Every year experts tout new marketing predictions, promising this will be the year of one thing or another. But how many of these forecasts actually pan out, and how many end up fading away as hype-driven fads? In this article, I cut through the noise around marketing predictions 2024. I explore insights from thought leaders on upcoming trends as well as cautions around chasing unproven tactics just because they captured headlines. Will personalization and video content own the year as many indicate? Or will reliable standbys like search engine optimization that marketers easily overlook in favor of “the next big thing” continue driving results? Read on to find out:
- Do predictions really matter?
- The year of original content
- Podcast collaborations
- The Slow Decline of Traditional B2B Demand Gen
- Visual content
- My predictions
Do Predictions Really Matter?
Before diving into predictions for 2024, it’s worth examining if predictions truly matter. As Jay Schwedelson, CEO of Subjectline.com, recently demonstrated with examples of wildly inaccurate past predictions, no one has a crystal ball. The only way to know what marketing tactics will work is through relentless testing, optimization, and measurement.
What works for a billion-dollar brand likely won’t work the same way for your early-stage startup. Rather than follow the crowd, conduct experiments to find what moves the needle for your unique business. Still, it doesn’t hurt to hear what industry leaders forecast for the year ahead. Just take all predictions with a grain of salt.
The Year of Original Content
Sangram Vajre, CEO of GTM Partners, boldly declared 2024 as the “Year of Original Content.” The rise of AI-generated content means human-created original content will stand out more than ever. Marketers relying solely on tools like ChatGPT to write blogs and social media posts are in for a rude awakening.
As digital marketer Neil Patel similarly noted, human-written content will significantly outperform AI writing – in fact, it is already. Yes, generative AI can help overcome writer’s block and improve workflow efficiency. But for long-term success, marketers must use these tools to augment, not replace, their ideas and perspectives.
Beyond standing out from the AI noise, original content that conveys authenticity fosters audience trust. This year, thought leadership and brand affinity will come from content that feels like it was created for me specifically, not just blasted out to the masses. This level of personalization requires rolling up your sleeves, not just letting an algorithm do the work.
The hard truth is writing original content takes far more time and effort than AI-aided content creation. Generating novel ideas, fighting past writer’s block, editing for quality – it’s not easy. And perfectionism causes many marketers to miss opportunities more often than not. The content that performs best frequently comes from raw, imperfect ideas written and shared quickly.
Don’t overthink it. Just create.
The Rise of Collaboration in Podcasting
Industry experts Lauren Passell and Arielle Nissenblatt predict 2024 will usher in more collaboration in podcasting. Audiences crave authentic connections. Partnerships between hosts and listeners foster meaningful engagement.
Lauren and Arielle encourage podcasters to regularly invite fellow hosts onto their shows. Cross-promoting episodes expands mutual reach and followers. Think of it like a partnership, not competition. Listeners with an interest in a topic tend to subscribe to multiple shows.
And collaborating with your own audience takes podcasting to the next level. Put yourself in their shoes and listen to your show as if hearing it for the first time. Ask for honest feedback from friends, colleagues, and listeners. Run quick polls to find out what they like and want more of.
Give behind-the-scenes sneak peeks into how each episode gets made. This transparency and vulnerability forges lasting bonds with your podcast fans. They’ll feel invested in contributing to your success.
Lastly, connect with external influencers talking about your podcast. Engage new audiences on Reddit, build hype through TikTok (particularly as interest in the “PodTalk” genre grows), and provide value to reviewers.
Collaborating across all these stakeholder groups makes podcasting rewarding both personally and professionally.
The Slow Decline of Traditional B2B Demand Gen
Jon Miller, the legendary founder of Marketo, sees traditional demand generation losing relevance in 2024. The classic playbook of blasting out ads, gating content, and relentlessly pushing for conversions no longer captivates modern B2B buyers.
Today’s consumers are overwhelmed with a barrage of outbound marketing spam. They conduct extensive independent research before engaging brands. To capture their attention, marketers must cater to emotions through branding focused on shared beliefs and values.
Hyper-targeted advertising – including on LinkedIn – at the right moment also helps. And with more scrutiny on marketing’s impact on pipeline and revenue, marketers can’t fixate only on driving new leads. They must prove their worth across the full customer lifecycle – through retention and expansion too.
This realignment sounds straightforward but proves difficult to execute. Creating an emotive brand, nurturing personalized buyer journeys, and quantifying revenue impact takes much longer than running paid ads. It requires significant upfront investment and buy-in across the business.
In the short-term, effective demand gen remains imperative to hit targets and secure additional resources to fund brand-building. As Adam Robinson, CEO of Retention.com, noted, start by perfecting inbound tactics to amplify future outbound efforts. A balanced strategy for today while gradually shifting to the playbook of tomorrow is the winning formula.
The Growing Importance of Visual Content
Multiple experts predict visual content will become more integral to marketing success in 2024. From podcasts to blogs to social media, video stands out as users increasingly consume information on the go.
And for SEO, Benu Aggarwal over on Search Engine Land claims optimizing for visual search will no longer be optional. As AI and large language models better digest imagery, writings must incorporate videos, webinars, meta descriptions, alt text, and other visual elements to become even more important.
Kendall Breitman, a social media influencer, spotlighted video podcasts’ expanding popularity. Over 60% of new podcast listeners now prefer video-first formats. While the podcasting community historically scoffed at “YouTube shows,” consumer behavior makes it clear video is here to stay.
My Marketing Predictions 2024
I’ll round out this 2024 futurology by sharing my personal predictions. First, brace yourself for more marketing attribution models breaking. Data privacy initiatives give customers more control over what gets tracked, making directly correlating ad spends to pipeline increasingly difficult.
Marketers must better embrace measurement over unreliable attribution and ensure leadership teams understand the metrics that matter. It’s also on marketing to educate the rest of the organization on how brand lift ultimately impacts customer acquisition and growth.
My second prediction is consumers will lose patience with generalized, irrelevant marketing. We have too much data today to be executing lazy, un-personalized campaigns. There is no more excuse for sending emails with incorrect names or irrelevant offers. Take the time to intimately understand your personas and tailor every touchpoint accordingly.
Otherwise, as new antispam policies roll out across email, social media, and more, a failure to provide value will lead to brands quickly being muted or blocked. Marketers, the time for broad “spray and pray” tactics has come to an end. Quantify who you intend to serve and craft authentic messages that resonate at exactly the right moments.
I look forward to revisiting this next year to see what proved accurate. Here’s to another transitional year for marketing as we balance emerging and declining trends alike to push our brands forward!