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Every year, there are a few trends that can help businesses define how and where to market. While some of these trends are bound to overlap year over year, there are others that are brand new altogether. Staying on top of shifts in the marketing landscape and consumer preferences can set you up for long-term success, widen your reach, and deepen your relationship with your target audience. Wondering where to focus your marketing efforts in 2024? Here are our predictions for the top marketing trends in 2024.
The very real staying power of artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) dominated 2023, and it shows no signs of slowing. For a lot of businesses, this technology is becoming an integral part of their operations and customer relationship management. According to McKinsey, 55% of business executives anticipate AI to have a significant impact on marketing optimization. With the ability to do everything, such as chat with customers and generate content, AI is making marketing easier and more efficient for businesses.
Investing in AI tools like chatbots and marketing automation software can up your marketing game and help you save time for other tasks. Square has an integrated ecosystem of tools that can help you get started. With partners such as LiveChat in the Square App Marketplace, businesses can incorporate conversational commerce into their website to elevate the customer experience and ease the workload on their staff. Other tools, like Square Marketing, can help you generate copy for your marketing campaigns to ensure you’re crafting the right message for customers.
The importance of sustainability and ethics
The rise in the importance of sustainability and ethics in business will likely continue in 2024. It’s no secret that customers want to shop with businesses that reflect their values. Kantar found that nearly two-thirds of people in the U.S. agree that they want brands that “align with” their personal values. Furthermore, 80% of global consumers say that they “make an effort” to buy from companies that support causes important to them. Marketing your business values in 2024 can help you attract the right customers and deepen your relationship with existing customers.
If your business is working to reduce its carbon footprint or ease the impact of climate change with certain actions, emphasize that in your marketing. If your business proudly supports certain social causes, make space for that on your marketing channels. Be mindful that if you’re marketing certain values, your actions should match them. Consumers are more aware of “performative” acts of support for certain causes and are quick to call businesses out. Be genuine with your marketing efforts, and be prepared to back them up.
The shift from the search box
Customers will continue to search for businesses in new ways. From social media platforms like TikTok to traditional platforms like Google, customers have a variety of search options at their fingertips, and it’s important that your business is in a position to benefit, regardless of where the query originates. Google recently published data that shows there are 12 billion searches each month through Google Lens, which supports search via image. Furthermore, Statista predicts there will be over eight billion searches by voice assistants in 2024. Keeping your Google Business Profile up to date with accurate information, your Google Merchant Center full of high-quality images, and refreshing your website SEO can help your business reach searching customers who use voice or image options.
When it comes to social media, hashtags and influencer marketing are your friends. Google research shows that almost 40% of young people use TikTok or Instagram to search for new restaurants. Leaning into influencers in your area, captioning your short-form content with hashtags like #losangelesbrunch, and geotagging your profiles can help place your business in front of the right audiences.
The shorter (the video), the better
According to CNN, the average person can only pay attention to one screen for an average of 47 seconds. With this in mind, capturing and keeping your audience engaged may require you to do more with less. This encapsulates everything, from shorter captions to shorter marketing videos. Strategically using short-form video platforms from YouTube to TikTok will be crucial in 2024. Determine which platform(s) your customers use most and implement a video marketing strategy to help you connect with and grow your online audience.
Short-form video can also help you build trust with customers and stand out against competitors. In a time where most things are digital first, short videos can show your customers why they should shop with you, how you’re different from other brands, and emphasize the value they get from choosing you. Evaluate your messaging and the goals of your marketing for 2024, and look for ways these can be brought to life through video.
The year of the experience
Introducing new revenue streams like events and experiences into your business can do more than just bring in more money. They can also bring in a new way to market. For restaurateurs looking to enhance the dining experience, the Square 2024 Dining Report found that 55% of diners are interested in trying new experiences at their local restaurants, like live music events or game nights. Making experiences a core part of your business and emphasizing that in your marketing strategy can set you apart from competitors and reach diners who are craving something new.
The same is true for retailers. Square data shows that retailers offering sales for tickets, events, and classes were up 10% in Q2 year-over-year. With experiences in high demand, leverage experiential marketing tactics like classes, exclusive access to events, and gamified experiences to appeal to new customers and widen your base.
As marketing continues to evolve, it’s important to keep your eye on what matters most: the customer. Think about what your business needs, what it can reasonably accomplish, and what would provide the greatest benefit to customers. Approaching tried-and-true strategies along with fresh, new trends through a customer-first lens can help make your marketing messaging resonate clearly with your audience and create the desired impact.