Predictions are a tricky business. You want to give just enough detail to be relevant and meaningful, but not too much specificity, in case you’re completely wrong. Because that would be embarrassing.
So with that caveat in mind, as we dive headfirst into the breaking wave that is 2024, let's cut to the chase with some predictions tailored just for you.
2024: Prediction 1- Election mania – noise, overwhelm, boredom
There are a lot of big elections this year around the world. And here in the US of A, we have a really big one coming up! It already feels like we have been talking about it for a year, but the noise around it is only going to get louder. The election news cycle already has a major impact on the media landscape and everyone’s opinions and moods. Some people are going to be thinking about it all the time, and some people will try to avoid thinking about it as much as possible. What are your customers doing? No one operates in a vacuum, and while you may be the most apolitical company in the world, your customers will be impacted by what’s coming.
2024: Prediction 2 - Recession-sensitivity – will we, won’t we?
Last year, it felt like we were waiting for the other shoe to drop all year. But it didn’t. Last spring, I heard the term recession-sensitive and thought that was apt, given the hesitancy with spending I saw across the board. This year this uncertainty is starting all over again. Will we in the US manage to avoid a recession for another year? Apparently, this year the possibility of a recession is 30%, whereas usually it is 15%. Are we going to see another year of hesitant spending by businesses?
2024: Prediction 3 - How to beat AI – get human-centric
Already, consumers don’t even need to leave Google to get factual answers to their questions. And as AI becomes more sophisticated, they’ll have to leave Google less and less. So, what can’t the robots do? Well, for the moment, they can’t relay the human experience. They can’t tell an anecdote of their personal experience with something and that’s what connects. People connect with people, so if you want your brand to connect with others, you better start showing your human side, rather than churning out the same factual content that the AI will do better.
My rule of thumb amidst all this chaos is to create content for people, not the algorithm, and try not to game Google – because it won’t work for long. Over the years, there have been lots of hacks to quickly grow traffic, or get you to the number one spot on Google, but inevitably Google changes how it operates, and things change. The back end of your website is very important to get right, but don’t try to be clever, Google is cleverer.
2024: Prediction 4 - How to beat the rest – use AI
That being said, I think AI is here to stay and the efficiency gains are so incredible that if your team isn’t using the tools that are starting to proliferate, you will fall behind, particularly in marketing. As the platforms we use (Websites, YouTube, social media, etc) become increasingly sophisticated, it takes more time to engage with them effectively, but a large part of the grunt work (keywords, metadata, alt tags, hashtags, repurposing existing content, etc) can now be done by machines, leaving you with more brain space to do the stuff that matters. If you try to do all of that manually in 2024, you’ll drown.
2024: Prediction 5 - Moving targets – the shifting sands of the online world
This is going to be another fun year if you’re in marketing and trying to send emails figure out if your digital ads are working, or track traffic accurately to your website. Or just trying to keep your digital presence consistent, let alone create the growth that everyone expects to see!
From February 1st we’re all going to have to ensure that our email domains are authenticated so that our audience actually receives our emails. Also, third-party cookies are coming to an end in 2024. As a consumer, this is great news. For lots of marketers out them who use them to track behavior, not do much.
Plus ça change…
Don’t worry though, because the more things change, the more they stay the same. The nice thing about all this is that even with technology evolving at the speed of light, people are still people. Their habits may change, they may look at screens more than they look out the window but they’re still people operating with 100,000-year-old brains. There are some basic things that all humans want – whether they’re boomers or generation Alpha. They might talk differently and have different values, but people still want to connect with other people, feel safe, and feel like they belong. So make them feel something.
The first step in that is the cardinal rule for this and any year. Get to know YOUR audience, don’t make assumptions, and stay in touch with their human side in this age of tech.
Good luck out there!