Hard to believe, but it’s that time of the year again! Snow has actually stuck in the Midwest, holiday shopping is starting, and Mariah Carey is creeping her way back into the top 50.
We’re at that time when we’re reflecting on 2023, as well as formulating marketing and sales goals for 2024. With that, we discuss what we expect to be on the horizon for 2024. Here, we’ll share some of those thoughts. These predictions come from looking back at digital marketing in 2023 and making data-driven hypotheses about how the tech and legal landscapes may shape the industry. Finally, we factor in the shifting psychological wants and needs of people as they evolve, especially as it relates to the digital landscape and culture.
Marketing budgets won’t spike or dip, they’ll normalize.
From Sam Kessenich, our President:
I know, it’s not the sexiest thing I could say, but with the spikes and slumps of the last year, it’s worth noting. The economy is seemingly strong, but on a person-by-person basis, consumer confidence is mixed.
February 2022 saw the fastest growth in marketing budgets in the last decade. Then, February 2023 saw the slowest growth in marketing budgets and a decrease in traditional advertising budgets in the past 12 years (Statista). Agencies across the US felt the summer slump in 2023.
I expect as we end Q4 and move into 2024, marketing and advertising budgets will normalize and companies will be ready to invest — even if it’s not as heavily as they did in the first year or two post-COVID.
Despite a relatively strong economy, the U.S.’ political polarization means we’re always going to have ~40% of the adult population negatively impacting consumer confidence numbers, even if the economy is growing. Those mixed figures are something CEO/CMOs are going to have to continue to grapple with when talking about marketing and advertising budgets.
The Creative Edge: The Crucial Role of High-Quality Content in 2024
From Michael, our VP of Growth:
In digital marketing, the tides are shifting towards a new era where high-quality creative content emerges as the unrivaled kingmaker for brands. As technology continues to democratize access to tools and platforms, companies find themselves on an ostensibly level playing field.
In 2024, the pivotal differentiator that propels a brand beyond its competitors lies in the ability to craft compelling narratives and visually stunning content that captivates audiences. The ubiquitous availability of tech tools merely levels the starting point; it’s the creative prowess that propels a brand forward.
Gone are the days when a mere online presence sufficed. Today, consumers are inundated with a barrage of content, making it imperative for brands to rise above the noise. High-quality creative content not only grabs attention but sustains engagement, fostering a lasting connection between the brand and its audience.
In this era of content saturation, it’s not about who has access to the latest tech, but rather, who can wield it to tell a story that resonates. Successful brands in 2024 will be those that invest in the art of storytelling, leveraging technology to enhance, not replace, the human touch in their messaging. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the spotlight on the creative narrative will only intensify, positioning it as the linchpin for brand success in the competitive marketplace.
SEO-Style: Get ready for the year of the algorithm update.
It’s easier than ever to absolutely PUMP content out (see: AI content writers). Google is going to have to sift through garbage content faster than ever, and since AI is constantly changing, Google algorithms will be ever-evolving to keep up with the sheer content volume being produced.
Now’s a good time to take a look at A) your existing content and B) your content strategy moving forward. If it doesn’t involve including industry experts either internal to your organization or partnering with external experts, I would consider revisiting it.
From Justin Rockow, our SEO Manager:
Content has and always will be an essential part of an SEO strategy, but it’s increasingly important that it incorporates your brand’s unique voice and expertise.. Whether you’re writing to increase organic visibility or to provide your current audience with additional educational resources, well-written, engaging content establishes authority that can build trust with users and search engines.
The growing number of use cases for Artificial Intelligence (AI) has significantly impacted the way we, as an agency, view digital marketing. AI-powered tools, like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, and their integration capabilities have allowed us to quickly analyze vast datasets, automate steps of existing procedures, and enhance our content creation process.
While AI provides valuable benefits, human expertise is still essential for interpreting data, making strategic decisions, and understanding the details of the ever-changing SEO landscape and the client’s industry. With this in mind, RyTech is dedicated to ongoing investments in U.S.-based, full-time content writers with a combined experience of over 10 years.
TL;DR: In 2024, the vision is to leverage AI tools as supportive aids to complement human skills, fostering a more effective and informed SEO strategy.
Email: Engage Your Community
The cost of acquiring a new customer is 5-7x higher than retaining an existing customer. Meanwhile, increasing customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25 – 95% (hbr & bain).
These aren’t new figures, but as we think deeper about how marketing impacts revenue and profits, we’ll see a greater shift towards companies investing heavily in community engagement.
So, it’s time to stop thinking of your email marketing strategy as ‘sending out a newsletter’ or doing an email ‘blast’ (a word our Email Team hates). These outdated notions about email marketing fail to capture the research, segmentation, and tailored messaging needed for a successful campaign.
Instead, view your email marketing as an opportunity to start investing in and building your community. Bring in the voices of the community, partner with influential individuals tangential to your business, feature unique content that people can’t find elsewhere, include videos, and show appreciation.
From Amanda Recktenwald, our Email Marketing Manager:
Your biggest brand advocates are your current satisfied customers, which means a subscriber isn’t just another email address. Cultivate your subscriber list into brand advocates by sharing personalized, engaging content, asking for their feedback, and rewarding their engagement. When a new subscriber joins the list, don’t miss the opportunity to make a positive first impression! Set up your automated series to welcome, educate, and invite each new subscriber to become a member of your digital community.
Organic Social: As an agency, we’re bullish on LinkedIn!
Maybe not for D2C or B2C, but for B2B brands, we expect LinkedIn will continue to cement itself as a critical platform to engage on. LinkedIn now generates 15 times more content impressions compared to job postings, which is indicative of a shift towards more diverse content engagement beyond its traditional job-seeking and recruiting focus.
One of our big priorities coming into 2024 is increasing employee advocacy across social platforms. Gone are the days of treating these platforms as solely a place your brand account should post — instead, incentivize employees to engage with the content your brand is posting. It’s a great way to not only increase impressions but encourage influential voices at your organization to foster thought leadership in the industry, share their opinions, and develop a personal following. Plus: quick, early engagement will further promote brand content for your audience.
Finally, start thinking about an influencer and micro-influencer partnership strategy. I know ‘influencers’ aren’t new in 2024, but B2B brands engaging with influential individuals in their industry, even if they’re niche, we think is going to continue to take off. These micro-influencers offer a higher return on investment compared to traditional advertising or celebrity endorsements and can create a greater impact per impression at a lower cost. On average, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for every $1 invested in influencer marketing. Additionally, micro-influencers tend to generate up to 60% more engagement compared to influencers with larger followings, mainly because of the trust and credibility they build with their audience (source). Because of this, look for Collaborative Articles on LinkedIn to continue to grow in popularity.
From Maddie Falk, our Social Media Strategist:
As we move into 2024, and more social media users demand authentic content from the accounts they follow, we will begin to see more brands and companies commit themselves to 2-3 social media platforms as opposed to 5-6. This comes with the understanding that every platform is unique and therefore demands a tailor-fit strategy – which of course, requires a much larger budget. By brands focusing on 2-3 platforms where they are seeing the most success, they will be able to optimize their strategies by resonating more with their audiences and seeing the greatest impact on ROI.
Advertising: Attribution is going to get worse, and proving ROI on ad spend is going to become more important than ever.
Marketing and advertising budgets may rebound, but I also predict that key business decision-makers are going to be more involved in Marketing KPIs than ever, so being able to prove the ROI of marketing/advertising investments is going to be more important than ever.
The challenge for marketing departments and agencies? Privacy. Heightened privacy concerns, for individuals and for governments, aren’t going away. Google will continue to show us less data, and off-platform attribution for social ads, meaning social ads that send traffic to a website, is going to continue to get worse.
Now would be a GREAT time to talk/think about your attribution and Marketing CRM strategy if you haven’t. Hubspot or TripleWhale aren’t perfect when it comes to attribution, but they’re a lot better than relying on Meta and Google Analytics Statistics when making decisions.
From Jake Eckberg, our Paid Media Manager:
It’s one thing for RyTech to bring you leads through social and paid search ad campaigns, but knowing what the post-conversion process looks like from the client’s perspective is one of the main challenges we face as marketers in the agency space.
Implementing a marketing CRM like Hubspot allows us to track the leads that come in from advertising efforts, gives us full transparency into the quality of those leads, and additional insight into how they develop through your sales cycle.
Having insight into this information not only helps us better understand your internal processes and sales cycle but also allows us to address problems with campaign conversion rates. We want to work with you to implement solutions that bring in more qualified traffic through the door and help that traffic boost your business’ ROI. Without an attribution strategy, ROI is incredibly hard to measure accurately, and it’s only going to get more difficult.
There is a lot of information to take in and consider as you think about your own business and the strategies that will help surpass your goals in 2024. Our team is always willing to sit down and help sift through this plethora of information to create a growth-oriented strategy for you. After all, we exist to help businesses like yours grow!