As 2024 approaches, marketers are planning for how to tackle next year’s goals. Whether you’re a marketing expert already, or just beginning your journey to SEO enlightenment, here are a few trends and tactics brands should consider to set themselves up for success.
#1–Connect your company values with your customers’
Customers today are rightfully quite demanding. Long gone are the days when having the best product or service on the market was sufficient. Today, brands must prove they understand–and crucially, care about, socio economic issues that their customers are faced with. According to Semrush data, between December 2020 and December 2022 there was a 133% increase in search volume for “brands with social purpose.” And according to IBM, 44% of all shoppers are now purpose-driven consumers.
Brands can no longer “say the right thing,” but also must do the right thing. It’s simply not enough to take a position or make a public statement. Companies need to follow through with concrete actions like policy changes, public communication on social issues, and more. Consumers demand action from brands on issues like climate change, gender equality, and human rights.
Some of my favorite examples include McDonald’s’ “Black and Positively Golden” campaign, Ben and Jerry’s long standing list of “Issues We Care About”, Starbucks’ “Fuel Our Democracy” Campaign, Patagonia ceding control to establish a $3 billion trust, and Nestle’s Nespresso advertising their “carbon-neutral cup of coffee.”
#2–Don’t fear the rise of AI, embrace it
As marketers, we’re inquisitive by nature, and typically amongst the first adopters of new technology, so make sure you start experimenting with (and integrating) the latest Generative AI tools at our disposal. Learn how to master ChatGPT, and tools like Content Shake AI, to create a first draft of copy, or answer difficult questions with some simple prompts. I’d caution you to not rely on everything that’s produced though–make sure to ‘human review’ it, and then optimize it for SEO.
AI can be a marketer’s (or business owner’s) best friend if you’re running low on time. You can use it to create short videos, create social media posts, and also reply to customer reviews, which all help with customer retention and satisfaction. If the thought of new technology scares you, try starting small and giving the AI Social Content Generator a go. It will deliver really high quality posts in seconds, so you can spend more time winning new business and keeping your customers happy.
#3–Get your hands out of the cookie jar
Consumers rule and privacy wins—it’s decided. Say goodbye to the time when third-party cookies made remarketing a breeze. We’ve known about this important shift for some time. But still, as of January 2023, 83% of marketers still rely on third-party cookies. Are you one of those marketers, still?
The only way to get your hand out of the cookie jar is to embrace the idea of first-party data. And the good news is, you have so many means and channels to go out and capture that data, in a privacy-friendly way to meet your customer’s expectations.
Not sure where to start? It’s imperative to create the infrastructure to capture first-party data, while providing the value consumers want in exchange. Use powerful online visibility software (Spoiler: Semrush does this ;) ) and find the right APIs to gather customer behavior and digital marketing data from users who visit your site and interact with your brand.
Relying on trends and market audience tools will be a long-term solution to combat the loss of greater data. From there, you can make educated decisions based on the broad market findings—age, market traffic, average income, and more.
#4–Let your customers do the talking
Did you know that 90% of buyers who read positive customer reviews said it influenced their purchasing decisions? Finding and connecting with your customers directly and telling their stories is an excellent way to boost revenue.
Anyone can write copy about a brand and put it out into the market, hoping it sticks into the minds of customers. But what if you could tell your story from your customer’s perspective? What if that customer could talk about how your brand has changed his/her/their life? When your brand story is intertwined with your customer’s story, that’s when the magic– most authentic storytelling– happens. It does not get more authentic than having your own customers tell your story in the market.
Dove did an excellent job of this in their #DetoxYourFeed campaign, which launched in April 2022. The company redefined the standards of beauty by “detoxifying” long-running industry trends that people need to “look a certain way.” Dove created free, educational programming to help young people feel confident in how they look, and address the discourse of toxic beauty around the world. Dove’s customers reshared the campaign countless times, and wrote about their own experiences with self-esteem and individual perceptions of beauty.
In summary, don’t take your foot off the gas. Now is the time to consider weighing in on societal and political issues— you might be judged if you don’t, or you might lose that on-the-fence customer whose heart happens to follow a more purpose-driven brand. Optimize your workflow with AI tools to manage your brand strategy, content, and teams more efficiently. Focus on first-party data and get your hand out of that third-party cookie jar! Share your authentic customer stories to differentiate yourself and highlight humanity in all you do. If you fail to consider these tactics in 2024, you’ll start to fall behind.
And of course, stay tuned to the market and prepare for changes in 2024. As marketers know–and love to say–change is our only constant. So let’s go!