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Marketing moments to watch in 2024 (according to marketers)

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By Sam Anderson | Network Editor

January 23, 2024 | 11 min read

If 2023 was all about AI, what will come to define the year ahead? We asked leading marketers for their moments to watch in 2024.

A person looking into a large pair of binoculars

What marketing moments will define 2024? / Mostafa Meraji via Unsplash

2023’s ‘The Year Of’ medal goes to AI (with honorable mentions for Barbenheimer and Ariana DeBose). In a year’s time, what will we be saying defined 2024?

The smart money’s probably on ‘AI, again’. But if not that, what? We asked a raft of smart marketers from The Drum Network which moments they’re keeping their eyes peeled for this year – across politics, sport, tech, and culture. Some are pretty set in stone, like the Paris Olympics. Others are a little less definite. Either way, they’re predicting big things.

Politics

Nick Graham, senior Consultant, strategy, Kepler: the United Kingdom general election (expected November)

Buckle up for a media maelstrom in late 2024! The UK election will ignite demand for local news, while hyperlocal CTV will emerge as a game-changer. Navigating misinformation will be crucial, with deepfakes emerging as the new threat. Brands must clarify their values and messaging; consumer trust rides on it. Prepare for heightened emotions around social and environmental issues, and the need to tailor brand communication accordingly. Get ready for a dynamic, value-driven media landscape.”

Claire Elsworth, strategy director, Impression: the United States elections (November, and throughout)

“Trust and transparency will be wrenched back into the spotlight this year, with the fading embers of the Cambridge Analytica scandal still smoldering in the distance. The US election stands out as the crescendo event in this historic year for democracy. The revelation that personal data was manipulated for political purposes rightfully sent shockwaves throughout digital culture, and the impact will be most strongly felt this year. Recently, we’ve witnessed the emergence of smaller social platforms as alternatives to the major players. The latter will face a real test in the coming year as the emerging social spaces come into their own. For example, Bluesky’s absence of traditional advertising provides a way to avoid the mess and manipulation of 2016. It’s currently invite-only, but that will likely change soon, with people flocking to it as the nearest alternative. The question for brands will be how to navigate these (currently) more trusted spaces and foster a sense of togetherness in an increasingly divided digital world.”

Tom Jarvis, chief executive & founder, Wilderness Agency: Elections, everywhere (throughout)

“The marketing moment to watch is actually 4bn moments; that’s the volume of votes globally, taking place in more than 60 countries across the world this year. Expect your social channels, news outlets, and daily news to be bombarded with stories from the many elections taking place. From a social perspective, brands need to be mindful of how their message will fit into the digital diet of consumers eager for news at times and at others looking to switch off and distract from events taking place at home and abroad.”

Sports

James Dobbs, managing Director, Story10: the Paris Olympics (July – August)

“Few things capture the imagination like a major sporting event. 2024 arguably sees the biggest of the lot. The Paris Olympics will transcend sport and offer brands the ability to engage with new fans across the audience landscape: old, young, male, female, hardcore or first-timers, life-stylers, or travel fans. While event IP and venue access are restricted to official partners, the opportunity for ‘non-official’ brands to activate away from the field of play, through ambassadors, influencers, or fan-focused cultural content, is huge and can offer a more authentic narrative. Key social pillars of diversity, equality, and inclusion are embodied in the Olympics; Paris 24 offers brands a unique opportunity to align with these values on a global scale. But don’t forget your distribution. Many compelling campaigns have disappeared when restricted to a brand’s owned channels; widen your funnel and amplify to maximize returns.”

Charlie Li, strategy director, TRO: the Uefa Euro football championship (June – July)

“While the buzz of the Barbie phenomenon in 2023 still resonates, summer 2024 promises an even bigger spectacle: Uefa Euro 2024. These big cultural moments are more than just sporting spectacles; they’re platforms for brands to weave magic through experiential marketing techniques – infiltrating sub-cultures and driving cultural conversations through their authentic voice. Cross-category collaborations are guaranteed to ignite. Cultural marketing is going to be front and center, and I can't wait to see how it all comes to life.”

Tech

Roger Barr, chief digital officer, iCrossing UK: the launch of next-generation Amazon Alexa (expected Q1)

“2024 is going to be a game-changer for us experience creators. With generative AI seeping into the digital strategies of website and app owners, we’re about to witness a whole new level of AI-driven experiences that redefine simplicity in e-commerce shopping, search, and browsing. I'm beyond excited for the launch of the next-gen Alexa in Q1. Amazon promises it'll leverage the power of gen-AI to generate a more intuitive, intelligent experience where conversation flows much more naturally and without the need for repetition. Bring it on.”

Susan Corbo and Becky Armentrout, group creative directors, VML NY: a boom in consumer tech (ongoing)

“Virtual AI assistants will be built into everything from our clothes to our contact lenses, while sneakers will track our vitals. Microchips in our nails? Yeah, that too. But it sounds a little uncomfortable. Totally transparent OLED TVs, looking very Minority Report, will be making their way into our living rooms. All while we anxiously await the transparent computer, phone, dog, and life partner to follow.”

Kobby Osei, paid media director, Redpill: eventual cookie deprecation (ongoing; gradual)

“Google’s decision to eliminate third-party cookies will alter how advertisers monitor user activity and collect data. This ban will restrict the extent of personalized ads, as brands will primarily depend on first-party data, reducing their access to consumers' browsing and purchasing histories. Consequently, marketers will need to incorporate other ad-targeting methods into their strategies. To compensate, we will need to devise new strategies, such as leveraging email marketing. First-party data will become crucial for customer targeting in this cookieless age, which can be aided by social media – Meta and TikTok offer built-in tools for insights. These insights from social can guide new customer acquisitions.”

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Rich Wilson, chief executive officer, Clickon: continued legal battles over AI (ongoing)

“As ‘generation AI’ continues to expand and technology evolves, and we see the continued rapid growth of facial recognition and celebrity recognition systems, there will likely be a surge in legal compliance cases. Consider the case of celebrity recognition apps, popular a few years ago. Users could upload photos, and the app would identify and provide information about celebrities in those images. As the apps gained popularity, their makers encountered legal compliance challenges related to biometric data and privacy regulations. Expect a similar legal challenge facing brands generating content without a firm grip on data and assets, ultimately failing to maintain proper control. Without a comprehensive strategy in place, brands may find themselves on the wrong side of legal disputes. Clear guidelines, compliance measures, and centralized control over data and content creation are essential to avoid legal pitfalls.”

Alex Coe, head of Performance, Don’t be Shy: Changes to Google’s ad rep model (no fixed date)

“Google has long outsourced the ‘ads rep’ customer support role to third parties. Most marketers now know that these third-party reps are not consultants, but salespeople. Their advice is often low quality, cookie-cutter, and of little relevance to your business. Their sole aim is to have you spend more money, for which they earn a commission. This issue has become a running joke within the marketing community, and I predict that the ‘bubble’ of Google’s ad reps will burst in 2024. A major marketing publication may publish an exposé, revealing the flaws in this setup and prompting a necessary overhaul. Or perhaps Google will see an increase in complaints from those of us who’ve finally had enough of grinning-and-bearing it. Either way, this could encourage Google to bring support in-house. The stage is set for a transformation in how Google works with its customers.”

Marketing and culture

Alistair Robertson, creative partner, Nucco: marketing gets fun again (no fixed date)

“2024 is going to be the year the marketing ‘blandemic’ buggers off. As the world emerges from so many challenges (admittedly, we’re still a long way from ‘ideal’), now’s the time for marketers and agencies to and acknowledge the need for a fresh approach. The ‘blandemic’ has been all about caution, with brands navigating the uncertainty with generic campaigning. That, arguably, was understandable. But surely consumers are tired of the predictability? Don’t we all want something captivating, genuine, and wonderful again? I know I want to be excited again. So 2024 is the year for creative storytelling, visually brilliant campaigns, and big experiences to come on down. (Oh, and it’s totally going to be the year of the mobile/VR/NFTs/Blockchain/Web3.0… Again.)”

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Nucco

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We’re big enough to handle top-tier clients such as M&S and TalkTalk, but compact enough that you never feel forgotten. From insights to activation to optimisation, you can feel confident your project is managed carefully, critically and consistently.

Social to email. Whitepapers to animation. We create gorgeous assets that bring your brand to life, across channels that connect to your audience. Thoughtful automation, impact-measurability and proactive optimisations come as standard. Always with a view to maximise ROI.

We’ve been crowned B2B Agency of the Year by The Drum, and won awards across content, campaigns, martech and dev.

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But we don’t believe in business as a combative sport. Our people are down to earth, easy to get along with, and experts in their field. A B2B marketing agency that’s considered and constructive. Not dying to be disruptive.

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