5 Digital Marketing Trends in 2024 Your Students Need to Know
The past 12 months have been transformative for digital marketers. For one, the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) has changed how businesses operate and offers marketers the opportunity to get deeper insights into customers and make data-driven decisions.
In addition, consumer behaviour continues to evolve as the online journey now includes multiple touchpoints while the reinvention of Twitter to X has created waves for social media networks.
So what does 2024 hold for digital marketing and how can budding marketers prepare? We’ve identified five key trends your students should know about.
- Growth in AI
- An Omnichannel Approach
- Storytelling & Creative Content
- Social Media Realigns
1. Growth in AI
The value of AI is expected to grow to nearly $300 billion in 2024 to reach nearly $2 trillion in 2030 according to Statista. That’s phenomenal growth considering it was once considered an inaccessible technology for a tech-gifted few.
While you may have heard about Chat GPT’s role in content marketing or Google’s Generative Search Experience for search marketing, there’s a lot more to AI than just one or two well-publicised brand names. There’s huge scope for AI to drive productivity and optimise marketing campaigns.
So, what can marketers effectively use AI for?
- Generate and optimise content
- Dive deep into data to gain insights
- Boost customer service
- Drive automation
- Segment audiences
- Drive personalization
- Social media listening
With AI in 2024, it’s about being smarter with what it’s used for and integrating it into daily tasks so it’s a tool rather than something you rely on for everything.
Customers want and expect more from brands, especially when using their personal information. They want to receive relevant information that’s of interest and relates to their experience with that company or brand.
Enter hyper-personalization, custom, and targeted experiences that use data, analytics, automation, and AI. In other words, your marketing students need to understand how to use in-house data to drive engagement and conversions.
According to Twilio’s annual State of Personalization Report, 56 of customers value personalization so highly, that they would become repeat buyers after a personalised experience (a 7% lift from the previous year)
How can your students tap into this trend?
- Learn how to gather and analyse first-party data – the demise of cookies makes first-party data king, so use any available to gain insights
- Understand how to segment customers – It’s crucial to know where customers come from and then segment them into lists. Did they visit your site from paid media, a free ebook download, or a social media post?
- Learn how to build and refine personas – Personas are the crib sheet for a brand’s typical or ideal customer. Teach students how to create ones based on data and knowledge.
- Understand the customer journey – From the first point of contact to purchase, understanding what people do and why they do it will help personalise the experience and messaging.
3. Adopt an Omnichannel Approach
There’s no one channel that brands can rely on to drive conversions anymore. What’s now important is being consistent and convincing on multiple platforms.
Using an omnichannel approach, marketers use multiple channels that are connected but also interconnected and interactive, allowing for maximum engagement with the customer.
This is not a new trend but it keeps growing in importance as customers move from one device to another within seconds. Plus, it connects offline and online channels, bringing the experience from virtual to bricks and mortar in a way that leaves customers feeling good about a brand.
For example, a customer may have seen a social media ad and clicked through to a web page. From there they choose to read reviews on that product but are not ready to buy. The next day the customer goes into a store to find the item they reviewed, tries it on and then decides to buy.
Make sure to integrate omnichannel marketing into your students’ learning so they take a 360 view of the customer journey.
4. Storytelling & Creative Content
Content marketing has been around for a long time and there’s a reason for that – it works! But there’s so much competition for the attention of customers, what’s really going to make content in 2024 stand out?
The simple answer is storytelling that’s authentic and demonstrates leadership. With so much AI-generated content across channels, people will seek out ’real brands’ with a story or a vision they relate to.
This means your students need to understand the power of using an authentic and compelling message in campaigns. One that connects with a brand’s target audience and one interesting enough to drive an action whether that’s clicking into a product page or signing up to get a free template.
“In 2024, content marketers should focus on human storytelling, thought leadership, and ROI to combat the flood of AI-driven sameness. Authentic narratives, sharing industry expertise, and demonstrating ROI will be key. Content amplification will also take on a bigger role in content plans in 2024,” Michael Brenner, Founder of the Marketing Insider Group told the Content Marketing Institute.
5. A Social Media Realignment
While Facebook has long been the top player in the social media realm, things may shift and realign in 2024.
Could this be the year for the younger person’s favourite network TikTok or the B2B powerhouse network, LinkedIn to outperform the rest, or could Meta’s newest network Threads (a rival to X) pull some punches?
Experts predict that there will be a realignment in social media. Could social media become more of a media platform than a social media network or will its search engine power and social commerce capacities drive domination?
“By the end of 2024, we may see new platforms emerge quickly with more users than formerly tried-and-true platforms. New power plays will emerge. It might be Threads, Blue Sky, or something that we haven’t seen yet, but there’s going to be a realignment in this space,” said Tiffany Grinstead, VP of Personal Lines Marketing at Fortune 100 company Nationwide.
There’s also a desire amongst customers for connections and communities, something brands can nurture on social media. While user-generated content that’s authentic may help brands get in front of the right people at the right time.
Conclusion: Digital Marketing Trends 2024
As you can see, there’s a lot to be excited about for digital marketing in 2024. As the landscape evolves and shifts, it’s up to you as an educator to prepare the next generation of marketers for the opportunities and challenges ahead.
It’s important to help students embrace AI but understand that it’s part of a bigger picture to work alongside other channels and disciplines to create compelling, story-led campaigns and messaging that resonate with customers.
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