Where will we be in 2023? The industry has its say…

crystal ballsWith most marketing professionals returning to work from the Christmas break, many will be wondering what 2023 is likely to bring, amid major concerns around budget cuts and the ongoing cost of living crisis.

With this in mind, Decision Marketing quizzes industry experts to gauge what they believe brands should be focusing on in the next 12 months.

Mediaocean vice-president of of social strategy Megan Gall is in little doubt that, while usage of social channels and platforms is an essential and permanent component of any business’ marketing strategy, brand must remember that consumer activity on these platforms is extremely fluid. Marketers need to be aware of this and manage their activity accordingly.

As Gall is quick to point out, many of the popular social media platforms from the early 2000s, such as Friendster and Bebo, no longer exist. Despite reaching a significant user base at the time, consumers moved towards newer platforms, including the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat in the 2010s. This churn certainly has not slowed in recent years, with the rapid rise in popularity of platforms such as Tik Tok and BeReal.

Gall explains: “These platforms are indicative of a new generation and a new way of thinking. Brands are having to work harder to retain their customers, who are increasingly demanding more from the businesses they engage with. Consumers increasingly want to see brands with purpose. Those who care about more than just their bottom line and which demonstrate a level of authenticity in their approach.

“In 2023 and beyond, we can expect to see marketers continue to utilise the established social platforms in their campaigns but also increase focus on TikTok and BeReal, driving creative flex and the attention of the hard-to-reach Gen Z. One thing to watch out for will be BeReal’s next step to maturity and what monetisation model it lands on.”

For Tom Smith, chief executive at CEO at consumer insights business GWI, it is the new advertising channels that will dominate.

He adds: “We’re going to see a proliferation of new advertising options open up as companies look to grow margins and a faster path to profitability as the headwinds of reduced tech valuations continue. Uber, Lyft, Deliveroo, Disney+ and Netflix are gearing up ads offerings. These are great opportunities for marketers and a much more competitive ads landscape. Expect more to come in 2023 and a new era of innovation.”

Meanwhile, Esther Flammer, chief marketing officer at work management specialist Wrike, predicts that marketing will take the lead in breaking down business silos.

She continues: “Marketing is not a support arm. It’s a strategic driver of the business, and it works closely with every department across the organisation. That means marketers don’t think in silos, they think cross-functionally.

“To demonstrate true leadership, marketing will need to partner more closely with sales to deliver maximum ROI, as well as with product teams to ensure their 2023 roadmap is built with customer retention and expansion in mind.

“And, as one of the biggest champions of work management solutions within their organisation, they hold the power to bring teams together to achieve shared goals.

“Marketing and IT have an opportunity to work side-by-side in 2023 to demonstrate how efficiency and productivity can be improved by bringing all departments together into one digital workspace.”

Finally, Doug Straton, chief customer evangelist at retail technology group Bazaarvoice, believes user generated content will be a major driving force in the year ahead.

He explains: “Since the dawn of marketing, brands have been fixated with creating and delivering impactful content that drives consumer’s perception of – and belief in – their products. But the control that brands once had through just a few one-way communication channels is, by way of connected devices and platforms, a relic of the past. People turn to other people to tell them what is real and what is not, what’s out, good or bad.

“Unsurprisingly, consumers trust authentic content generated by other shoppers just like themselves much more than branded content. User-generated content is seen as far more authentic than content that comes from a brand. It’s not that brands are irrelevant, it’s just that they need to work with consumers to help solidify their proposition.”

Straton maintains that, with the explosion of media channels and unique content types, it is hard for brands to create content fast or cost effectively enough to meet the insatiable demand for content by today’s always-online consumer.

He adds: “Even if our agency or in-house creative teams were to work twice as much and have twice the budget – both unrealistic in these economic times – we would still fall short of the content creation needed to keep their followers and customers engaged. This is where UGC comes into play. This is content that consumers are already making, usually for next to nothing, I might add.

“Branded content will always be useful and have its place, but to meet the demand and different types of content, brands will need to better balance high-quality self-produced content with highly-curated and on-brand UGC.

“This is where, to be successful, companies will need to ensure that their processes, organisational wiring, and technology underpinning their content creation and management are all connected. They’ll need to build a purpose-built content supply chain that allows them to create, curate, manage and distribute content at scale regardless of channel – and to balance their content mix between brand-generated and UGC.

“This will allow them to meet the content demand consumers require. Not only will this allow them to have the quantity required, it also puts more emphasis on high-quality content that converts due to its authenticity.”

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