• July 8, 2024
  • By Linda Pophal, business journalist and content marketer

The Top Marketing Trends and Technologies for 2024: Marketers Adjust to Dramatic Market Shifts

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Has the world of marketing ever moved at such a fast pace in the past? Most in the profession would likely say no, and they’d be echoing the sentiment of professionals in fields of all kinds. Technology, the U.S. and larger global economy, changing consumer preferences, and a volatile employment market are all having an impact.

While the pace of change is not likely to diminish anytime soon, marketers can stay on top of the trends by relying on both research and expert insights from those in the field.

One of those influential market forces is Salesforce, which indicated in its latest “State of Marketing” report that some of the top areas of focus for marketers right now include unifying their customer data across various sources, embracing artificial intelligence while being mindful of risks, full personalization, and seeking deeper customer relationships through account-based marketing and loyalty programs.

Data has clearly become a critical part of any marketing practice, yet marketers continue to struggle. Putting the data to work remains a challenge, according to Salesforce. Only 31 percent of respondents to the Salesforce survey say they’re fully satisfied with their ability to unify customer data sources, and while 57 percent have access to real-time data to execute campaigns, 59 percent say they need help from their IT departments to do so effectively.

As is the case in so many other software domains, in marketing AI remains the elephant in the room. Marketers identify it as both their top priority and their top challenge.

The two most popular applications of AI are predictive AI (automating customer interactions) and generative AI. But the field continues to explode with new tools emerging literally daily.

A new report from chiefmartec indicates that the martech landscape has grown for the 13th year in a row, now encompassing 14,106 marketing technology products—reflecting 27.8 percent year-over-year growth.

That’s not really such a great thing, says Typeform’s chief revenue officer, Kristen Habacht. Marketers are, she says, growing weary of being constantly bombarded by new technology. “The best tech right now is less tech,” she says.

Marketers’ jobs are hard enough “without needing to navigate tool sprawl,” she says. “Complexity is the antagonist to efficiency, and marketing leaders would do well to prioritize end-to-end solutions and tools with strong integrations, breaking down silos and creating simplified workflows for their teams. Technology can help us work faster and smarter, but at some point, it becomes less of a tool and more of a distraction.”

As marketing practitioners feel these impacts and realize both their potential benefits and related challenges, they’re looking to some important shifts on the horizon to help them successfully identify, reach, and connect with their audiences.

AI continues to be top of mind for most marketers. In truth, though, the term “AI” is becoming as generic and potentially meaningless as the word “computer” became in the 1970s. It will underpin virtually everything marketers do moving forward in a wide range of iterations that go far beyond generative AI.


“The biggest trend in digital marketing that I am noticing is a major pivot in [search engine optimization] practice,” says Joe Karasin, owner of Karasin PPC, a digital marketing firm. “With the introduction of the search generative experience (SGE), website visibility is changing at a rapid pace.” This, Karasin says, has caused realignment of content strategies for informational websites with a major shift to improved product pages on e-commerce sites.

As with past shifts in SEO, often driven by Google algorithm tweaks, these changes are primarily impacting content creation. “Websites with substandard content will not be seen in the SGE, and there won’t be nearly as much web traffic,” Karasin says. That’s because the search engine results pages (SERPs) will be providing answers to questions, he says.

Even before SGE emerged, marketers were scrambling to respond to Google’s plans to eliminate third-party cookies and the potential impact on their SEO activities.

Google started to deprecate third-party cookies in its Chrome web browser earlier this year. But these efforts have been delayed until at least early 2025. “Google’s repeated delays have bought marketing teams more time to shift to privacy-centric strategies and technologies,” Habacht says, “but this latest delay also upped the ante.”

Habacht predicts that businesses that figure out how to operate in a cookieless future, even before that future arrives, will have a competitive edge. “Right now, the leaders who are breathing a sigh of relief need a reality check,” she says. “While you’re breathing easy, your competition is picking up the pace.”

Rena Ren, Americas regional director of Baidu USA, an internet services provider, says that privacy concerns and regulatory restrictions are ushering in this cookie-less future. That leaves advertisers searching for new ways to reach their target audiences, she says.

“In a cookieless world where user tracking is increasingly difficult, contextual targeting becomes vital to ensuring precise ad delivery and compensating for the lack of user data,” Ren says. “With the cookie jar emptying, relying solely on first-party data is not enough. Advertisers need to harness the technological abilities of deep learning to fully tap into the wealth of first-party data, providing personalized advertising to users and thereby achieving advertisers’ growth targets.”

Marketers will need to think differently about how they draw traffic to their websites and how they get their messages in front of different audiences.


Advancements in AI are making digital personalization a reality, says Gurdeep Dhillon, chief marketing officer of Contentstack, a content management systems provider. “Companies will be able to tailor digital experiences to individual users better and faster than before. With the removal of technological barriers, marketers will finally be able to achieve the personalized digital experiences they’ve been striving for,” Dhillon says.

It’s not that marketers haven’t attempted to personalize their marketing efforts in the past; it’s just that they haven’t been widely successful. There are good reasons for this, Dhillon says. “First, there are so many permutations or variants needed to truly provide a highly personalized experience. Possibly in the thousands, depending on your level of complexity as a business, yet personalization technology has only supported about [1 percent] of what is needed for most businesses. Second, even if you have this technology, there are very few organizations in the world with enough power to create the content needed to support these thousands of permutations. It’s simply too overwhelming to tackle this, so most companies don’t.”

Personalization will also allow marketers to deliver more inclusive experiences, says Sara Faatz, director of technology community relations at Progress, a provider of infrastructure software. AI will help marketers gain insights, personalize content, and better understand their audiences, she says. “AI technology can also be used by marketers to deliver content in local languages and detect and mitigate unconscious bias in content.”

Dhillon agrees. “True personalization at scale will remove friction throughout the personalization process and allow marketers to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.”

The ability to highly target audiences and personalize offers might be one driver of another trend—subscriptions.


For companies, subscriptions provide a steady stream of recurring revenue and increase customer value, says Cary Lawrence, CEO of Decile, a customer data and analytics firm. “Loyalty programs, especially tiered and paid VIP models, boost customer engagement and retention by offering exclusive benefits. These strategies can lead to higher purchase frequency and improved long-term profitability.”

Lawrence recommends using first-party data to customize subscription offerings based on purchase frequency, preferences, and price sensitivity. “This personalized approach can improve customer satisfaction and retention,” he says.

While free enrollment is effective, Lawrence recommends “introducing paid VIP tiers that offer exclusive perks, such as early access to products, special discounts, and free shipping.” That helps to incentivize higher engagement and loyalty among top customers.”

Arham Khan, founder and CEO of Pixated, a marketing and web design and development agency, agrees that subscription models are popular and only expected to continue their upward trajectory.

Direct-to-consumer subscription models “are popular, as they provide a steady revenue stream and help develop long-term customer relationships. These models offer consumers convenience and personalized experiences, which are increasingly valued in today’s market,” Khan says. Subscription models, he says further, also “help DTC brands build a loyal customer base, reduce churn rates, and increase lifetime value.”

Subscription data, he notes, can be used to better understand customer preferences so offerings can be tailored accordingly.


Vitaly Gerko, chief business development officer of Viqeo.tv, an adtech platform, says that video content consumption is also continuing to gain momentum in all areas of marketing communications. “This popularity is driven by major applications in recent years, such as TikTok, which is entirely focused on short videos; Instagram, which actively promotes reels; and YouTube, a pioneer of video content that continues to maintain popularity and demand among audiences.”

Short clips, in general, capture the most viewership, Gerko says, pointing to research from wyzowl. “The sweet spot for video length is short, impactful clips,” he says, noting that 39 percent of marketers report the highest success with 30- to 60-second videos, followed closely by one- to two-minute videos (28 percent) and videos under 30 seconds (18 percent). Videos longer than three minutes account for only 5 percent of marketers’ success, they report.

“The world is becoming more visual when it comes to consuming content, which has made visual-driven platforms like YouTube/Instagram/TikTok gain popularity in selling,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a strategic marketing consulting firm. “With the rise of a generation that would much rather watch/look at something vs. sit and read, there is going to be a growing trend of more visual content,” she says.

And it includes not only video but also pictures, memes, diagrams, infographics, etc. “In a mobile-first world, you have less time to grab people, and attention spans are shorter than ever, so video will be used even more to boost rankings. The world is moving to mobile-first or mobile-only, fewer people are accessing the web on big screens, so everyone will keep tailoring their site, message, and content accordingly.”

Simply creating and posting video isn’t enough to achieve these successes, Gerko cautions. Marketers need to consider “the individual characteristics of the target audience and be creative, captivating, and meaningful.” He also recommends optimizing for different platforms and tailoring video length, style, and content to each platform’s audiences and preferences.

Amid these many shifts, marketing pros are dealing with another perhaps more personal shift.


With technology driving and enabling so much of what marketing professionals do these days, it’s no surprise to see that practitioners are seeing a shift and sometimes some conflict between their role in the process and the role their IT colleagues are increasingly playing.

“One of the biggest trends in marketing will be the move of control of the marketing function from marketing to IT roles,” Faatz predicts. She points to Gartner research indicating that 33 percent of marketing professionals say they already experienced this shift last year. She also notes that Zylo’s 2024 SaaS Management Index reports that the average organization has 269 apps, “so it’s unsurprising that we’re seeing a shift in marketing technology ownership from the marketing function to IT.”

It’s a shift, Faatz says, that “allows a consolidation of data and tools across the organization, saving time and money.” But, she adds: “Along with this shift comes increased empowerment for marketing professionals.” Workato’s 2024 Work Automation Index, she says, showed that 44 percent of all automated processes are built outside of IT.

And, of course, despite the increasing impact and role of technology in marketing, a solid grasp of marketing fundamentals will remain important to apply that technology most effectively and efficiently.


One interesting trend pointed out by Ben Guttmann, who teaches digital marketing at Baruch College in New York and is the author of Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win—and How to Design Them, is a return to the fundamentals. “Who knows if TikTok will be here next year? Is the cookie dead for real? Is the metaverse a flop, or is it coming back? With so much just unknown, this is a good time to return to the fundamentals of building a strong brand, telling a good story, and just plain focusing on message,” Guttman says. “Technologies change, but humans don’t.”

This wisdom, he says, also translates to the platforms that make the most sense for investments right now. “The two oldest and unsexiest digital tools will be your best bet: web and email. They’ve both been around for 30 years, and they’ll probably be around for the next 30 years.” 

Linda Pophal is a freelance business journalist and content marketer who writes for various business and trade publications. Pophal does content marketing for Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and individuals on a wide range of subjects, from human resource management and employee relations to marketing, technology, healthcare industry trends, and more.

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