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The Marketer of 2024

What skills and tools do marketers need to stand out in 2024? We surveyed 300+ marketers to find out. Learn how industry professionals are improving and adjusting their campaigns to thrive in 2024.

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REPORTThe Marketer of 2024

It was the year of Barbie, the Era(s) of Taylor Swift, and the Renaissance of Beyonce. The period that saw Twitter transform to X. 2023 was a lot of things, but you sure can’t call it boring.

In this report, we’ll show you how over 300 marketers from across industries are adjusting their campaigns to thrive in 2024 based on what they learned in 2023.

Let’s start by looking at where we currently stand.

What we learned from 2023

For marketers, the stakes continued to get higher as the landscape continued to get saturated. For every brand, it feels like 10,000 competitors are popping up every day. This can push smaller teams to prioritize quantity over quality.

That’s why 58% of marketers surveyed cited content saturation and quality as a main challenge in 2023, followed by measuring ROI and attribution (56%). Marketers felt the pressure not only to create lots of content but also to ensure it works as intended with data analysis tools. 

On a broader level, every company is facing the possibility of a recession. So, it’s no real surprise that 51% of marketers reported being worried about economic uncertainty and limited budgets. As companies prepared for economic uncertainty, many turned to budget cuts or downsizing teams as a preventative measure, meaning marketers had to do more with fewer resources.

After its initial release in November 2022, ChatGPT matured and became more of a staple in the day-to-day of many marketing teams in 2023. The natural language processing tool driven by AI technology can help lean teams ideate, get started on drafts, and even edit content. 

But as with any new technological advancement, there is a learning curve. That’s likely why 42% of survey participants reported being challenged by adapting to new platform changes; whether that’s new AI features added to current tools or more large-scale changes like updates to search engine algorithms.

Other challenges mentioned included:

  • 40% creating personalized experiences
  • 38% adapting to changing consumer behavior
  • 26% find the balance between AI and human intelligence
  • 25% technology integration
  • 22% hiring and training talent
  • 17% data privacy and compliance

Technology and channels and leads – Oh my!

Modern marketing methods rely heavily on technology. Not only because marketers are meeting people where they are (online) but because, now, solutions exist to help us measure the effectiveness of our campaigns and content.

For marketers in 2023, the most important technology for marketing teams revolved around data, content, and customer research. In fact, 72% of respondents consider analytics tools one of the most important tools in their tech stack currently. It makes sense, then, that when asked what skills are critical for marketing teams and peers, 31% said ROI measurement and optimization.

All things marketing technology will be critical for industry professionals moving forward. There is a huge gap between what people are taught in school when they get a degree in marketing or advertising and the knowledge they need in the field. It’s all about omnichannel marketing and MarTech (marketing technology).
— Brandwatch survey participant

But data isn’t the only priority for marketers. We found that 56% of participants considered social media management tools to be one of the most vital technology investments, closely followed by content creation and content management tools (54%).

Increasingly, people turn to social media and brand content to better understand a company. As such, it’s crucial to have a strong online presence. An International Council of Shopping Centers report found that social media influences purchasing choices for 85% of Gen Z

What’s more? Social media platforms take the top three spots for channels generating quality leads, according to our survey respondents. Linkedin came out on top, with 39% of marketers considering it a leading lead-generation channel, followed closely by Instagram (36%) and Facebook (35%).

The first mention of a non-social channel comes from search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). Being successful with either requires content creation, distribution, and ongoing maintenance.

As digital presence becomes vital for businesses, skills in digital marketing tools, platforms like Google Analytics, and search engine optimization (SEO) are critical for understanding and engaging your target audience.
— Arham Khan, CEO and Cofounder at Pixated

Based on the data above, marketing team investments in 2024 will be all about enabling content creation for both social and the web and streamlining reporting on ROI of these campaigns.

The main goal in 2024? Understanding customers

Without understanding how customers get to your product or service, you can’t understand what engages them or predictably forecast ROI. As a result, your revenue, budget, and team’s overall bandwidth will be stretched thin. Understanding the customer journey allows you to influence it in the right ways, treat it as such.

It’s no wonder, then, that 44% of marketers consider consumer research and social listening tools critical to their marketing efforts. Especially when you factor in that 40% of respondents consider creating personalized experiences a major challenge. When organizations can better speak directly to their target markets, they have a better chance of making a deal.

In 2024, marketing teams will become laser-focused on how people move through the funnel and invest more in technology that supports that endeavor.

What’s standing in the way?

Before we can set off, we need to clear the roadblocks. When asked about obstacles preventing marketing teams from understanding customers and prospects, respondents cited the following:

  • 28% siloed departments
  • 27% rapidly changing consumer behavior
  • 24% data fragmentation

When it comes to siloes, we know information shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Whether it’s the product team sharing insights on new features or colleagues in customer success offering up examples of language our clients use, knowledge is better when shared. For marketers, in particular, understanding the nuances in the customer experience or noting common pain points for prospects can impact everything from campaigns to brand voice.

This shared understanding is particularly important in our current landscape. Things move fast for marketers, and working with a moving target is no small feat. Nearly 30% of respondents claim rapidly changing consumer behavior makes it difficult to understand customers and prospects.

The need for regular information is likely why 24% of marketers claim data fragmentation makes it more difficult to understand customers and potential buyers. Having data distributed across different systems and locations — cloud and on-premises — stops organizations from achieving full visibility and control of the data and from maximizing the potential value of the data.

Data is the backbone of marketing efforts

If Barbie is context, then data is Ken. (Stay with us here!)

Data exists to support context. Without Barbie, Ken is just another piece of plastic. Without context, data is just more noise. We need to draw inferences from the data we are collecting in order for that information to really move the needle.

To understand your customers, you need to feel confident in your data. With the emergence of game-changing technologies like ChatGPT, the most important work still remains a uniquely human task: understanding nuance and applying perspective.

As we move towards a more automated future, the focus for marketers will start to shift away from spreadsheet filing and data maintenance and move towards critical thinking and data analysis.

2023 has been the year of AI. The coming 12 months will be all about exploring and actualising the marketing methodologies that AI tools have made possible. I like to think that human marketers will continue doing the actual thinking, but they'll be able to leverage these AI tools to expand the possibilities of their ideas and apply them across every channel, project, and campaign they're working on.
— Arham Khan, CEO and Cofounder at Pixated

As it stands today, however, 51% of marketers spend between 20% to 50% of their time cleaning up data rather than extracting insights.

It’s no wonder, then, that nearly every technology mentioned as a wish-list item for 2024 centers around data capture, data analysis, or content automation tools. In order to create more impactful programs to delight customers and attract prospects, marketers consider the following tech crucial:

  • 34% consumer and market research tools
  • 32% data analysis tools
  • 32% competitive benchmarking tools
  • 29% content marketing tools
  • 26% social media listening tools

Top 4 focus areas for marketing teams in 2024

We all wish we could do it all, but the fact of the matter is that marketing teams need to be strategic about where they put their resources. In the New Year, marketers across industries will be focused on four broad areas.

1. Content is (still) crucial

Content is the foundation for everything in marketing. Whether it’s a compelling blog post or a trendy social media campaign, marketers know nothing packs a punch without high-quality content front and center.

I think recognising the importance of quality, emotive (and human) content will be a big trend in 2024. Not as a 'backlash' to AI, but in learning that simply using AI tools to churn out high quantities of content is not helping anyone: most importantly, your customers and audience, but also search algorithms, your website UX and beyond.
— Sammy Paget, Content Marketing Manager, BrightLocal

It may be easier than ever to create AI-generated blog posts, but if they’re not creating value for your intended audience, then you may as well be shouting into the void. The year 2024 will be all about building purposeful and actionable content across the board.

2. Data is indispensable

Data has been the main character of every marketing story in the past decade. Why take shots in the dark when you could verify behaviors?

With the age of dark social, data has both become more important and more elusive. Defined as private, untraceable human-to-human communication, dark social can range from a text in your group chat to a family email chain. According to SparkToro data, dark social makes up about 95% of consumer web traffic.

Yet, it remains difficult to track the range of touchpoints before a person purchases your product or services. The slippery nature of this data may explain why many respondents alluded that marketers should be weary of an over-reliance on data. 

“I think it will be crucial that marketers understand the use cases and capabilities of generative AI, that it is *not* something you ask for answers or facts,” explains Sammy Paget, Content Marketing Manager at BrightLocal.

“Far too many experts are highlighting tools such as Bard or ChatGPT as sources for things in a bid to show they are frequent users, without verifying the data for accuracy. Learning the capabilities and how to use it in the way it's intended can help speed up processes and even prompt creativity where it's needed.”

3. Customers hold the power

While data and content are happily sat on the throne, the real power remains in the customer's hands. Marketers should treat customers, prospects and their needs as the north star for everything they create.

“I believe that marketing personnel will need to hone in on the ability to draw insights from data to improve the customer journey and predict how the market is shifting to be on top of new opportunities,” explained one survey respondent. “It will be important to continue developing ways to deliver personalized experiences to consumers.”

In 2024, we will see companies and their marketing teams double down on building stronger relationships with existing customers. This is particularly important when you consider that, depending on your industry, acquiring a new customer can cost 5 to 7 times more than retaining an old one.

4. And AI isn’t going anywhere

If you’re sick of hearing those two little letters, we have some bad news for you. AI will continue to evolve and become a staple in the day-to-day of marketers.

Marketers will need to develop skills to understand how these technological advancements are now an enhancement to the marketing process and not a replacement of sound marketing. Technologies like AI and ChatGPT are new tools in our toolbox that we can use to balance our creative workloads to build better communities that people will want to visit.
— Gathan Borden, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Destinations International

Make 2024 your best year yet

As we make our way to 2024, marketers will need to be more data-driven and consumer-focused than ever before. 

With a saturated competitor landscape, the rapid pace of technological developments, and a constantly changing set of consumer behaviors, the right tools will be the difference between good and great marketing. 

Interested to learn more about how Brandwatch can help? Let’s chat.


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