4 Key Marketing Trends to Watch in 2024

2023 was packed with a dizzying amount of big changes and exciting moments, especially in the marketing world. We saw some giant leaps forward that shook things up for businesses and professionals alike, all of which have proven very impactful for marketing trends.

Stepping into 2024, this is the year when all those significant changes will start to make their mark and shape the world of marketing for a long time. With all of this happening at breakneck speeds, staying ahead of the marketing trends is more important than ever. 

To help, we’re here to walk you through the exciting and sometimes unpredictable marketing world as we look ahead to 2024. Driven by a mix of curiosity and a healthy dose of optimism, we believe these four marketing trends will significantly impact our industry in the coming year. We’ll cover a lot – from the complexities of data privacy and the rise of green energy to the cutting-edge developments in AI and the evolving job market, each trend representing a crucial piece of the marketing puzzle for the coming year.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get into what 2024 has in store for us in the marketing world.

Trend 1: Privacy and Data Protection

Trust and Transparency

Concerns about privacy and data protection are not novel. Still, increasing pressure from customers alongside stricter legislation and industry changes has pushed companies to focus more on delivering trust and transparency regarding consumer data. 

With big players like Google phasing out tracking cookies in the very near future and Apple’s longstanding App Tracking Transparency, first-party data is quickly trumping third-party data as best practice. And platforms are not the only ones driving change regarding consumer privacy. More than a dozen U.S. states have signed privacy restriction laws, with additional legislation sure to come.

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

What this means for marketers is a shift in how marketing work is done and who is doing that work. Kieley Taylor, global head of partnerships and managing director at GroupM, a leading media investment company, shared, “What used to be a comms planner has now become an audience planner, and that has to do with the changing data landscape, the ability to model in more productive ways and because everything is becoming more addressable.”

Longstanding roles like SEO Specialist, Data Analyst, and Content Marketing Managers must adopt new skillsets and responsibilities focused on first-party data collection and analysis. On top of that, what were once niche roles will become more common in organizations large and small. Data Privacy Officers, Customer Experience (CX) Specialists, and Personalization Specialists will be tasked with ethically collecting, analyzing, and acting upon first-party data. 

Overall, this movement away from third-party data and toward first-party data will push marketing teams to be more tightly aligned with their customer, using real-time and incredibly targeted insights to produce even more creative and engaging content. 

Trend 2: Green Energy Growth

A Pocket of Growth in an Otherwise Cooling Hiring Market

Another long-anticipated trend: the green energy and sustainability industries have seen explosive growth thanks to the widespread impacts of climate change, public pressure, and unprecedented investment from private and public sectors. 

According to Deloitte, over the past two years, clean energy jobs have grown 10% (faster than overall US employment), and investment in clean energy technologies is “significantly outpacing” spending on fossil fuels – both promising signs of industry strength. 

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

For sustainability-minded marketers and creatives, this progress means jobs – and lots of them. In fact, according to LinkedIn, roles with at least one “green skill” – a skill that helps a wide variety of roles be performed more sustainably – have grown over 22% between 2022 and 2023. These roles also bucked the hiring slowdown seen globally.

Energy production, transportation, and finance industries are pivotal to sustainability. Creative roles within those industries with green skills are critical, especially those involving communications and design. Taking the role of director of interior design as an example, someone with experience in sustainable design practices will likely have better opportunities than one without. 

Sustainability isn’t just a trend. It’s the future. We’re proud to have worked with organizations excelling in corporate responsibility, climate management, and environmental advocacy for decades, and we are committed to connecting people passionate about these causes to organizations at the forefront of sustainability.

Trend 3: Generative AI and AI Regulation

Everybody’s Talking About AI

Now, onto something that seemingly took the world by storm overnight: Generative AI. If 2023 was the year of all things AI, then 2024 will almost certainly double down on that, with a healthy dose of oversight and regulation. 

Launched on November 30, 2022, ChatGPT is one of the most widely recognized generative AI platforms, partially thanks to its unprecedented growth, reaching 100 million monthly users just weeks after its release, faster than Instagram or TikTok. 

This explosive progress hasn’t been without controversy. With an ongoing OpenAI investigation in Italy, a GDPR violation lawsuit in Poland, a European task force, and an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission into OpenAI, the ethical and legal considerations for organizations integrating AI solutions are very serious. 

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

The impacts of this technology, and others like Google’s Bard, Meta’s Llama, and Microsoft’s Copilot, have been significant for the marketing and creative industries. Freeing up time previously devoted to repetitive tasks, helping teams personalize messaging and content to as many audiences as needed, and serving as a partner in strategy and planning for budget and headcount-strapped teams – a whopping 72% of marketing and creative leaders already consider generative AI as an essential part of their creative toolkit. 

There has also been cause for concern. Worry about the potential for inaccurate or biased content generation, the automation of creative jobs, the difficulty in maintaining control over brand voice and message, and the ethical implications of AI-powered decision-making have highlighted the importance of responsible AI implementation, emphasizing human oversight and transparency in the creative process.

Trend 4: Changing Labor Trends Across Industries

Future-Proofing the Workforce

The traditional career path is being rewritten, and nowhere is this more evident than in the marketing and creative industries. In 2024, all signs point to a shift in focus from rigid educational credentials to a skills-based approach that prioritizes adaptable talent and lifelong learning. Several key trends fuel this shift:

  1. Changing Perceptions of Education: The value of a four-year degree is being re-evaluated, with a 33% drop in the number of young adults viewing it as “very important.” This opens doors for alternative learning pathways, such as boot camps, online courses, and industry certifications, that equip individuals with in-demand skills.
  2. The Skills Gap Challenge: Despite millions of unemployed, organizations struggle to find qualified candidates for open positions. This disconnect highlights the need for a tighter alignment between education and the evolving needs of the workforce. TIP: If you’re a leader hoping to address the skill gaps on your team, check out this article.
  3. New Technologies and Emerging Roles: The rise of AI, automation, and other technologies is reshaping the landscape, creating new roles and demanding new skill sets. Marketers and creatives must stay ahead of the curve by embracing continuous learning and upskilling in data analysis, digital storytelling, and user experience design.

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

This shift towards valuing skills over traditional credentials has several advantages:

  • Increased Workforce Diversity: Focusing on skills opens doors for previously overlooked candidates, promoting a more inclusive and diverse talent pool.
  • Fairer Hiring Practices: Skills-based assessments provide a more objective measure of potential, reducing bias and promoting equitable advancement opportunities.
  • Building a Future-Ready Workforce: Investing in skill development, particularly leadership and communication, empowers individuals to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing job market.
  • Flexibility Takes Center Stage: Fueled by the pandemic, work location and schedule flexibility have become critical factors for talent in the marketing and creative industries. The demand for freelance opportunities from both professionals and clients is also soaring. These roles offer greater control over location, schedule, and career progression, attracting talent seeking a more fulfilling work life. For a glimpse into the world of freelancing, check out our interview with freelance writer and content strategist Dita Squires.

2024 will be the year that the marketing and creative industries prioritize agile, adaptable talent equipped with the right skills. By embracing a skills-based approach, organizations can unlock a diverse talent pool, build a future-proof workforce, and fuel the next wave of innovation in these dynamic fields.

Cheers to 2024!

2024 promises to be a whirlwind for the marketing and creative worlds. We’ve covered four key marketing trends that will reshape the landscape, from navigating the data privacy minefield to harnessing the power of green energy marketing and AI. But the overarching theme is this: adapt or be left behind.

Embrace a skills-based approach, prioritize adaptability and lifelong learning, and welcome the flexibility revolution. In this new era, talent with the right skills and the willingness to evolve will thrive.

So, buckle up, marketers and creatives. 2024 is your year to unleash your creativity, champion sustainability, and ride the wave of innovation. Remember, the future belongs to those who dare to learn, adapt, and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

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