The marketing landscape continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace. To stay relevant and competitive, we must evolve with it.
But what is to come in 2024? And how can you keep ahead of the curve?
To answer these questions and provide you with insights into marketing’s shifting tides and emerging trends, we tapped into the wisdom of our expert team members. These leaders stay at the forefront of their fields to ensure Montage continues to deliver best-in-class solutions across our suite of capabilities. In this article, you will hear from the people who head up our Data and Analytics, Marketing Communications, Operations, Government Services, Translation, and Outreach and Engagement practices. From small businesses utilizing big data to create efficiencies and improve customer relationships to balancing the rise of artificial intelligence with the need for authentic human connection, these are their observations, analyses, and predictions for marketing in 2024.
Data and Analytics
Contributed by Matt Kreider, Director, Data and Analytics
Human behavior is a science, and like any science, studying it requires data and testing of hypotheses. With enough data and information, recognizable patterns in behavior begin to emerge. For marketers, these patterns can help us determine the marketing method most likely to produce a desired outcome.
Succeeding at this, however, requires a wealth of data and analytics at a scale so large it cannot be managed or monitored by humans alone. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP) have changed the game by enabling firms to quickly identify and respond to shifts in human behaviors. Helping to facilitate the use of these technologies are cloud infrastructure providers such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) as well as data marketplaces and exchanges like Snowflake Data Marketplace and AWS Data Exchange. Relying on AI, these tools bring data and functionality that would otherwise take an insurmountable amount of time and money to develop in-house and provide it for even the smallest businesses.
Customer relationships remain the bedrock of a business and the normalization of advanced analytics will help businesses better maintain these relationships in the coming years.
Contributed by Julia Hornaday, Director, Marketing Communications and Helen Ding, Marketing Analyst
AI dominated the marketing communications conversation in 2023. At times, it felt like an existential threat to our training, talents, and livelihoods. At others, it felt like a revolutionary way to make our jobs easier. Like any new tool, we can fear it and dismiss it or embrace it and use it to our advantage.
2024 will see smart marketers across all disciplines figure out how to make AI work for them without losing the humanness and authenticity that we pride ourselves on and customers’ demand. Those committed to audience-centered solutions will capitalize on AI’s ability to deliver personalization at scale, uncover consumer insights, track campaign performance, and automate routine tasks to free up time for more creative thinking. We must also remember that AI isn’t reserved for mind-bending content generation, it’s also delivers real commercial value in reducing the time and resources required for precision activities like asset tagging and proofreading.
If they haven’t already, companies—and especially agencies—should plan on setting policies around AI use. Policies need to spell out for all employees where AI is appropriate, efficient, and innovative; what checks must be in place to retain work integrity, quality control, and confidentiality; and where AI is off limits. Giving employees clarity and encouraging their progression with AI tools will no doubt pay dividends and provide strategic advantages in years to come.
Contributed by Hunter MacPherson, Operations Manager
Digital fatigue increased more than 100% during the pandemic, according to Harvard Business Review. To counter it and skirt around the digital clutter, companies are opening new face-to-face channels.
As an agency with roots in experiential marketing, we’re always on the lookout for new and novel ways to immerse audiences in events and face-to-face experiences. That’s why our Operations team recently attended one of the largest audiovisual (AV) conventions in the country, Live Design International (LDI).
While at LDI, we learned from industry-leading AV programmers and directors. We also discovered tons of new technologies coming to the market, including holographic presentations, live programmable kinetic design panels, miniature ellipsoidal lights, new mixing and recording consoles, improved spotlight cannons, immense truss structures, and some of the best-looking HD screens around. We expect to see many of those innovations emerge and amaze audiences in 2024.
It’s clear that there’s no slowdown in the world of AV, and we’re excited to incorporate some of the technologies we experienced into Montage’s arsenal of tools and talents.
Contributed by Bob Derby, Vice President, Government Services
The federal government is currently very invested in the workforce of the future and addressing evolving trends in human capital (diversity, talent acquisition, remote work, learning and development, succession planning), technology (AI, ML, cybersecurity, digital transformation, data management), and organizational change (operations, processes, policies, regulations, mission) to enhance service delivery, streamline operations, and improve citizen engagement.
We are experiencing demand among targeted federal opportunities for converging and providing communications and web and digital services as a holistic solution. While integrated communications is not a new concept, the real common thread here is people. We’re seeing the importance of authenticity as the foundation of meaningful human connections, extending from the first touch to the last; from provider to client, client to audience, audience to action, and capturing knowledge along the way for continuous improvement. Intended outcomes include shifting behaviors and driving action, internally and externally, with approaches using all tools to enhance the stakeholder experience.
On a related note, we’re keeping our eye on 2024 legislation relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) initiatives. DEIA has been a critical priority among our clients over the past five years, especially concerning human capital and organizational change. Attacks on affirmative action and proposals to repeal Executive Orders that prioritize DEIA efforts could harm important progress to date and what the federal workforce has expressed that they want to see.
Translation and Transcreation
Contributed by Rodolfo Gil, Lead Translator and Content Creator
Over the past year, we’ve seen important developments in the language industry, especially surrounding AI. Some people have drawn parallels between industry and client responses to the emergence of tools like ChatGPT and the phases of culture shock—The Honeymoon, The Rejection, and The Recovery—with many experiencing these phases in loops.
We can all agree that AI language models like ChatGPT present cost-effective language solutions, for which there is a growing demand in commercial spaces. But at the same time, we’re seeing a notable increase in the need for highly specialized linguists in legal, technical, and medical fields within highly regulated industries.
While the adoption and appeal of AI tools may have been running in loops, it’s clear we’re now moving past the Honeymoon phase. Clients seem to be significantly more aware of the challenges AI poses, particularly for information security, the perpetuation of biases and discrimination, and the potential for costly mistakes. In 2024, I suspect AI may reduce the demand for general language services and result in role shifts. But where accuracy, authenticity, and cultural relevance matter, we’ll see plenty of viable business opportunities for highly specialized Language Service Providers (LSPs). Stay tuned…
Outreach and Engagement
Contributed by Yuru Fuenmayor, Senior Program Manager; Larissa Gilmer, Engagement Counselor; and Karen Buenrostro, Engagement Counselor
For organizations to conduct successful outreach and engagement, two initial activities are key and always will be. The first is to conduct market research to assess the opportunities, understand your audience, and strategize your actions. The second is to set the purpose and goals of the project so you can work towards that direction, track results, and adjust your work plan as needed.
Yet, outreach and engagement practices are quickly evolving to target more specific audiences and reach them effectively. This includes utilizing a diverse, highly tailored mix of media and marketing tactics that appeal not only to their demographic profile, but also their interests like wellness topics, advocacy, or community work; awareness levels; language preferences; and more. Digital efforts—like paid social media campaigns utilizing Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor; ad campaigns on popular apps such as Spotify; search engine marketing; and using dynamic content to personalize communications—integrated alongside more traditional methods like direct mail and earned media can be particularly fruitful in establishing the critical impressions and surround-sound effect to stimulate awareness and open the door for further engagement.
However, organizations should not forget about the basics. A good cold call to start a conversation still takes you far. And high levels of service and communication to follow is unbeatable.
Merging these approaches in outreach and prioritizing two-way communication and relationship building as part of ongoing engagement will lead to partnerships that stay fresh and fruitful throughout 2024 and beyond.
What are your predictions for marketing in 2024? Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.