In today’s digital space, technological advancements are revolutionizing how people engage and redefining how brands connect. This transformation is ongoing. Driven by an increasingly fragmented, expansive marketing landscape, coupled with shifting consumer expectations and behaviors, the need to create distinctive, personalized, and purposeful experiences is more urgent than ever.
To stand out, brands must understand the forces at play—the trends, technologies, and truths that are reshaping this landscape and the people in it. As we wrapped up 2023, our experts at Razorfish offered their collective inputs on the forces that will define 2024, and what they mean for brand marketers.
Moving at the speed of generative AI
It’s time to get real about content provenance.
Let 2023 be remembered as the year we needed to confirm that Pope Francis was not “repping Balenciaga.” While the photo of his Holiness in a white puffer coat is one instance of an AI-generated deepfake, it certainly won’t be the last. As generative AI use rises, brands will face challenges like disinformation, misrepresentation, and content overload. While governance standards take shape, brands must build their frameworks to safeguard their most precious asset: consumer trust.
Forget about efficiency—generative AI is about scaling imagination.
Over the past year, tech and marketing leaders celebrated generative AI’s incredible efficiency-boosting power. But it’s important to remember that GenAI serves as a creative engine well before it acts as an accelerator. Innovative brands can utilize this technology to overcome production limitations and scale personalization beyond their imagination. Brand marketers now embrace a growth equation where fidelity + scale surpasses mere efficiency. The key lies not just in adopting GenAI but in deploying it impactfully and meaningfully across the business.
The year of owned
A dotcom renaissance and reinvention
GenAI tools like Bard and ChatGPT are redefining the search experience. With people expecting immediate answers for basic queries on search-engine response pages, brands need to rethink the role of the owned site within the consumer journey. However, the dotcom page is not obsolete; it's evolving. The upcoming year promises a website renaissance, rendering the dotcom nearly unrecognizable as brands adapt to changing user behaviors and expectations.
Everything about the traditional page can be reimagined: site architecture, SEO strategy, brand, and product detail pages—even global navigation bars may soon give way to AI assistants.
Experience is king.
Once upon a time, the site experience picked up where search left off. Social pointed to site for purchases, and site sent consumers to social to find community. Today, there’s no such thing as a rigid channel distinction. To engage easily distracted consumers, brands need to rethink how they can create a connected experience across all channels. Intercepting, attracting, and retaining consumers’ attention in 2024 will require teams to orient themselves under a unified view of value to the consumer and the business. By connecting and optimizing the end-to-end experience, organizations can achieve happier consumers and higher brand revenue.
The importance of authentic connections
Welcome to the digital suburbs.
The platform landscape isn’t just fragmented—it’s sprawling. As people crave highly personalized and unique experiences, they are bypassing algorithm recommendations and gravitating to spaces where they can find connections and communities they crave. As a result, previously underutilized platforms are becoming more impactful places for brand experiences, and the role of established platforms is evolving. This ongoing evolution and expansion will require brands to constantly monitor and adapt their engagement strategy based on where their consumers want to be and what they want to see.
Interest-based organic experiences are back.
As authentic engagement becomes more important than ever, a reemergence of organic content is transforming how people connect and where they engage. Interest-based and creative-led organic content is being favored once again within algorithm-based newsfeeds, challenging paid promotions. This trend underscores the importance of data ownership and value-based experiences, and each platform is only going to further fortify its walled garden of data to compete for relevance and time spent in-app, particularly as we enter the cookieless present (and future).
Understand Gen Z, but don’t neglect the Digital Boomers.
Gen Z is an important and often elusive target, but brands can’t overlook the wealthiest (and most ignored) generational cohort: the Digital Boomers. Currently representing 20% of the U.S. population and possessing an average net worth of $1.7 million, this group is responsible for more than 20% of spending. And yet they are one of the least mentioned segments across the marketing landscape. To reach this group, brands need to understand who they are as people; what matters to them and what drives their decisions; their relationship to e-commerce; and what they look for when purchasing online. Download our report on Digital Boomers, conducted in partnership with GWI, here.
Novel experience spaces
Social platforms turn up the heat on commerce.
The current global social commerce market is valued at $2.4 trillion—a figure that is expected to grow to $8.5 trillion by 2030. Soon, one in six e-commerce purchases will come from social, opening substantial new sales channels for brands. One example is TikTok, which has launched several shoppable features with the goal of hitting $20 billion in sales and picking up 9.6 million social buyers this year. At the same time, organizations need to remember that change in this space happens quickly. It’s important to activate and test social storefronts now—while remaining vigilant about evolving user preferences and platform dynamics.
2024 will be the first year of a truly XR future.
The convergence of GenAI advancements and platform investments in wearables signals the impending nature of an XR future. With the potential to quickly expand and radically change how audiences see, hear, feel, and experience brand marketing, the time to invest in XR experimentation is now. By seamlessly blending digital and physical realities, brands can position themselves to evolve faster and lead when adoption grows.
Seizing what’s next in digital marketing.
As we head into 2024, brands find themselves at a unique juncture. Despite the technological convergence defining the competitive landscape, the key to success is standing out. By staying ahead of the trends, brands can create the distinctive, personalized, and purposeful experiences that consumers expect.