What's on the Horizon for Marketing in 2024? | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

What's on the Horizon for Marketing in 2024?


While no one can say for sure what the new year will bring, it seems likely that the marketing industry will see more changes to transparency, accountability, privacy, automation, and the general utilization and capabilities of generative AI. Sending the right message to the right person at the right time has always been a marketer's dream (and challenge); how that happens has always changed based on new developments.

Below are the top predictions from some of the industry's leading experts.

Consent, accountability, and transparency should be at the forefront of marketers' minds. Jamie Barnard, CEO and cofounder of Compliant, stated with the depreciation of third-party cookies, advertisers will become more dependent on their own first-party data, but likely won't have the reach they need. One option is to "join up with the likes of retailers" who offer advertisers more first-party data.

Barnard stressed the importance of consent, adding "I think consent is obviously the new battleground, and I think companies underestimate value in marketing consent. The drive toward first party data will drive greater awareness of the value of consent. I think a lot of companies, and most obvious of all is Meta, have tried every alternative to avoid relying on consent and have failed at every turn. So, it is clear now that in the advertising and marketing context, in its broader sense, honestly, in Europe at least, consent is the only viable way of getting the lawful basis to collect and process data — and by extension track people around the web."

"As people push toward first-party data, the smart ones will realize that how you show up in that little short dialogue with someone that says, "Look, trust me, genuinely, trust me, I want your data because I can make your life better. I'm not going to share it with hundreds of other people;" [this] is going to be the next creative battleground," Barnard stated.

When it comes to creating change, Barnard believes in the power of accountability, stating, "What will start to make a real impact here is more holding companies to account and forcing a degree of transparency on them that is currently not really there. We have measured the compliance of 90 percent of the world's publishers by media spend outside of China, and I can tell you the level of compliance across media is pretty bad, right? It's like sustainability was 20 years ago where no one really looked at it and then suddenly it became alarming. You can't upend an industry overnight. It takes a long time to drive change and the thing that will drive change is holding people's feet to the fire. The way to do that is through transparency."

In sustainability, another hot topic, automation can help. Marketers, for instance, could measure using AI. Barnard explained that a brand manager could eliminate unsustainable options, explaining that a manager could say, "'I don't want to buy on the top 10 percent of websites from a carbon emissions perspective, so we'll run the analysis on every publisher in the world,' and we can tell you which publishers are running hot because they have 700 tags. Let's find the segment that has got a high carbon impact and is a high-risk from a privacy point of view, and we'll just automatically filter that out into sites that are more compliant, less harmful, and have a better performance. We can do this automatically, and that's the future of sustainability. We'll be driving the numbers down, not through people making small choices about ad formats, but through much more macro media buying probably."

Barnard also added that this process will look different based on needs and could be "calibrated [based on] your own risk tolerance and ensure that your ads were only appearing on sites that met or exceeded your own expectations."

How companies are using technology and the footprint they have will become even more of a central pillar. Chris Comstock, chief growth officer at Claravine, stated that clients are "actually seeing it show up in our fees and other things. It's becoming core to how people think about operating and doing their business."

Ray Kingman, CEO of Semcasting, similarly believes transparency should be the focus, stating that "we need to find a better path to transparency with audiences, media, and the infrastructure of digital advertising so that the check-writers truly understand the real value of their advertising efforts. When we have near real-time, transparent measurement across CTV, linear, social, display, native, and OOH channels into who in a first-party audience is being reached by name, we have proof. We can finally answer the right audience, right message, right time question."

Further, Scarlett Shipp, CEO of AnalyticsIQ, noted that "predictive analytics and insights, contextual marketing, and giving consumers more control over the kind of data they share, will be key in helping marketers strike the right balance. Tools like these will enable brands to deliver personalized experiences while respecting consumer privacy in a way that builds trust as the emphasis on both privacy and personalization continues to evolve in 2024 and beyond."

Marketers also need to keep in mind that insights can, and should, come from many sources and areas. Combining them successfully is, of course, the challenge. Tim Sleath, head of product strategy and IT at VDX.tv, stressed the important of having the right partnerships. Sleath stated that "there are often overlooked or underutilized sources and techniques that can offer significant competitive advantages. For example, implementing cross-functional data integration can help companies generate a more holistic view of their customers and the customer journey while illuminating potential areas of synergy or friction. For a marketing campaign, this may look like using a combination of behavioral, interest, contextual, location, life trigger, and purchase data in tandem with CRM data – with the result being more accurate targeting and the opportunity to deliver more relevant messaging to each consumer. Not every company has access to the right types of data, so collaboration with the right data or adtech partners is the key to success in 2024."

Media processes, similarly, need to be better integrated and de-siloed for true optimization. Skye Frontier, SVP of growth Incremental, noted that "retail media planning has historically fallen within the broader revenue function as opposed to marketing. As organizations have matured, e-commerce has evolved into dedicated functions within revenue organizations, but the ownership of retail media has remained an open question. Sometimes it reports into revenue, and other times it reports in marketing. When it comes to media buying, it is often in a silo, despite retail media's evolution toward brand building, such as its ability to power channels like CTV. There is also limited overlap in the technology used to plan, optimize, and measure retail media versus digital media, let alone traditional media."

Frontier went on to say that this will change in the coming year as "people, processes, and technology surrounding retail media will integrate with traditional media planning. Omnicom's purchase of Flywheel is a major indication that this will be an area of focus across the industry. This purchase highlights the need to bring people, expertly designed processes, and technology for managing retail media deep into traditional media planning. Keep an eye on further acquisition of endemic agencies to bring their people and processes into holding companies and monitor the technology side as well – platforms and tools that support the buying, planning and measurement of retail media will be folded into or at least integrated with traditional media platforms."

In addition, Gijsbert Pols, director of connected TV and new channels at Adjust, also noted that retail media will become an integral part of the consumer journey and purchase conversion, as people will be able "to make purchases directly off their TV screens. Perhaps one of the most obvious examples, cooking programs could seamlessly integrate with grocery delivery apps, allowing viewers to purchase ingredients straight off their screen to their doorstep. The fusion of CTV and commerce creates an interactive platform where every click has real-world implications."

Leveraging AI and predictive analytics can help marketers measure across channels. Simon Dussart, CEO of Adjust, explained that machine learning and AI "are giving us the ability to predict, with 90 percent accuracy, a user's lifetime value at days three, seven, 14, and 30. Within the first 24 hours, marketers will be able to identify if a campaign is attracting high-value users so they can invest more or stop the campaign in favor of other channels. And that's where we see budgets being spent better and having better ROAS."

Dussart also stated that "predictive analytics and automated workflows, combined with incrementality and media mix modeling, or MMM, will give marketers a 360-degree understanding of how they should be spending their marketing dollars – and on what platforms or channels. This is the future of modern growth marketing and measurement."

Further, Comstock predicts that data with generative AI and LLMs will become more centralized, which raises many questions. As Comstock elaborated, "What are your training sets? What are your first-party data assets that can differentiate you, because everyone's going to have access to the same models. And so, what is the next step? I feel like that's where people are going to start focusing their time. What are you doing differently? Everyone has access to data, whether [it is] open-sourced by Facebook or others. So, what do you do with it? How do you leverage it to your advantage?"

Effective marketing, however, is not complete without strong content, and Comstock has seen a "renewed focus on content, content performance, content publication. We have some customers who have 600,000 assets in their DAM. And so, they're revisiting their content – and how to serve the right content to the right customer."

Regardless of how 2024 shakes out, it helps to have insights to help guide you through what will likely be a year like no other. As technology, like generative AI's capabilities, continues to evolve, so will everything from content, processes, the customer journey, and data analyzation.

Check out more predictions here.

The views and opinions expressed in Industry Insights are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Joanna Fragopoulos is a director of editorial and content development at ANA.