2024 is already set to be a transformative year for marketers, with emerging trends that promise to reshape the way brands connect with their audiences—and at a faster change of pace than ever before. We've already touched on a few of the key trends that are shaping marketers' strategies and priorities in our recently published CES recap, but to add a touch of excitement to a year of new possibilities, we’ve polled leadership from across our practices and solutions to gather their predictions for 2024.
Among these are the successful implementation of artificial intelligence in marketing strategies, the advent of new interfaces for engaging with technology, and the creation of a new class of experiences that are more immersive and personalized than ever before. Let’s dive in!
Data foundations remain crucial for successful AI implementation.
“Enterprise clients will continue to emphasize building internal AI capabilities, which will vastly increase the demand for data and the systems required to manage it at scale,” predicts Tyler Pietz, Global EVP, Data. Indeed, a solid data foundation is the price of entry for successful AI implementation, especially as brands look beyond third-party cookies to better understand their audiences and build ownership of their data. By first creating fresh, predictive and prescriptive data streams that feed into AI workflows, brands can ensure their AI implementations are not only successful but are also self-evolving and constantly improving the accuracy of insights and predictions.
This will usher in a new crop of technology vendors and service partners that can operate in a highly modular fashion.
One can see this with our recently announced Monks.Flow professional managed service, which connects talent trained in AI, the latest AI tools, enterprise software and microservices into efficient, automated workflows. By integrating Monks.Flow into the Salesforce ecosystem, for example, we bring the creative capacity that brands need to personalize customer journeys at a granular level. This partnership allows us to fulfill the promise of digital: one-to-one personalization at scale.
The marketing structure will evolve to enable content at scale.
Brands are preparing for another great shift in 2024: transforming their marketing structure. “Clients are shifting from traditional models to content at scale structures. These content models continue to be bespoke, some of which are built in-house while others rely on third parties,” says Dave Carey, Global EVP, Studio & Embedded Solutions.
Carey, who has a background in helping brands spin up in-house studios and embedded services and leads the Studio.Monks, sees an opportunity to deliver a tech-first vision to brands looking to shake up their marketing structure. Rather than focus solely on the talent portion of the implementation, for example, brands can organize themselves around AI-centered workflows designed to enable seamless collaboration. “AI is changing the way content is created. Clients are looking for transformation AI agencies to help them understand and implement new ways to create content,” he says.
Marketers will aim to integrate media, content and commerce.
AI can help with far more than content creation, serving as an integrative force across content, data and media, a key goal that VP, Media Enablement - GTM New Business Victoria Milo sees emerging in 2024. Prompted by a reorganization of the media landscape—including consolidation of media partners and agencies—and a slowdown of growth in the media industry, brands will increasingly seek to solve media challenges with non-media solutions fueled by AI.
We are going to see a lot of brands finally bring their paid, organic and influencer strategies under one roof and fully integrate commerce into their media organizations.
AI-powered innovations in platforms will connect customer insights and user experiences.
A brand’s own platform is a great spot to better align behavioral insights and user experience. Thankfully, digital experience platforms like Adobe Experience Manager are integrating AI features in service of these goals, says Business Lead Platforms & Ecommerce Remco Vroom, who leads the Platform.Monks. These features enable brands to apply dynamic learning capabilities to anticipate and adapt to user needs with remarkable speed and precision.
Adobe Sensei is one example, which combines generative AI with integrated workflows to deliver customer experiences at a scale previously unimaginable. Meanwhile, Salesforce is incorporating generative AI features that enable teams to produce enriched content and journeys at scale by utilizing customer data. This integration of AI within digital experience platforms will continue to revolutionize how brands respond to user needs in real time.
These features help underscore our own approach to platform development: generating actionable behavioral insights, then applying those insights to craft a superior user experience. “As we develop more intelligent digital solutions, our aim is to lead the change by establishing a new standard for digital ecosystems that think, learn, and grow. The future is performance-first, data-driven and AI-empowered," says Vroom.
The first global, AI-powered influencer will enter the chat.
Over the years, virtual influencers have, well, significantly grown their influence. What these digital humans do, say and share with their audiences are still crafted by teams of real people, much like fictional mascots of old—but this year, EVP, Global Head of Social Amy Luca, who leads the Social.Monks, expects to see a truly global, AI-generated influencer spring onto the scene. “This generative AI personality will be able to communicate in any language at scale, connect with cultures, and will be trained to be brand safe,” she says. They will likely be a lifestyle of fashion influencer, similar to Lil Miquela, but will enable a completely new level of one-to-one consumer communication at scale. Another possibility: bringing people back to life.
This will usher in a new era of generative AI personalities that can do everything from reading the news, advising on health issues or providing information of any kind in a conversational and human-centered tone.
Marketers will elevate the role of immersive brand experiences.
Virtual humans are just one way that brands can better fuel one-to-one interactions at scale. And overall, Global EVP, Experience and leader of the Experience.Monks Jordan Cuddy expects to see brands focus more strongly on elevating consumer experiences in 2024 and beyond, citing a recent report that 71% executives plan to increase brand marketing in 2024, while only 46% intend to do the same for performance marketing.
But marketers face a dilemma: performance is easy to measure—think impressions, click-through rates and impressions—but the death of the cookie will challenge those strategies. Meanwhile, it’s harder to measure the effectiveness of an immersive brand experience. “Agencies need to be able to provide the feedback loop on ROI (loyalty, conversion, engagement, sentiment and opinion) in the shift toward more immersive experiences,” says Cuddy—an opportunity that will likely be helped by Milo’s earlier point about integrating strategies under one roof.
Emotional intelligence will be key to striking a chord with audiences.
Likewise, Head of Brand Design and Brand.Monks leader Jonny Singh sees an opportunity for emotionally resonant brand experiences in 2024. “As the trend towards personalization intensifies, brands will naturally elevate interactions to a new level of intelligence, tailoring experiences intricately to individual preferences,” he says. “However, amidst the technological wave, the emotional element remains pivotal, emphasizing the importance and power of storytelling.”
With a backdrop of global uncertainty, emotionally resonant content across the customer journey will go a long way in helping brands maintain relevance and resilience. “Brands that will come to the forefront this year will be ones that combine function and emotion, using logic and magic to think, make and create new futures, now,” says Singh.
Ambient computing will begin making its way into the mainstream.
In addition to virtual humans, ambient computing is another compelling evolution of how we will engage with technology. Brady Brim-DeForest, CEO of Formula.Monks, our technology services practice, envisions the dawn of truly pervasive and transparent software powered by AI. "I see 2024 as the beginning of the rise of true ambient computing. I think we’ll look back at the middle of the 2020s as ‘peak screen’—the future of work is coming fast and it will largely be screenless," he says. If you’ve interacted with a voice assistant on a connected speaker or wearable, then you’ve already dipped your toes into the screenless future. Now, generative AI will make these agents smarter and more reactive to user needs.
Brim-DeForest expects the way we interface with technology will evolve beyond verbal speech, as seen with emerging technologies like Neuralink. Brain implants may be a while away, but ambient computing isn’t far-fetched; in a recent episode of the Nex6 Project, Brim-Deforest explained how software has followed a trend of abstraction that will make these screenless experiences inevitable—and more natural, meshing seamlessly with our everyday routines.
AI innovation will focus less on hype, more on practicality.
Building on Brim-DeForest’s perspective on seamless technology use, Sander van der Vegte, VP, Emerging Tech and R&D on the Labs.Monks, sees an imminent shift towards more accessible and practical AI applications after a year of hype.
Getting started with AI is still difficult for many. Making it more accessible is required to increase adoption, and therefore supports long-term success for AI tool companies.
Van der Vegte notes a move away from the hype surrounding AI towards a more pragmatic approach that more realistic about AI's capabilities and use cases. “Its output is pretty good, but not great out of the box," he adds, creating a need for bespoke models that integrate with a brand’s production pipeline.
Here’s to the year ahead!
Time will tell if these predictions will come to fruition in 2024. Regardless, the convergence of AI, new interfaces and immersive experiences is providing new opportunities for brands to connect with their audiences in meaningful and innovative ways. Brands who successfully navigate this terrain will be those that adapt quickly, build robust data foundations, and embrace the potential of AI.
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