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Top 4 marketing predictions for 2023



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March 4, 2024 | 4 min read

For many, the first of January symbolizes a fresh start

It’s a time to be optimistic about the year ahead, with exciting new opportunities and projects on the horizon.

But most people will be heading into 2023 a little more cautiously. We already know the UK is in recession, and the latest analysis from EY suggests this will continue until at least the middle of the year. It’s a bleak outlook which can make it more difficult to set personal, professional and business goals.

Whilst it could be easy to start the New Year feeling defeatist, we know from previous downturns that’s not how marketers tend to play it! We’re a creative and resilient bunch - and we know how essential our work is in a recession. In fact, IPA research has proven how important it is to maintain advertising and communications expenditure in a downturn, but success can be based on how well marketers adapt.

With this in mind, many of my marketing predictions for 2023 reflect how marketers will refine their strategy to achieve brilliant things in what will undoubtedly be a tough year.

1) Brand campaigns will focus on kindness

During a recession, consumers will not take kindly to a ‘sell, sell, sell’ approach. We’ve already seen some of the major retail brands toning down their 2022 Christmas ads - with John Lewis saying this year was less about buying and more about kindness. We can expect to see more marketing teams taking this approach in the new year. In 2023 we will see more efforts from brands to build genuine connections (and empathy) with their customers and communities.

2) Marketers will shift spend to local

This year is going to be tough for consumers, but it will be equally tough for businesses, with rising inflation putting pressure on margins. Indeed, according to recent research carried out by Lloyd’s Bank, over 70% of businesses said that the impact of inflation was one of their biggest concerns, particularly in relation to raw materials and energy costs. Marketers will be under more pressure than ever to justify marketing spend and demonstrate ROI.

Localization is one technique marketers will use to maximise ROI . Every neighbourhood is unique and needs to be approached differently - so a personalised approach will help to increase impact by creating connection. Companies also need to consider that, as the cost-of-living crisis prevails, more consumers will be staying close to home to save money and support local businesses.

3) Household decision makers will become more valuable to marketers

There is typically one individual in each household who holds the purse-strings, and a recent survey carried out among over 11,000 people within the Nextdoor community suggested that these individuals will become even more influential in light of the cost-of-living crisis. In fact, over a third of respondents (35%) reported that they would be more likely to put just one person in charge of household purchases to avoid overspending.

Marketers have always been highly aware that they need to exercise the most influence over household decision makers, however the UK recession means they need to pay even closer attention to the people holding the purse strings. With access to the right consumer behaviour insights, they can create a strategy to cost-effectively engage the people who matter the most.

4) Verification will be a key factor to build trust

Companies will be watching any expenditure more closely, and will therefore want reassurance that online marketing efforts are reaching real people, in the right places. They want to know that they are not putting spend behind campaigns that are reaching people on the other side of the country or, worse, online bots. In 2023, marketers will put more budget towards platforms that take verification seriously so they can increase engagement and optimise campaigns.

Marketers who go into 2023 with their eyes wide open will set themselves up for the best possible year. It might not be the easiest 12 months, but those who pay close attention to shifts in the market may find unexpected new ways to build stronger connections with their audiences. Now is the time for marketers to be cautiously confident to achieve their ambitions in the year ahead - and support their businesses through this recession.

By Gareth Walton, Head of EMEA Sales, Nextdoor


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