|A Year of Complexity Ahead, but a Year that Will Demonstrate the Essentiality of Marketing’s Role in Both Business and Society.
Yes, TODAY’S MARKETERS face a long list of urgent priorities… However, 2024 is shaping up to be a very different year. Marketing leaders are now tasked with expanded responsibilities of extraordinary complexity and greater accountability— from external concerns to internal aspirations, from accelerating technological developments to shifting consumer mindsets. And while many marketers admittedly feel a sense of overwhelm at the pace of change and the need to become expert on so many new subjects, smart marketing executives are now recognizing their time has come.
Never mind a “seat at the table,” the skills, strategies and innovations marketers can wield are now deemed indispensable.
Even McKinsey research is suggesting that as CEOs look for the next engine for growth, “a redefined and reinvigorated relationship with their CMO” can provide the answer. The discipline of marketing has never been so important to the success of brands, organizations, and the overall world of business. The Internationalist has long advocated that Marketing Makes a World of Difference™ and it appears that 2024 will demonstrate the essentiality of marketing’s role in both business and society.
Each year, based on an annual survey of key topics and critical priorities, The Internationalist provides a snapshot of What’s on the Minds of Marketers as they anticipate the next 12 months. This year’s results held some surprises in the weight and consideration of top issues:
|As demonstrated by the Priorities List above, marketers are anticipating 2024 to be a precarious balance between external and internal issues— especially when complex geopolitical events intensify and combine with entrenched and often fiery viewpoints. Without doubt, such times are challenging for many products, services, or companies to serve the best interests of all their stakeholders, let alone stand out in increasingly commoditized markets. However, marketers can make a difference as they champion consumer trust, provide unparalleled brand experiences, lead data strategy, rally employees throughout the globe, and continually demonstrate return on investment.
Since this annual survey began in 2018, well before the COVID pandemic, a top issue has consistently been BRAND GROWTH. While growth is a critical priority for all companies, marketers are learning that growth can be found in different ways at different times. It may be in new products or new market segments; other times it’s through technological efficiency or pure innovation— keeping in mind that current concepts of growth may have to be reconsidered if businesses aim to be compatible with a sustainable future. Interestingly, the McKinsey research cited earlier states that “CEOs who place marketing at the core of their growth strategy are twice as likely to have greater than 5 percent annual growth compared with their peers.” Not a bad endorsement for the marketing function.
In times of perceived economic instability and global tension, priorities often shift to the immediate and the practical. However, we’re now seeing marketers embracing both back-to-basics concerns as well as future-defining ones. It will soon be four years since COVID-19 changed the world, and macroeconomic uncertainty may simply be the reality of our times. Business, brands, and marketing decisions will continually be planned and replanned no matter the direction of the economy. Today’s marketers constantly adjust.
The ways in which companies use technology to achieve their goals may be one of most significant business issues of this decade. Technology for marketers has now advanced beyond concerns of efficiency, dashboards, interdepartmental alignment and programmatic “black box” concerns. In fact, it now goes beyond even algorithms and coding as GenAI works with the core tools of marketers– words and images– to affect storytelling, creativity and even the “big idea.” More marketers are seeking to embrace AI’s potential while remaining wary about the risks to brand reputation or other unintended consequences.
This is the new world of today’s marketer. And this “new” CMO, and his or her teams, not only shape the business conversation but affect tangible business results.