2024 Marketing Predictions: How We're Getting Ready for the New Year

2024 marketing predictions

Just when it seemed like the world was finally getting back to normal, generative AI turned the marketing industry on its head. At the same time, marketers competed for clicks with global conflicts amid declining public trust. Good riddance, 2023. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

But what marketing trends can we expect in the new year? News headlines are still coming fast and furious. AI technology continues to evolve. We still haven’t found the magic formula to restore the trust of the people we need most — our audience. Oh, and did we mention the economic outlook? While it may seem like 2024 is shaping up to be a repeat of the current year, a lot will change. Exactly how, we don’t know. But we’ve got some educated guesses.

As we close out the year, here are a few 2024 marketing predictions from Dean (our fearless leader), Andrew (digital and AI expert), and Irene (content and communications).

1. Marketers Will Buckle Down and Cut Fluff Projects

Nobody wants to say this less than I do, but 2024 may be the year we see the dreaded “R” word again. Recession is looming, unemployment is rising, and inflation will dip. We’re starting to see it already.

What does that mean in terms of B2B marketing trends? There is less money flowing on goods and services, so marketing budgets get tight — fast. Next year will be when smart companies get even smarter, focusing on building a funnel, getting leads, and driving revenue. Pet projects will get parked until 2025. Rebrands will pause. New debt? No way. All unnecessary line items will be cut. It will be time to drive home messages that generate leads and secure revenue. Teams (clever ones, at least) will decentralize to be able to respond more rapidly to customers.

2. Brands Will Struggle with AI Marketing

The shift of artificial intelligence to the mainstream is an obvious standout among 2024 marketing trends. More and more brands searching for lower costs and increased efficiency will hop on the AI bandwagon. But even as generative AI technology continues to mature, brands looking for a magic bullet to support budget cuts will struggle to produce original, engaging content. Forrester predicts that thinly customized generative AI content will degrade the purchase experience for 70% of B2B buyers.

AI is evolving, and its ability to produce quality content has improved even in the last six months. But companies looking to leverage AI will need to commit time and resources to learn how to get the results they need, despite all the hype that anyone can do it. The ability to create custom versions of ChatGPT might help companies with one AI-savvy member — but teams that can’t get AI to produce decent copy won’t be better at customizing their tools.

AI-driven searches

3. The Way Buyers Research Will Change

My 2024 marketing predictions will focus more on my areas of expertise: digital and SEO. Until now, B2B buyers turned to review sites, search engines, and social media for information before making a purchase. But conversational AI search mechanisms, like Bing AI or Perplexity, are making their mark on the buyer journey.

Unlike the often-biased information found in articles on the “best” solutions – which are often written by companies promoting their own offering, AI-driven searches can deliver results drawn from a much larger pool of information, eliminating the need for exhaustive scouring of the internet. Additionally, push advertising that pervades social and search platforms has not yet made its way to AI search platforms, giving users a sense that results are free and legitimate.

(Bonus prediction for the future of B2B marketing: The possibility of ad placements on AI platforms would provide brands with a compelling opportunity to deliver targeted, personalized promotions within AI-driven conversations.)

4. The “Human Touch” Will Become More Important

Building trust with your audience is becoming more important than ever, but consumers’ trust in, well, pretty much everything — companies included — is at a relative low. At the same time, marketers are leaning on AI to produce their content, producing (in many cases) blog posts, social media posts, and paid ads that closely resemble those of their competitors.

I believe demonstrating authenticity and originality in marketing efforts will be a key digital marketing trend next year as buyers look for real humans they can build relationships with in a world of chatbots and AI assistants. Brands that can walk the fine line between leveraging AI and still sounding authentically human will stand out and succeed.

5. Automation Will Make Some Team Members Redundant

The idea of doubling down on the human aspects of marketing was obviously a common theme for our team when examining trends in B2B marketing. While Irene focused on the importance of “the human touch” to build trust with buyers, there’s another angle to explore: developers and other marketers whose jobs can be automated will start to become redundant.

OK, AI won’t necessarily replace a ton of your team members in 2024. But if AI tools can produce code faster and better than real-life developers, how long will companies keep paying high salaries for team members they mostly see playing video games? Marketers who rely heavily on automated tools to do their jobs will face uncertain futures very soon. How can you protect your job? Do it well. Go all in on psychology, intuition, human design and feeling to create connections with buyers.

6. AI Could Transform SEO Keyword Research

I see a huge opportunity for SEO tools in the coming year — when AI integration will transform the way we research keywords. SEO professionals currently spend substantial effort identifying keywords that align with specific intent (informational or commercial), balancing volume against difficulty, and exploring synonyms and related terms.

As generative and conversational AI gain popularity, tools that streamline the keyword research phase will offer a competitive advantage, making the process faster and more efficient. As an SEO expert, my ideal scenario for the future of B2B marketing involves interfacing with a chatbot to articulate specific search objectives and receiving tailored recommendations that factor in brand recognition, content format, and ranking objectives.

7. Answer Engine Optimization Will Rise to Prominence

The next frontier on the continuously evolving landscape of SEO and AI, Answer Engine Optimization will mark a paradigm shift for SEO experts navigating the shifting tides of optimization to find the Holy Grail of SERP relevance. The transition from conventional search engines to zero-click solutions will force brands to rethink their sites with the goal of serving as direct information sources for generative AI-powered chatbots like Bard or ChatGPT, as well as voice search platforms like Alexa or Siri.

While AEO may deliver information directly through chat interfaces, I predict users will continue to seek out the source of their information, driving traffic back to the original content. Engaged readers will want the context provided by reading the entire article associated with the provided answer — a trend that will keep content relevant despite the shift in search habits. While the precise methodologies for AEO are still undefined, strategies will emerge once the dust settles on leading AI platforms, marking a turning point in the future of SEO expertise.

Remote Work Will Finally Be the Default

8. Remote Work Will Finally Be the Default

I’m closing out my 2024 marketing predictions with a less technical one. No, remote work probably won’t be the default everywhere, but I think the marketing and advertising world will finally fully accept remote or hybrid work models as standard. Many companies were still recalling employees to the office in 2023 after years of letting them work from home during the pandemic, but our industry has largely bucked the trend of forcing people to come back.

But while the conversation around remote work has largely focused on the pros and cons for staff and employers, the recognition of how remote work can benefit clients is growing. I believe we’ll move to a standard of offering remote or hybrid options for even new positions, not just for existing staff who have refused to return to corporate spaces.

9. New Governance Roles Will Emerge

There’s no question that pretty much every brand will embrace AI in some form or another. But the logistics and legalities of using artificial intelligence to create new content are still being questioned all the time — frequently enough that ChatGPT is offering to help defray its users’ legal costs. Companies using AI will need to be vigilant about the tools they’re using and how they’re being employed.

Governance teams dedicated to ensuring the use of AI complies with organizational missions and goals will play a big role in how marketing is changing. To that end, businesses will need to have team members continually evaluating new and existing AI tools — and the ramifications of using them.

Prepare for 2024 Marketing Trends with TPM

The B2B marketing space is changing rapidly. None of us can say with any certainty what the coming year will look like, but the team here at TPM is committed to helping our clients and partners adapt and grow, regardless of whether or not our 2024 marketing predictions prove accurate. Check out our AI Tech Stack solutions page for more information on how we’re leveraging artificial intelligence to streamline campaigns or contact us directly with your questions on how marketing is changing and how you can be ready.

Right now, how comfortable are you with the idea of using AI-generated content (with minimal or no human intervention) to promote your business?

How comfortable are you with the idea of using AI-generated content