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In the new year, one thing is clear: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of the marketing conversation.

It's no longer a question of whether AI will dominate; rather, the question is what its use cases will be and where AI's true value lies within business functions.

Throughout 2023, businesses transitioned from mere interest to full-scale adoption of AI, addressing specific challenges, such as data analysis, content creation, and customer service efficiency.

As we look ahead, four trends are set to shape the marketing landscape in 2024.

Trend 1: Harmony between AI and human creativity elevates marketing roles

The partnership between AI and human expertise is set to redefine marketing roles in the coming year, evolving roles rather than replacing them.

In 2023, marketers realized AI's potential to be a strategic and creative partner by streamlining workflows and enhancing efficiency. In 2024, the partnership between AI and human expertise is poised to redefine marketing roles rather than replace them, creating a synergy that amplifies results across the board.

I anticipate a dynamic shift in content creation as marketers and sales teams capitalize on AI for audience personalization. Content creators are no longer mere producers, but collaborators with AI, developing content that resonates with target audiences. Although AI handles heavy lifting, human oversight remains crucial for consistent editing and curation.

Marketers need to recognize that AI tech can be a powerful tool in their efforts to engage audiences and drive greater performance in their marketing efforts by improving ad creative and copy, introducing better accuracy in ad targeting, and creating more timely, authentic engagements with their consumers.

Trend 2: AI Tackles the ghosting problem in retail customer service

Customers today have no shortage of digital spaces to share their shopping experiences with other customers—business profiles, review sites, e-commerce portals, and more. Those are real opportunities for retail businesses to actively get into the conversation. But far too many companies still treat customer reviews passively, often ignoring them entirely.

Ignoring customer reviews is akin to ghosting, which comes at a steep cost: a staggering $2.4 billion annual loss for the US retail sector alone. In 2024, AI advancements promise to change that narrative.

Imagine a world where AI empowers brands to break free from ghosting tendencies, responding promptly and on-brand. Technologies already exist to automate responses to frequently asked questions, turning overlooked queries into opportunities for meaningful interaction. AI-enabled personalization takes center stage, allowing retailers to craft responses that resonate with their target audiences. The result? Enhanced digital engagement, increased revenue, and strengthened customer satisfaction.

In 2024, AI will become the beacon guiding retailers toward more meaningful online experiences and real connection with their customers.

Trend 3: The AI-driven shift requires martech streamlining

To truly reap the benefits of AI, data consolidation becomes imperative. Over the past decade, businesses accumulated many marketing technology solutions, resulting in overwhelming martech stacks. The average business now juggles more than 100 applications, and for enterprises, that number skyrockets to 664.

Having too many platforms works against marketers for cross-channel integration, preventing them from gaining a holistic view of customer behavior and preferences. Furthermore, a bloated tech stack adds complexity to workflows, leading to slower response times and cutting marketers off at the knee when it comes to implementing real-time marketing strategies.

As businesses embrace the power of AI, the need for consolidating and unifying data becomes paramount. Businesses are compelled to confront the reality that their data is scattered across disparate siloed platforms, which won't cut it in the new AI reality.

Trend 4: Strategic data management will unleash the power of AI

In 2024, the imperative is clear: Businesses must confront their martech bloat to provide AI tools with the data required for optimal performance. A recent BCG study highlights that businesses using generative AI see significant improvements in performance.

However, unlocking optimal value from AI hinges on strategically managing data, which involves a holistic view of customer interactions across all channels, facilitating personalization, forecasting, modeling, and other AI-powered tasks.

Businesses also need to keep data security and compliance risks in mind. Managing data across numerous platforms increases the risk of security breaches and compliance issues. By consolidating data across channels, marketers will have a more unified and secure approach to data management. That's especially important as privacy regulations tighten, requiring businesses to adopt robust measures to protect customer data.

As AI takes center stage in 2024, effective data management becomes the linchpin for businesses for staying competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Looking Ahead to a Promising 2024

As we step further into the new year, and as industry leaders learn from the successes and shortcomings of their peers, we have a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

Businesses dedicated to integrating innovative strategies and evolving customer experiences will thrive, while advances in AI continue to uncover novel ways for businesses to succeed.

So I encourage you to ask yourself: "What do I need to be doing now to set up not only my team, but also my clients or customers, to benefit from the new age of AI integration?"

More Resources on AI Marketing Trends

ChatGPT Has Turned 1: What Have We Learned From AI's Breakout Year?

How CMOs Can Use AI to Make Career-Changing, Strategic Business Impact

How AI-Powered Marketing Tools Will Help SMBs

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Navigating the Marketing AI Landscape of 2024: Four Trends

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image of Monica Ho

Monica Ho is CMO at SOCi, a marketing platform for multilocation brands, helping them to automate and scale their marketing efforts across all locations and digital channels.

LinkedIn: Monica Ho