With the end of the year upon us, marketers, c-level executives, and decision-makers alike are dialing in on those annual opportunistic ‘what’s next’ discussions to ensure they position their brand for success in 2023 (and beyond).  Here are some of the top trends that will have an impact on future marketing:

The Economy— Though many consumers are still spending (largely thanks to increased savings during the pandemic), overall feelings toward the economy reached an all-time low in June 2022.  Experts and non-experts alike are unclear as to where the economy is headed but consumer surveys show them being nervous about the economy in 2023.  Much consumer spending has been shifting toward experiences—like travel and concerts—and away from goods.  This shift is likely tied to the fact that prices of goods have been increasing faster than those of services.  Brands seeking ways to ensure they are “Adapting to the changing economy” are looking for organic ways to win. Those positioned to get out in front have invested in technology, tools, and infrastructure needed to fight the good fight:

  • Collecting 1st party data that allows them to communicate and engage directly with consumers via email, text, and personalized experiences.
  • Affinity relationships that expand a brand’s reach and enhance its sense of community.
  • Development of Referral and Loyalty programs that leverage brand advocates to maintain market presence.
  • Comprehensive attribution tracking to continuously optimize ROAS and preserve baseline spend on top-of-funnel prospecting.
  • Dynamic, self-serve, sales enablement assets.
  • Product/Service extensions that remain relevant despite pull-back in consumer spending.

AI-Based Automation—Big data, supported by AI and predictive analytics, is helping brands to learn more about their audience and customers. It’s enabling hyper-personalization of customer experiences and marketing messages at scale.  However, while technologies such as AI and data-driven marketing continue to grow, the overarching focus will be on people, not technology.  Today, there’s a desire to make marketing more human again.  So, you have to offer consumers something more than information. 73% say that customer experience is an important factor in their buying decisions, but currently only 49% of US consumers say that today’s companies provide a good experience.

Gen Z Will Dominate— The first millennials are now approaching their 40th birthday. While this age group still makes up a significant proportion of the audience of many marketers, by 2030 this consumer group is expected to drop to just under 37% of the population as Generation Z starts to come of age.  Generation Z consists of people who were born from 1995 to 2010. These young people have grown up in a digital world and have very different viewpoints than generations that came before them. They’re also more diverse than any other generation in history.  A more diverse audience can make content marketing challenging, but it also opens up more opportunities to reach different segments of that audience through personalization.  Marketers focused on Millennials might find it’s time to take a step back and come up with some new ideas for reaching the workforce and decision-makers of tomorrow.

Story-Driven Content Visualization—With the explosion of smart speakers and voice search in recent years, you’d be forgiven for thinking that “readable” content is more important than visuals and design these days.  In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Research has shown that people prefer visual content to plain text. You just must look at the growth of image-focused platforms Pinterest and Instagram to see the proof of this.

Growth of Influencer Marketing—There’s been a movement in recent years from Mega to Micro influencer relationships based on niche influencers’ ability to drive action and engagement versus simply having the largest following. Marketers have also explored different working relationships – tying compensation to the volume of content, the longevity of posts remaining live, issuance of personalized discount/coupon codes, and even the creation of co-branded (influencer-brand) marketplaces. The success of influencers for building brands (17% of brands put over half of their marketing budgets into influencer marketing) should only continue to grow.

Need For More Crisis Control—No one wants to be on the other end of a viral video gone wrong…common lately. Despite playing out all possible scenarios (good and bad), no one can predict the future, but you can be prepared. Besides having a well-thought-out Crisis Plan, the key is to remember that “crisis” can be defined as different things for different businesses or brands. And, in some instances, it’s just as important to define what a brand does or doesn’t take a stance on – or share its opinions for – to avoid getting pulled into a crisis inadvertently. Creating a clear point of view as to participation in social, political, economic, etc. discussions… or whether to address current events and public figure commentary can be an effective strategy for keeping your brand out of the crosshairs.

While marketing trends come and go, the basics of success remain the same: understand the needs of your audience and communicate with them clearly and consistently.