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Your 2024 Marketing Leader's Guide

Explore the trends impacting marketing leaders in 2024 and start planning for a more successful year.

Introduction

2024 will have its challenges for marketers. Don't they all these days?!

Many budgets are flat or reduced, all while marketers are having to rapidly get to grips with generative artificial intelligence and be more-client centric in their operations and outputs.

This Marketing Leader's Guide is a good place to start in meeting the challenges of 2024, and uncovering the opportunities to innovate along the way. It covers some of the key trends impacting marketers, offers practical steps to leverage these, and provides a handful of helpful tools to aid your strategy planning and budgeting. 

Image by Wesson Wang
Trends

Trend #1: Storytelling levels up

Storytelling is the strategic use of narratives to connect emotionally with a brand’s audience – conveying key messages, values, and offerings in a memorable way.

 

The practice has been around forever, accelerated with the digital revolution, and in 2024 will again be front and centre.

 

Rather than bombarding audiences with product features and benefits, Storytelling involves crafting a compelling and engaging story that resonates emotionally with your target audience - connecting on a deeper level and cutting through the noise to establish a brand's unique identity.

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Here are 4 practical ways to level up your Storytelling strategy in 2024.

 

Tell your story

 

Be clear on the story you want to tell by being clear on your audience. Then ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • What matters to our clients?

  • Where are we the expert?

  • Where does our opinion count?

 

Listen up! Audio is key

 

There are many, many ways to bring your story to life across your marketing channels. One area that will become increasingly important in 2024 is audio. Check out AI voiceover generators Listen2it and WebsiteVoice.

Short form video

 

Marketers doubled down on short-form video in 2023 and the tide shows no sign of turning. After all, our brains are all overloaded and the quicker and easier you can convey information, the better.

 

So, whether you are a consumer brand using TikTok, or a B2B exploring new ways to use video, short form is the way to go.

Excite your audience

For your top tier content, invest in creating really beautiful stories. Use what you have – images, archival film, charts, audio clips, infographics quotes. CNN demonstrates this wonderfully here.

> Read more: Storytelling Levels Up  (3 minute read)

Mindfulness
AI

Trend #2: Practical AI adoption

AI is the biggest thing to hit marketing since the internet. But where to start with getting a handle on the opportunities and uses for this transformative technology?

Understand the landscape

Work towards being the AI expert in your team by seeking out courses and articles to help you better understand – and articulate – the opportunities.

A good place to start is to understand where other marketers are already leveraging this technology.

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Chart sources: NP Digital and Salesforce

Get found

AI is changing how we find information.

 

To ensure AI search finds your content, follow the usual principles of being an online authority in your chosen field. Invest in building your reputation and expertise through media mentions and secure backlinks to your content from reputable websites.

 

Also ensure you are on AI’s training sites – i.e., where AI builds its knowledge bank – e.g. YouTube subtitles, Wikipedia and Academic papers.

Closer to clients

 

As well as the client testimonials and metrics you have at your fingertips to understand your audience, use Chat GPT to build a deeper knowledge of what makes them tick.

Experiment

 

The best way to start, is to start with your next task.

 

Have a look at what is out there - from image editing (PhotoRoom, Picsart) to video editing (descript, invideo) and marketing and sales copy (copy.ai, anyword).

 

You can also explore the growing catalogue of ChatGPT plugins.

> Read more: Practical AI Adoption  (2 minute read)

Laughing Friends
B2B

Trend #3: B2B gets more human

In all the discussion and frenzied action around AI, algorithms, and more metrics, are marketers losing something vital from their campaigns and strategies? Something altogether more human.

Demand for virtual events is declining, personalisation is increasingly important and ‘Storytelling’ strategies are experiencing a resurgence. Our rational minds are overloaded, and we are seeking real connection from the brands that clog up our inbox and online brains. We are only human after all - yes, even your clients(!)

 

Focusing on the emotions of your audience (instead of logic) will help you increase conversions by 13%.   

 

Who does it well?

Dropbox Business focuses on the collaborative and transformative aspects of its platform, highlighting how it enables teams to work seamlessly together, fostering a sense of unity and accomplishment.

 

Slack’s marketing often emphasizes the relief and efficiency their platform brings to workplace communication, leveraging emotional appeal by showcasing simplified, productive interactions.

 

Zendesk’s marketing centres around customer relationships and the emotional impact of providing excellent customer service. They highlight how their platform helps businesses build stronger connections with their customers.

 

How can my B2B organisation ‘get more human’?

Connect

 

Like with all good business strategies, humanising your brand starts with having a clear idea of who you are as a business, what you are aiming for, and a clear picture of the clients and customers you want to reach. Get into the mindset of your client, and really empathise with the challenges you solve for them.

Offer choice

 

Give clients choices in how they interact with your brand. A simple way to do this is to offer more than one call to action (CTA) and various ways to engage throughout the buying journey.

Influencer strategy

 

Leveraging industry experts and thought leaders as influencers is becoming much more established as businesses try to assert their authority and brand. The key for any organisation, in any market, is to find the right influencer and deliver the right content with and for them.

 

Learn more about B2B influencing strategies in this Pink Mingo blog, ‘Circles of influence’.

Engage

Being human isn't about getting your CEO to join TikTok or making your client newsletter more 'informal'. Consider the client experience across your events and online and offline content. Ensure your content tells a story and when it can, wows.

> Read more: B2B Gets Human  (3 minute read)

Person Analyzing Statistics
Budgets

Trend #4: Budgets get creative

 

We are still operating in the context of higher interest rates, and growth has significantly slowed, but the good news is that economists are much more optimistic than they were and there is consensus that we will not enter a recession. How can marketers gain the edge in this economic climate?

The fight for marketing funds is real and many of us may feel that to get anywhere, more than ever we are ‘marketing to finance’. 

Build enduring relationships with finance

Ensure your key performance indicators (KPIs) are common sense and stand up to scrutiny. For example, do website clicks or followers really matter? If so, how? How do they contribute to revenue or increased awareness in your target clients? 

Fewer B2B brands have marketers on their boards, and so the value of marketing to drive the financial objectives of an organisation is not always well understood.

The B2B Institute recognised this issue and pulled together an invaluable resource for marketers, entitled Marketing to the CFO, which I’d highly recommend. One of the B2B Institute’s helpful tools to ‘speak finance’, is the value framework below.

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Set aside budget to experiment and wow

If incremental budget cuts are as familiar to you as spiced pumpkin latte season and the annual Christmas party, try approaching this year differently. Rather than trying to deliver a trimmed down version of what you did last year, set marketing dollars aside to experiment and wow. 

You are more likely to get an increased budget next year if you keep pushing the boundaries and innovating. So pick one thing to pilot this year that will grab attention and have a disproportionate impact on the bottom line.

Reuse expensive content

Content is time consuming and costly to create. Be sure to really sweat the content you produce.

Commit to repurposing white papers, providing 30-second video summaries to subscribers and turning reports into 10-point blogs or lunchtime learning webinars. You should also consider extending your campaign timeframes to give clients more opportunities to interact with your content.

Consider how much budget you really need

Part of building a relationship with finance is to think long-term. Consider your 2025 credibility and only pitch for what you need. If the market offers little opportunity to increase sales, your marketing budget should reflect this.

 

Make it clear you are reducing budget (or accepting a cut) because you believe the market opportunity is only so big.

You should also leverage cuts in conversations with the business around changing how things are done and pushing for innovation, after all, you can’t do what was done last year, so take the opportunity to do things differently.

> Read more: Budgets Get Creative  (3 minute read)

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Strategy planning tools

Strategy and Planning tools

 

So in summary, 2024 will demand savvy marketing leaders engage through storytelling built on a blended stack of technology and tech-enabled, deeper human-connection, on leaner budgets than ever before.

The below resources are designed to support you in building a strong strategy in this context, and to keep you on track throughout what will be a challenging year.

The Rule of 3

 

Fast-forward to this time next year. If you only achieved 3 things, which three things would make the difference? This two-page worksheet helps you identify the target clients, and business and marketing goals, that will help you keep focused and drive change. (Download below).

Strategy on a page

Get super clear on your strategy and distil the key elements for your team and stakeholders. (Download below).

Client first

Understand more about your key clients and improve the overall client experience with the resources in this blog

90-day planning

Stay organised and keep on-track with this beautifully simple template, adapted from various sources over the years. You'll find it really useful to hone in on the steps you need to make each quarter to get where you want to be. (Download below).

Subscribe to access downloads and templates...

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