The world is rapidly recovering from the after-effects of the pandemic, with the global economy expanding 5.6% in 2021, 3.1% in 2022, and 2.1% in 2023, reports The World Bank. Customers are bound to be more optimistic and cheerful about their financial prospects now, meaning they are likely to be willing to loosen the purse strings and spend more money on products and services. As such, this year could be especially lucrative for your business – provided you play your marketing cards effectively. Good marketing is a major draw – but bad marketing is a major turn-off.
What is good marketing, exactly? Marketing is an ever-changing practice. As customers and market conditions change, so must marketers. Good marketing, in this sense, is having a message that appeals to customers and is aligned with their mindset and expectations. Cater to them and you will them over.
Paying attention to marketing trends can help you engage with customers and win their trust. Trends are indicative of what marketing strategies are having the most impact on consumers. By integrating some or all of these trends into your digital marketing initiatives, you can make a bigger splash and attract major footfall.
Here, StratDev looks at the 5 of the biggest, most powerful digital marketing trends of 2024:
1. More authentic storytelling, less clickbait
Marketing, so far, has always been about standing out from the competition by emphasizing what makes your products and services superior to the rest. Customers, however, are growing weary of the same-old marketing talk that promises the moon (and rarely delivers). They don’t want to know why you believe your product or service is better – they want to see and experience it for themselves, and then form their own opinion about your brand based on their findings.
This is where storytelling comes in. Storytelling is sharing your brand’s factual experiences about your dealings with customers and clients. It shows customers how you’re solving their problems, with real-world examples of why your product or service is exceptional. Reviews and testimonials do this already – but storytelling is taking it a step further. You actively focus on being real and down-to-earth with customers and show them that what they see is what they get.
You can use social media like Instagram as a storytelling aid. Pictures are worth a thousand words, they say, and beautiful pictures make beautiful stories. It will make your business more relatable and approachable and boosts your visibility. Also, keep in mind that you can partner with influencers to access a ready-made user base of customers. If you’re sharing images on Instagram, you will need to meet the platform’s upload-size requirements. You can use an image resizer for this purpose. These tools let you resize image for Instagram while preserving their quality and attractiveness. Simply upload your image, choose an image type to resize your photo, and then download it for use.
2. Allaying customers' fears with privacy and trust-building measures
Too many companies have been caught misusing customer data. A prime example of misuse is mining customer data without consent and sharing it with third parties for monetary gains. Another example is commingling – which is collecting data for a stated purpose but using it for another. The list of companies who did this is endless and includes the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Customers are, understandably, unhappy about having their privacy breached and information shared without their consent. It’s made them distrustful and leery of sharing their data with companies. A simple information request, if they deem it invasive, is enough to make them stop doing business with a brand in 2024.
Companies aren’t unaware of customers’ privacy concerns – and they’re stepping their game up this year with more stringent privacy policies and extra-transparent practices. The goal is to build trust through transparency. For example, many companies are giving customers full control over how their data is used – like Facebook. Also, third-party cookies that track customer activity without their consent are being taken down.
Note that privacy and data protection laws are becoming more stringent. Furthermore, Google has banned third-party cookies in 2023. As such, to remain compliant, you should look into first-party cookies – data you collect directly from customers by yourself. Also, research what information is acceptable to request from customers and what isn’t. Gender, interests, and purchase history is okay, for example. Racial origin, on the other hand, isn’t. Focus on offering something of value for the information collected – such as a special discount or more personalized offerings.
3. Augmented reality and virtual meetups for safety and convenience
When Covid-19 was in full swing in 2020, many businesses shut their brick-and-mortar shops and operated almost fully virtually. They used augmented reality (AR) to allow customers to experience their various offerings from the comfort of their homes. Furthermore, virtual meetups and events became commonplace, with companies hosting customers online and sharing their products and services through video, augmented-reality tours, and similar.
In 2024, the AR and virtual event movement is only gathering steam. Life may be getting back to normal, but people still want to experience products and services virtually and attend virtual events. For some, it’s the safer option. For others, it’s more convenient and less stressful. In response, companies are integrating AR features into their apps and hosting live, virtual, as well as “hybrid” events.
If you’re hosting an introductory marketing event or demonstration this year, consider making arrangements for visitors who want to attend virtually. Some ways to do so are by setting up a video feed and appointing a virtual show host. Also, you may want to look into integrating an AR feature into your app or website. It can be expensive but could be a worthwhile investment when you sell products. It allows customers to try them out online.
4. Extra personalization options
You’re likely already aware of the personalization trend – it’s where customers tailor their offerings for individual tastes and preferences. In 2024, we’re witnessing an evolution and expansion of this phenomenon. Companies are taking their personalization endeavors one step further by using new technology and best practices. The goal is to offer an even better, more personalized experience to customers.
What are the new things they’re doing? 1-1 experiences, image recognition, AI-driven suggestions, enhanced customer journeys, better customer care, customer loyalty rewards, omnichannel experience, short explanatory videos, interactivity, and much more. There’s an emphasis on being smartphone-friendly, seeing as more customers now shop or do business through their small-screen devices. You may have encountered these trends yourself. For example, Google Chrome now offers article suggestions that it thinks you might find interesting based on your previous browsing habits.
What should you be doing? We recommend prioritizing personalization in every way you can – customers expect it, now. You’ll need to gather customer data, create personas, and model your content accordingly. You should test out the customer journey yourself (or using volunteers), identify strengths and weaknesses, and keep refining it. It’s always a good idea to check what your competitors (and top brands) are doing and take a page out of their book.
5. Real-time “conversational” marketing
People lead fast-paced, busy lives these days. They don’t have time to waste. If they find a product or service that they’d like to explore further, they want to talk to a company rep about it right now – not tomorrow and not next week. If they can’t talk to someone, most will likely move on and approach a competitor. Essentially, if businesses want to engage with modern-day customers, they have to do it at the customer’s convenience.
Conversational marketing is one of the ways brands are engaging customers in real-time in 2024. It’s all about using live chats, messaging apps, and chatbots to engage customers 1-1, answer their questions, and promote and sell a product or service. Multiple channels are used in conversational marketing – including phone and email. Text-based chat might be the most convenient option – it’s instant and allows customers to interact with you while they’re doing something else.
If you do use conversational marketing, keep in mind that customers prefer the human touch. They want to talk to a person as opposed to a chatbot that leads them in circles. Some customers hate chatbots outright. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use chatbots – use them sparingly while giving customers the option to talk to a human. For example, you can use chatbots to answer common questions and then allow customers to talk to a live agent if their question remains unanswered, like what the big brands do.
2024 promises to be a great year all around. We’re finally ready to rebuild and move on with our lives. You can tap into all the positivity and goodwill with targeted marketing campaigns. Focus on catering to your consumers and appealing to their values, and you’ll have an endless stream of leads pouring in. If you need help, you can always partner with StratDev’s experienced team. We like to make reaching your marketing goals a breeze.