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2024 Global Marketing Trends

February 16, 2024
2024 Global Marketing Trends

The best marketers understand that marketing is influenced by numerous factors, from advancements in technology to shifting consumer perspectives to updates in regulatory guidelines. When marketers keep up with these trends, it empowers them to seize innovation, think more creatively, and capture the attention of target audiences’ changing expectations. Explore global digital marketing trends in 2024 to increase your knowledge and boost your efforts. 

1) AI Automation

Artificial intelligence (AI) has impacted nearly every aspect of the business world. Marketers have been especially receptive to incorporating AI into their efforts. According to MarTech, 61.4% of marketers have utilized AI for their activities, and 88% believe their businesses need to use AI and automation more to maintain competitiveness. 

Last year, many marketers leveraged generative AI for content creation. This trend is expected to continue, but AI will also improve other aspects of marketing. For instance, researchers predict marketers will use generative AI and algorithms to analyze customer data that’s increasing in volume and complexity. The insights AI-powered data analytics provides will enable marketers to create more personalized content in real-time.

Another benefit of AI is boosting the customer experience. Chatbots are commonplace in online marketing, but AI has allowed marketers to tailor experiences and provide instant solutions to problems.

A leading brand incorporating AI into customer service is Amazon. The AI chatbot is called “Q” and is designed to help individuals and businesses using Amazon Web Services navigate their service options. Since Amazon is known for delivering an exceptional user experience, it’s no surprise the e-commerce giant is leveraging AI to guide customers through their services. 

In the realm of AI and automation, it’s crucial for businesses not to lean solely on automated processes for content creation or customer service, as this could overlook the valuable creativity and insights that human marketers bring to the table. Rushing into AI implementation poses notable risks, especially in customer-facing roles, such as the loss of human connection, customer frustration when AI falls short, and the potential for customers to feel disconnected due to overly robotic interactions. To navigate these challenges, companies should embrace a balanced approach, merging the strengths of AI with human intuition. This involves training AI systems to empathize and ensuring that humans play an integral role in overseeing and coaching AI-powered customer service tools to deliver personalized and engaging experiences.

2) Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are often discussed in the entertainment space but have implications for many industries, including marketing. Specifically, they allow marketers to immerse customers in their brand and test out products virtually. 

Adoption of AR and VR by marketers has been slower than other technologies, most likely due to the price and size of equipment. However, research indicates marketers may want to give the technologies more focus in the new year. According to one study, 55% of online shoppers say AR makes shopping more enjoyable, and 40% claim they would pay more for a product they could test first with AR. 

Even as there’s been some reluctance to bring AR and VR into marketing, many brands have already implemented these technologies into their campaigns. The global phenomenon IKEA is already a rock star in marketing, so it makes sense the brand would jump on VR technology. 

The IKEA Place app allows users to place 3D models of furniture into images of their homes to help them determine how these pieces would look and fit in their space. This helps customers make more informed purchases.

3) Personalization

The capabilities of AI, machine learning, and related technologies not only help automate marketing initiatives. Enabling marketing teams to process and interpret data better empowers greater personalization. This includes suggesting more intelligent product recommendations and promotions.  Many brands employ personalization, and it’s particularly useful for e-commerce applications. For example, Whole Foods has an app that fuses in-person shopping with mobile functionality to promote a personalized experience no matter how customers interact. The app keeps track of the items a customer purchases and organizes them so they’re easy to find and buy again. Additionally, the app uses the customer’s purchase history to recommend similar products or recipes using items they buy frequently.

Personalization presents a challenge. While brands want to enhance the customer experience, using consumer data for personalization must comply with regulatory guidelines regarding data privacy. Therefore, marketers want to review privacy regulations before exploring personalization. 

4) Influencer Marketing

Endorsements aren’t enough for the modern consumer — they’re looking to build genuine relationships with brands. At the same time, it’s difficult for consumers to develop relationships with a faceless brand. This is where influencer marketing is beneficial. 

Think of influencer marketing as a spokesperson for your brand. A popular brand that has used influencer marketing to great success is Dunkin’ Donuts. The brand has a large presence on TikTok, a social media site especially popular among Millennials and Gen Z. Dunkin’ Donuts has partnered with one of the biggest influencers on TikTok, Charli D’Amelio, on several campaigns, including creating two drinks named after her. These campaigns have had a significant impact on Dunkin’ Donuts sales. 

While influencer marketing will remain relevant in 2024, marketers can expect a shift toward partnerships with micro-influencers. 2023 market research found that 64% of marketers who partnered with influencers and content creators chose micro-influencers. These individuals have smaller followings, but the people who follow them are often more engaged. Micro-influencers also represent a more niche audience and can increase a sense of authenticity among consumers.

5) Short-Form Video Marketing

If marketing teams want their messaging to stick with target audiences, video is the way to go. Research finds that consumers retain 95% of the content they experience while watching a video, compared to only 10% when reading text. 

On the other hand, marketers must be aware of consumers’ incredibly short attention spans. Research from Omnicom Media Group, Yahoo, and Amplified Intelligence revealed astonishing insights into how much consumers pay attention to ads. While 53% of all ad formats met the study’s standards for viewability (how and where loads appear on screens), the same percentage received less than 1 second of active attention from consumers

Given this statistic, marketers need to create video ads that are just long enough to capture and retain audiences’ attention while ensuring the messaging is accurately rendered. This means utilizing short-term videos on social media sites like TikTok, Instagram (Reels), and YouTube (Shorts). Live streaming and interactive formats are also expected to dominate in 2024 as each favors active involvement over passive viewing.  

TikTok has triumphed in the social media marketing space, as evidenced by the many brands utilizing the platform. One such company is the unique footwear brand Crocs. Part of what makes Crocs use of the short-form video so successful is that it leans on humor. Crocs aren’t necessarily high fashion, and the brand knows this. So, it often infuses humor in its videos, creating quick tutorials for “styling” the shoes with accessories or incorporating them into daily attire.

6) Voice Search

While not a new development in marketing, voice search has certainly grown more important for consumers. Research indicates that 51% of online shoppers in the United States use voice assistants to look up products, and 80% of these shoppers find voice search services beneficial. 

Voice search optimization works similarly to search engine optimization. Instead of keywords, brands find the questions their target audiences ask, which may be phrased differently than when they type the question into the search bar. 

Typically, the questions will be more long-form and conversational. For instance, instead of “seafood restaurants in Cape Cod”, customers ask, “What are some good seafood restaurants in Cape Cod?” For this reason, brands want to craft content around these questions, integrating them organically as titles or headers.

Food is one of the top items purchased using voice assistance, so it makes sense that a pizza chain like Domino’s has invested significantly in voice recognition to enhance the customer experience. Domino’s was one of the first brands to use voice-activated mobile ordering. It launched a voice-activated app called Dom in 2014 that allows customers to order pizza like they would if a real person was on the other line. The app has helped complete over half a million orders since it was first introduced.

7) User-Generated Content (UGC)

In seeking to craft more authentic messaging, marketers can go straight to the source with user-generated content. Research finds that 90% of consumers trust UGC over marketing materials produced by a company’s marketing team. UGC provides social proof; it directs consumers to learn more about a brand based on the praise of others in that target audience. 

UGC is unique in that marketers aren’t creating the content themselves. For instance, customers may post reviews on social media and third-party forums. Instead, marketers should focus on corralling UGC to place on the company’s website, where they have more control over what’s presented. Additionally, research indicates that conversion rates increase by 41% when customer reviews appear on websites. 

Another strategy to make UGC more engaging is challenges where customers are invited to create the most unique forms of social proof. This could be a short-form video, an image posted on social media, or a written testimonial with a distinct theme. 

UGC can be difficult for marketers to implement, but numerous brands have done so successfully. One example is the household cosmetics brand Sephora. On its website, Sephora compiles beauty advice and inspiration from its customers, which it calls the Beauty Insider Community. It also highlights interactive UGC in the Community Gallery. One of the most unique aspects of Sephora’s UGC is that customers can explore the products featured in these posts, leading them directly to product pages.

8) Social e-Commerce

Social media platforms and e-commerce sites are increasingly melding together. Popular sites like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook have already incorporated e-commerce elements on their sites, with new software and apps being developed that integrate with social media. 

Social e-commerce promises to simplify the online shopping experience and boost product discovery. Brands also rely on it to drive social proof. Social e-commerce has already delivered on these promises — 53% of consumers worldwide claim they want to shop more on social media platforms in the future, with 67% having done so already. 

A great example of social e-commerce is Instagram’s “Shoppable Posts”. Designed for image-based posts, this social media site was primed for e-commerce. Originally, Instagram only allowed users to follow a link from a post to a page on an e-commerce site. Now, users can click on clothing, home décor, and other items featured in posts and check out directly from Instagram. This convenient tool creates a great experience for the customer. 

9) A Privacy Crackdown

Every marketer uses customer data to tailor campaigns and better reach their target audience. Just as data is valuable to marketing teams, it’s incredibly valuable to customers. Email addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and location if reviewing the website from a mobile device — many consumers value the privacy they maintain over this information. A company that neglects data privacy will, at best, experience lost customer loyalty and, at worst, face significant consequences from regulatory bodies. 

Between consumers and government agencies, data privacy is under intense scrutiny going into 2024. Companies that demonstrate to their customer bases a commitment to safeguarding their personal information gain a competitive advantage. They prove to consumers they operate with integrity and prioritize data privacy in all dealings. 

The following are several data privacy trends to look out for in 2024: 

Google Cookie Policy 

In addition to tracking website activities, third-party cookies help enhance the online experience by personalizing ads and making it easier to log into frequently visited websites. Google recently announced its plans to phase out third-party cookies, with the first step occurring at the beginning of 2024. 

As part of the Privacy Sandbox initiative, Chrome restricted third-party cookies for 1% of global users, with plans to restrict them to 100% of users starting in Q3 2024. This decision coincides with a new feature called Tracking Protection designed to limit cross-site tracking while ensuring the same level of accessibility to online content and services. 

Google outlines the following steps to help organizations prepare for this transition: 

New Data Privacy Laws 

On the federal level, progress with data privacy legislation has been slow in the United States. However, many states passed laws in 2023 that will go into effect in 2024. The following are five of eight of those laws that will be enforced this year: 

  • Delaware Personal Data Privacy Act (DPDPA) 
  • Florida Digital Bill of Rights (FDBR) 
  • Montana Consumer Data Privacy Act (MTCDPA)
  • Oregon Consumer Privacy Act (OCPA) 
  • Texas Data Privacy and Security Act (TDPSA) 

Only 14 states have established regulations for data privacy, but businesses should expect more laws to be discussed in state legislatures in 2024. 

The U.S. isn’t the only nation implementing data privacy laws. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ePrivacy Directive (ePD) have guided data privacy in the European Union since 2018. New laws are under development in Europe to keep up with the evolving data privacy landscape. These include the Digital Markets Act and the AI Act, as well as the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR), which would repeal ePD. 

Data privacy is a worldwide concern, with key players in the global economy enacting or considering laws to protect customer data. These nations include Australia, Canada, China, Japan, India, and New Zealand, among others. 

Enhanced Security with AI Technology 

Generative AI, like ChatGPT, was the center of many discussions about data privacy in 2023. Tech experts warn of significant problems if generative AI and related technologies aren’t utilized responsibly, including the exposure of sensitive customer data.

Some nations have already implemented legislation to protect against the risks AI poses. As mentioned, the European Union is planning to enact the AI Act in 2024, with the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act already in place in 2023. The U.S. has also promoted the safe and ethical use of AI technology through the US AI Executive Order. 

A collaboration between U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Cyber Security Centre in the United Kingdom created Guidelines for Secure AI System Development. Organizations are advised to review these laws and guidelines as they handle customer data this year. 

Other trends in AI security and data privacy include: 

  • The development of privacy-enhancing technologies (PET) 
  • Enhanced data privacy within the automotive industry 
  • Greater emphasis on protecting children’s data in the United States 
  • Utilizing AI to reduce privacy risks 

10) Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility

Increasingly, consumers are demanding that businesses maintain better corporate social responsibility (CSR) and take actionable steps toward sustainability.  

Harvard Business School compiles research regarding consumer perceptions of CSR, emphasizing its growing importance in their behaviors. 77% of American consumers are inclined to purchase from brands committed to making their communities and the world a better place. 55% of these consumers also find it important for brands to have an opinion on environmental, social, and geopolitical issues. 

From a marketing perspective, consumers want to understand the brand’s values and the steps it has taken (or intends to take) to respond to this issue. In some cases, the products and services a company sells further their CSR goals, so marketers want to consider a purpose-driven marketing strategy. It’s not only what the product or service can do for the potential customer but also what purchasing means for the environment or individuals in the community. 

CSR can be challenging to do well. Brands risk coming off as performative if they make claims about sustainability or efforts to help remedy social injustices but don’t show consumers the specific actions taken to achieve these goals. Conversely, this can have the opposite effect, causing reputational damage and pushing potential customers away.

Luckily, marketers can glean inspiration from the many brands that have successfully implemented CSR into their marketing. One example is the footwear company TOMS. This organization’s commitment to CSR has evolved, indicating that successful CSR often involves listening to the customers’ concerns. 

Initially, TOMS donated one pair of shoes for every pair sold, helping provide shoes for millions of children. This campaign created a challenge — local shoe-making businesses couldn’t compete because many consumers depended on free shoes. In response, TOMS envisioned a new approach to CSR. It decided to forsake the free shoes and instead donate a portion of its profits to multiple social issues, including mental health and gun violence. 

11) Embracing Diversity in Content

Beyond CSR, another way brands can show their humanity is through diversity in content. Many companies appeal to global markets, and even those serving only consumers in the U.S. must appeal to various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. An article from Brookings indicates that the U.S. population increased by 19.5 million between 2010 and 2019, with racial and ethnic minorities accounting for most of the growth

In addition to race and ethnicity, businesses also need to consider age, gender, education, income, and marital status, among other aspects, to ensure they accurately represent the full extent of their customer base. 

What does it mean for marketers to embrace diversity? It begins by developing a better understanding of what diversity means, including the benefits it provides for society and in marketing and the importance of cultural sensitivity in messaging. Marketing teams may conduct research into the economic, environmental, and social aspects within specific cultural groups and use their findings to enhance their marketing strategies. 

When it comes to implementing diversity in content, brands want to highlight the unique qualities of different groups and celebrate them while also recognizing aspects like race, gender, or sexual orientation don’t define the whole person.

Each company has a distinct customer base with different diverse groups to consider with marketing, and understanding how to incorporate diversity in content can feel abstract. Marketers can turn to the many brands that have already achieved success with diversity in marketing, including household names like Apple, Coca-Cola, Target, Nike, and Barbie, for inspiration.

12) Shift Away From Vanity Metrics

Metrics are fundamental to measuring success and identifying areas for improvement. However, marketers want to make sure the metrics they use relate to their strategic goals or the objectives for a specific campaign. Otherwise, they risk celebrating vanity metrics. 

This issue occurs frequently when analyzing social media metrics. For instance, the number of followers a brand has on a social media site, or the number of likes on a particular post, are vanity metrics. With content marketing, the number of views a page receives can be a vanity metric. Although impressive, they don’t give marketers a real indication of how many leads the following or post has generated.

Instead, marketers should focus on actionable metrics that support business growth. These metrics are measurable and help shape a company’s marketing strategy. They deliver tangible insights and ultimately relate to strategic goals. If the number of page views is a vanity metric, then the conversion rate is an actionable metric.

Stay Ahead of 2024 Marketing Trends with MarcomCentral

Marketers should expect current trends in marketing to evolve throughout 2024 and into the next year. Between technological advancements, updated regulatory guidelines, and global events like the COVID-19 pandemic affecting supply chains and other aspects, marketers must be aware of external factors impacting their activities. 

Given these trends and the challenges they bring, marketers want to take better control of their brands to deliver more consistent and engaging experiences. MarcomCentral makes this possible with distributed marketing and digital asset management solutions.

Our on-demand marketing platform empowers brands to drive growth through multiple channels through several features, including: 

MarcomCentral is designed to help multiple teams, including the marketing, sales, and distributed field teams. Businesses across many industries rely on our platform for an omnichannel brand management solution, including healthcare, education, finance, and food and beverage.  Request a demo with us today to learn more about how we can help you adapt and thrive with new trends in the marketing landscape.