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Burger King, Lego, Adidas and Snap marketers give their 2023 predictions

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By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

January 27, 2023 | 10 min read

For The Drum's Predictions Deep Dive, we asked The Drum Awards for Marketing’s world-class jury about the predictions they see for the marketing space in 2023.

MA judges preds 2023

Marketing Awards jury reveal their predictions for 2023

In 2023, should marketers be pursuing the possibilities of generative artificial intelligence (AI)? Or get to grasp with localized personalization to really make customers feel part of the brand? Could it be that staying on course with purpose-driven marketing efforts will see a payout once we push through the economic pressures.?

We asked marketing experts to share their forecasts for the next 12 months.

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Katie Evans, chief marketing officer, Burger King UK

Many brands will double down on performance marketing activity, focused on stabilizing short-term sales. The brands that can balance this focus alongside investment in brand equity, through creatively brave and engaging campaigns, have a better chance of cutting through the noise.

I also expect to see more mood-boosting, entertaining brand creative. Consumers will need a lift against a rather gloomy economic and political backdrop and brands have an opportunity to create memorable campaigns tapping into everyday human moments and cultural events.

Harish Bhat, brand custodian, Tata Group

The world is coming out of a pandemic, and post-pandemic consumer behavior would have a strong bearing on marketing everywhere. Other key trends that are on top of my mind include the impact of digital, and in particular how artificial intelligence and related areas will shape the future of marketing.

Sustainability and doing the right thing for our planet and our communities are becoming key to building purposeful brands, and this is also likely to have a huge influence on marketers as they consider what initiatives they should undertake. In a world that is witnessing so many conflicts and fault lines, the ability of marketing to champion the human spirit, evangelize resilience, and espouse hope is such an important driver.

Ivonne Kinser, vice president of marketing and innovation Avocados From Mexico

As I ponder the possibilities and my hopes for the future of marketing, I envision a transformative decade in which generative AI is used in a truly disruptive manner, taking the field to new heights. The power of AI is on the brink of revealing its most transformative potential yet in marketing, as it leverages our collective intelligence to train the machine, propelling us forward as an industry in ways we never thought possible.

I anticipate that the most ground-breaking, noteworthy, and celebrated campaigns this year will be those that fearlessly incorporate a diverse range of channels, from social media to retail ecosystems and everything in between, into their omnichannel brand activations while effectively harnessing the power of data and AI.

Daniel Matson, head of marketing and communications, Envision Racing

This year is going to be an interesting one. The cost of living will bite harder for everyone and customer trust is probably at an all-time low. Sustainability is going to be incredibly important. Brands will need to look at CSR being more than an afterthought. Through sustainability and societal impacts, brands should be looking to use their unique power of inspiration to create a better future for all. There's going to be more pressure on brands this year to really stand up, but some are still trailing and need to catch up.

Personalization and localization will be important too. Although personalization has been a trend for many years now, brands can reach new audiences through the creation of hyper-localized campaigns. By getting in touch with real people at a local level and connecting with them through understanding their passions, interests and nuances that exist within different markets.

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Nicole Taylor, senior vice president and head of Lego agency, Lego System A/S

A growing trend is that of unexpected partnerships. We’ve seen more and more interesting combinations of brands collaborating recently allowing them to not only reach new audiences but to innovate out of their comfort zones and ultimately create new brand experiences and perceptions. It’s these unlikely combinations that can drive interest from a savvier group of consumers who have “seen it all” and are more particular about what is novel or cool.

I feel like the metaverse, where the digital and physical worlds are colliding and where the usually fiercely competitive rules don’t seem to necessarily apply, is part of this shift as it represents a new frontier with more of an open and experimental mindset.

Andrew Hill, head of marketing strategy, M&S Food

I think we can’t get away from the cost-of-living challenges that consumers across all sectors and all markets have faced in the last year. That combination of rising fixed costs, coupled with a lack of consumer optimism and nervousness about the future, has been a key driver of how customers feel.

Smart brands will have found ways of engaging with their customers and demonstrating the value that their products and services have for them. And at M&S Food, we’ve found that by focusing on the inherent value in our proposition we’ve been able to keep on engaging customers with the brand.

And of course, for advertisers themselves, those same economic pressures have applied to media costs as well – so I’m sure that will show in this year’s entries.

Chris Byrne, president, of marketing strategy and brand, UPS

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an uptick in more purpose-driven marketing. However, today’s uncertain economic environment has many brands balancing tightening budgets with the need to drive growth. My prediction is that brands that stay the course with their purpose-driven marketing efforts will see dividends paid once we weather today’s economic storm. Purpose and profitability don’t need to be at odds with one another – in fact, when executed together, they can create an even bigger impact.

At UPS, we call this “doing good while moving goods.” In this year’s competition, I’d like to see brands continuing to lean into purpose marketing in strategic ways that resonate with key audiences and drive profitable growth. These brands will need to display how they’re creatively linking their business goals to the betterment of their customers and the communities they serve.

Stuart Wells, vice president, marketing and content, Adidas Sport Apps

MarTech will continue to flourish this year. And so, it should, especially when in a regional role, which is complex by nature – with differing cultures, languages, market maturity and consumer behaviors. We’re seeing a lot of excitement around the possibilities of tools such as ChatGPT plus some of the AI tools that make bad art and deepfake voiceovers (deepfake Morgan Freeman, anyone?!) Ultimately these tools still miss the soul of being human, so thankfully we can rest assured that human ideas still win.

Creatively, I hope we will see more work that brings a light touch of realism to consumers’ high-pressure lives – that classic mix of informed audience insight wedded to a creative leap that sparks emotions and intelligently shifts culture forward.

Doug Frisbie, vice president, global business marketing, Snap

The obvious answer is always new technologies. 2022 was supposed to be the year of the Metaverse, and generative AI captured our attention heading into 2023. However, something even more fundamental will significantly influence marketing this year: the power of real relationships. Studies show that solid friendships are among the best antidotes for depression and anxiety.

After three pandemic years, people are more eager than ever to invest in those relationships. That offers an opportunity for brands, as we know that recommendations from people we know, and trust directly, influence how we spend our time and money. Brands that capitalize on that influence successfully through their marketing strategies stand to win new customers and market share.

Don’t forget that The Drum Awards for Marketing Americas, APAC and EMEA are open for entry. Enter now before the March 23 deadline.

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