen, all signs point to this intersection being the key to a truly scalable personalized experience.

And when it comes to making the most of your data, one key piece to the puzzle is having a single source of truth, so let’s go over some of the reasons having centralized and accessible data is make or break in 2024.

7. Marketers still struggle with disconnected data, tools, and company siloes.

In last year's State of Marketing report, data-driven decision-making was both a top tactic and a top challenge marketers were addressing.

And, while AI and other flashy trends might convince you otherwise, data is more important than ever in 2024. Still, marketing data, teams, and tools are disconnected. 

This makes sharing and getting necessary data challenging, prevents organizations from getting a holistic view of their data, and reduces data quality. We call this phenomenon a crisis of disconnection.

Around 1 in 4 marketers say it’s difficult to share data with other teams and get data they need from other teams at their company.

On top of that, 23% of marketers say the way marketing data is stored at their company is inaccessible and just 26% say their marketing data is fully integrated with the tools they use. Additionally, only 59% of marketers say the tools they use are interconnected. 

A survey also found that marketers with connected tools, data, and teams performed significantly better in 2023. 

The Solution: A Single Source of Truth

While 93% of marketers with a single source of truth for data say it is beneficial to their organization, only 65% of marketers actually tell us they have one. 

A single source of truth directly addresses the top challenges marketers see with sales and marketing alignment -  a lack of effective communication between teams, sales and marketing teams using different tools, and difficulty sharing data between teams are all key drawbacks. 

So what actually happens when sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned? Marketers say their budgets are wasted, sales and leads are lost, and customers end up getting a poor experience. Marketers who are aligned with their sales team are 26% more likely to say their marketing strategy this year was very effective compared to those who aren’t aligned. 

One highly effective way to implement a single source of truth is getting a CRM, which integrates data with tools and boosts alignment across teams.

86% of marketers using a CRM say it’s effective at improving alignment between the teams and marketers with a single source of truth are 56% more likely to be strongly aligned with their sales team than those without one.

Furthermore, 76% of marketers with a CRM say it is important to the success of their overall marketing strategy, and 57% say their CRM became more important in 2023.

Marketers who use a CRM are 128% more likely to say their marketing strategy this year was very effective compared to marketers who don’t use a CRM. And on top of that, 93% of marketers using Constant Contact Lead Gen and CRM say their marketing strategy was effective this year.

Lastly, AI is also very effective at improving connection, with marketers who use it saying it helps their organization share data more effectively (74%) and collaborate more effectively (73%).

What's Next for Your Business?

If you're intrigued by these insights and curious about how they can be applied to your business, we at V5 Digital are here to assist.

Should you have any questions or if you'd like V5 Digital to present an engaging and informative session on the latest trends in marketing at your business, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We're dedicated to providing you with cutting-edge marketing solutions that drive results.

This article was originally written by Maxwell Iskiev and adapted for the V5 Digital audience.

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