Socio-political polarization, the potential of generative AI, masculinity in crisis, “sportswashing”, and community-based sustainability are five key trends that have reached an inflection point and will shape global marketing strategies in 2024. That said, “Gen AI” use is perhaps the biggest takeaway from new research presented by WARC in its just-released Marketer’s Toolkit 2024, released Wednesday.
The trend identification for the report is based on WARC’s new proprietary GEISTE methodology (Government, Economy, Industry, Society, Technology, Environment). It further incorporates a global survey of 1,400+ marketing executives, one-to-one interviews with CMOs, industry commentary, and analysis, data and insights from WARC’s global team of experts.
“Marketers globally continue to be concerned about the economic picture with 64% of survey respondents seeing it as the biggest factor in 2024 planning, but a majority (61%) of firms expect improved business performance next year, up 10% from last year,” says Aditya Kishore, a WARC Insight Director who notes that WARC forecasts global adspend to grow 8.2% in 2024, topping $1 trillion for the first time.
As WARC sees it, generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) has crossed the threshold from promise to practical deployment, overhauling media strategies and audience targeting. In 2024, WARC will see brands look to capitalize on the emergence of accessible Gen AI tools to experiment with creative development.
Nearly three-quarters (70%) of respondents to the Marketer’s Toolkit survey plan to unlock the potential of AI in their marketing, 12% of which will look to adopt the technology wherever they can and over half (58%) describe themselves as “cautiously progressive”, actively testing and evaluating Gen AI in marketing. However, such opportunities come with potential risks including brand safety, copyright, sustainability and agency remuneration.
“The question is, how do you build [AI] into a scaled organizational competency?,” asks Jonathan Halvorson, Global SVP of Consumer Experience & Digital Commerce at Mondelez. “That is the obsession of every single day, every single week for the next 18 months. Because it’s a race you have to win.”