2024 Marketing Trends to Follow (and to Ignore)

For most of us marketers, the process of deciding on new priorities and strategies for 2024 is well underway by now.

But, it’s still worth pointing out what hot new trends are actually worth paying attention to and which can safely be ignored.

After all, there are plenty of marketers who love nothing more than to get excited about the next big shiny strategy whether there’s real substance behind it or not. The result is usually wasted time, effort, and resources.

So before you invest heavily into a 2024 marketing trend, give our list a read and consider whether that’s the best place to invest your limited budget.

2024 Marketing Trends to Follow

We like to keep things on a positive note here so let’s start with the good. Without a doubt there are some major 2024 marketing trends that are rightfully being talked up.

In other words, these are trends we believe are absolutely worth investing in if you want to stay competitive this year.

1. AI

Sadly, you will be getting no points for guessing that AI was going to top this list.

Even with the staggering amount of hype surrounding it, you simply can’t ignore the impact AI is already having on marketing. From advanced data analysis to generative tasks like creating images or writing emails, it’s something most of us use every day whether we realize it or not.

But okay, AI is being used a lot, what does that actually mean for marketers? In short, AI enables us to be dramatically more efficient and effective. That means that in 2024 AI offers a strong competitive advantage. If you’re not using it, your competitors almost certainly are.

This is particularly true for PPC marketing, where AI is changing the game by automating a lot of the enormous amount of manual management that was previously needed to maintain campaigns. Though it’s worth pointing out that PPC marketing has been using AI-driven algorithms for years without necessarily realizing it.

Overall, you can leverage AI tools to save time, reduce costs, generate content, etc. but just using artificial intelligence the way you already know how to isn’t going to cut it. AI technologies are evolving at breathtaking speeds, meaning the only way you can continue to effectively leverage them is by keeping on top of the latest advances in AI-driven marketing.

With all that said, however, you still need to consider the AI trends alongside our number 2 pick.

2. Creative Marketing

As we argued in our recent article, one of the biggest takeaways from the increasing use of AI in marketing is that creative marketing is becoming more important.

Just because AI is arguably the biggest 2024 trend in marketing doesn’t mean it’s the solution to all of our problems. Just because you have a shiny new hammer doesn’t magically transform all your problems into nails.

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For example, plenty of organizations have decided that the ability of generative AI tools to write articles in seconds means they can now save tons of money on human writers and editors. But the result of that kind of thinking is usually a mountain of mediocre content that’s not going to perform well with SEO or humans.

We marketers should know by now that putting quantity over quality rarely works.

That’s why one of the least talked about 2024 marketing trends is creative marketing. The ability of AI to streamline so much of the non-creative work involved in marketing means the rest will only grow in importance. That’s why this should be a year when you both consider how you can leverage AI to streamline your processes and how you can devote more time to creativity.

3. Training & Skill Development

It should be clear from the first two trends on this list that the role of marketers is evolving fast. So parallel to the increasing importance of creative marketing is that of training and skill development.

The AI-driven boost in productivity means that individual marketers can often do more than ever before. As a result, many companies are reducing their workforces to take advantage of these gains. For marketers, this means it’s never been more important to leverage skills and experience to demonstrate you can do what an algorithm cannot.

One way to maximize the impact of your training and skill development is by employing the 70-20-10 principle. This involves balancing time invested in structured learning (around 10%) with learning from others (20%) and learning from your own experiences (70%). So even as you look to build your skillset, be sure to balance your formal learning with time applying that learning. Ultimately, the real value in those skills is learning how to apply them in a practical context to solve real marketing challenges.

The 70-20-10 Learning Principle

So whether it’s AI skills, creative marketing skills, or any other kind, it’s worth considering how you as an individual or a team you manage can invest more in training and skills development in 2024.

4. Changes in How People Search

For the past few decades, much of marketing has centered around how people search for information online. But today, the way people do that is changing faster than ever. Staying competitive is going to require remaining on top of these changes.

For example, after declining between 2018 and 2021, voice search is rapidly becoming more popular, especially among millennials. Changes in data and privacy regulations are also  having enormous impacts on how we’re able to conduct digital marketing.

That’s not to mention new tools like Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE), or people simply using generative AI tools to answer their questions directly. All of these trends combined mean that marketers can no longer rely on the same tried and true methods for getting their products and services in front of people making online searches.

Instead, marketers need to get creative and strive to stay on top of the latest changes (not to mention the latest privacy regulations). For many, this will require taking a more structured approach to evaluating what’s changing and how your team can respond, rather than just running with the status quo until there’s a big enough emergency to make a change.

Speaking of being more proactive and deliberate with changes…

5. Agile Marketing

Full disclosure, we’ve known that Agile marketing is a growing trend for many years because we poll hundreds of marketers annually. But Agile marketing is worth including as a major 2024 marketing trend because of how it plays into everything else on this list.

Benefits of Agile Marketing 2024

In fact, a recent Forbes article listed adaptable skill sets as the top labor market trend for 2024. Agile isn’t just about rigidly following a specific Agile methodology, it’s about a mindset that pushes marketers to be flexible, creative, and rigorous in how we adapt to rapidly changing environments.

In other words, it’s exactly what all the changes we’ve been talking about demand. If you’re going to stay on top of the latest AI trends, determine which skills you should invest in, adapt to changes in search, and generally stay creative, Agile is the way you want to go. Agile is what can supercharge your ability to stay on top of all the trends on this list.

Frankly, for that reason it should be higher, but the value it provides wouldn’t be as clear if you hadn’t already read about all the other trends affecting marketers this year. Of course if you’re curious to know what the ROI of various Agile certifications is, we’ve got you covered.

Before checking out the marketing trends that are best to ignore in 2024, why don't you take a second to explore the state of Agile marketing this year?

2024 Marketing Trends to Ignore

With all that out of the way, what about the 2024 marketing trends that are getting vast amounts of attention and hype but might not turn into much?

After all, you’ve got limited resources, so it’s worth understanding what trends you can safely ignore.

1. AR

Even with the release of Apple’s much hyped Vision Pro headset, AR is still in its infancy when it comes to marketing. True, the popularity of AR is increasing rapidly with 1.4 billion active AR user devices. But the popularity and availability of AR does not mean it’s being used to shop (yet).

If you sell something like furniture, that’s a different story. But for most marketers, there just aren’t effective ways to leverage AR for marketing at this point. Most AR experiences are centered around gaming, meaning that it’s still not a technology frequently used to shop for products and services (furniture aside).

So unless you happen to be in one of the industries where AR is making a big splash, it’s a technology you can safely ignore for now. Perhaps in a few years it will come into its own and we’ll have a litany of new ways to use it, but we’re just not there yet and there’s little reason to think that will change in 2024. 

2. Some Influencer Marketing*

The asterisk here is important, because many people might be shocked to see influencer marketing on this list. That’s because short video content like reels on social media is one of the most effective ways many companies have to market their products in 2024.

But aside from the potency of short video content, influencer marketing has been in decline for years as oversaturation and skepticism from audiences undermines the potency of paying someone to promote your product.

Younger consumers in particular trust classic influencer marketing less and less, preferring to look to places like comment sections and forums to find genuine advice. The takeaway here is to focus on ways to be authentic in the way you market your products and services because people’s inauthentic marketing radars have become more and more attuned.

Get the Skills to Stay on top Of 2024’s Biggest Trends

Nobody ever said marketing was easy, but the list of trends we need to stay on top of this year is daunting to say the least. That’s why building the skills to remain Agile, experiment regularly, and rigorously determine what tactics and strategies work for you is so essential.

To help you do just that, we’ve built a vast library of short micro-lessons we call Carabiners. Each one can be completed in around 30 minutes and show you how to be more customer centric, prioritize work, build the right mindset, and much more.  

So check out Carabiners today and start building the skills you need to thrive in 2024 and beyond.

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