Gartner Outlines Top 5 Trends for Marketers in 2023
As marketers face increased scrutiny over their operations, Gartner urges them to develop stronger connections between customers and their brands in 2023 and beyond to drive results and regain the confidence of business leaders.
"Against a backdrop of unrelenting social and economic pressures, marketing leaders look toward a future where smarter marketing leads to deeper, more valuable connections between customers and brands," said Andrew Frank, a distinguished vice president analyst in th Gartner Marketing practice. "From managing misinformation to ensuring effective first-party data collection, this year's predictions prioritize the trends that marketers and advertisers can no longer afford to ignore."
The suggestions follow a Gartner report outlining the top five predictions for marketing operations in the coming year.
The top five predictions for marketing leaders are as follows:
1. By 2027, 80 percent of marketers will establish a dedicated content authenticity function to combat misinformation and fake material.
The proliferation of generative AI and user-generated content will dramatically increase the volume and variety of content companies must monitor, according to Gartner, which noted that proactive reputation management is critical, but scanning for inaccurate or defamatory content at scale in real time is increasingly difficult in a polarized and high-velocity landscape.
"The advancement in the scope and sophistication of misinformation creates a growing concern for CMOs," said Chris Ross, a vice president analyst at Gartner. "Just as AI and other technologies contribute to the content problem, they will also be part of the solution, especially when complemented with dedicated teams that listen, engage, and escalate brand interests across the digital content ecosystem."
2. By 2025, 70 percent of CMOs will identify accountability for ethical AI in marketing among their top concerns.
Privacy-related restrictions on data collection, economic pressures, and AI breakthroughs are driving marketing teams to rely more heavily on AI and machine learning to optimize campaign performance and lower costs, Gartner found. Simultaneously, regulators and advocacy groups are voicing concerns about manipulative and biased uses of AI through developments such as the AI Act in the European Union or the AI Bill of Rights in the United States, the firm said, pointing out that several companies have already come under fire over their use of advanced technology to influence consumers in creepy and inequitable ways.
"Marketing is uniquely positioned to understand the superior CX AI affords as well as its trust and reputational risks," Frank said. "This puts the onus on marketers to address the ethical issues that AI is raising in their practices, and the impetus to do so must come from the top."
3. By 2024, 70 percent of companies will redeploy at least 10 percent of their media budgets to product placement in entertainment content.
Consumers with means are working harder than ever to avoid online ads: Gartner anticipates that by next year, 85 percent of consumers with household incomes above $120,000 per year will pay for entertainment subscription tiers, software, hardware, or mobile devices that allow them to avoid advertising entirely.
"The game of cat and mouse has become very expensive," said Kate Muhl, a vice president analyst at Gartner. "Brands pay top dollar to reach high-income consumers via digital advertising, but such impressions become less meaningful as this audience figures out new ways to tune them out. Marketers who cling to traditional digital ad formats will increasingly reach an audience composed largely of digital have-nots."
Instead, companies that shift budgets toward product placements in entertainment content such as streaming TV will persevere, according to Gartner.
4. One-in-three businesses without loyalty programs today will establish them by 2027 to shore up first-party data collection and retain high-priority customers.
Loyalty programs are most prevalent in the travel, hospitality, and retail industries, according to Gartner. However, there are opportunities in other verticals, such as banking and consumer packaged goods, the firm said, pointing out that only 36 percent of the 1,068 companies it analyzed in 2022 had loyalty programs.
Effective loyalty content generally drives higher open rates than non-loyalty emails, improving wallet retention and growth among high-priority customer segments, it said further, predicting that by 2023, companies will increase their investments in loyalty programs as a percentage of their total marketing budgets.
"The competition for customers' attention and first-party data will increase as more companies launch and revamp loyalty programs," said Brad Jashinsky, a director analyst at Gartner. "CMOs running best in-class loyalty programs will elevate their approach beyond transactional benefits and recognize personalization as a critical differentiator."
5. By 2025, organizations that use AI across marketing will shift 75 percent of their staff operations from production to more strategic activities.
AI in marketing will reduce friction and eliminate redundancy, allowing marketers to shift their budgets and resources to activities that support a more dynamic marketing organization, according to Gartner, which notes that marketers can leverage AI in the creative process to automate the capture, processing, and analysis of real-world images and videos, improving image quality and developing digital twins.
"AI will continue to refine marketing operations processes to drive more agile, data-based responses to the challenges ahead that have no signs of slowing down," said Nicole Greene, a senior director analyst at Gartner.