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Challenge Concept

Marketing Challenges Predicted for 2024: AI, Google’s EEAT & More!

The calendar years may change but the marketing merry-go-round continues the same with small and medium-sized companies continually chasing marketing trends to keep up with the constantly changing tastes of today’s consumers.

As the Houston Chronicle put it, “It is nearly impossible for small companies to stay complacent with their marketing and advertising. A major reason is that a competitor may initiate a marketing strategy that challenges a small company’s position in the marketplace.”

And we all know that once you get off the merry-go-round it is hard to get back on in the same place if it keeps revolving.

Fortunately, HubSpot’s Caroline Forsey has outlined five marketing challenges in 2024 that will need to be overcome.

“2023 was a whirlwind,” wrote Forsey. “For one, there were the enormous strides in AI that resulted in massive shifts across the marketing industry. Besides AI, there have been massive shifts in how content ranks on search engines due to Google's new EEAT search ranking factors. Consumer buying behavior has changed drastically, as well, with an increasing number of consumers turning to social media to shop.”

Let’s examine the top 5 marketing challenges highlighted by Forsey and her solution for overcoming them in 2024:

  1. Bridging the Gap: Facilitating Strong Sales and Marketing Alignment: Ever watch a football game and players on the same team seem to be on pages from entirely different playbooks? It can be that way in business where sales and marketing teams go in their own directions with very little collaboration or communication.

    Writes Forsey: “Strong sales and marketing alignment is critical for any successful organization. And yet, it's undeniably challenging to facilitate strong communication to help these two teams work better together.”

    Sales and marketing teams are often isolated from each other, leading to different priorities and goals, as well as separate analytics and data processes.

    Why is this important? HubSpot says that organizations that have their marketing and sales teams on the same page in the company playbook can expect 27 percent fast profit growth and 36 percent higher customer retention.

    The HubSpot article says that to help align these two teams, try the following:
    • Clearly define common goals and objectives for the two teams.
    • Communication must be transparent between teams.
    • A company culture of collaboration must be cultivated.
    • Your customer relationship management (CRM) system must be accessible to both teams.
    • Marketers should hone their activities based on sales team feedback.
  1. Your Most Important Sales Pitch: Recruiting Top Talent: Is it just us or has hiring (and retaining!) top talent been a marketing concern since the pandemic launched a new workplace dynamic?

    Writes Forsey: “The strength of your marketing team starts and ends with the talent you employ. While it's one of the most important components of a strong marketing team, it’s also one of the most challenging aspects.”

    HubSpot says that more than one-third of marketers say that finding top talent is their No. 1 challenge.

    Demands for higher wages and better benefits plus a new appetite for work-life balance and hybrid working arrangements, make it tougher than ever to recruit and keep top talent.

    HubSpot says your most important sales pitch next year might not be to customers but to the talent you are recruiting. What can you do? Try the following:
    • Consider direct outreach vs. impersonalized pitches.
    • Make job profiles specific with clearly defined attributes.
    • Find out what motivates top-talent candidates and use it to recruit them.
    • Build a pipeline for long-term recruiting vs. one-and-done outreach.
  1. Listen Up! Understanding the Social Issues Your Audience Cares For: At adWhite we understand that social issues are a very important topic today – especially to the younger Millennials and Gen Z generations – but we also know it can be a fraught subject that can have as much downside as upside.

    HubSpot highlights that nearly half (45 percent) of consumers think bands need to do more on social justice issues, but the key for companies is to understand precisely which social issues their audience cares for.

    “The brands that take a stance on social issues that matter to their audience will have an easier time connecting with their prospects and customers. People want to buy from brands that care about things that matter to them,” writes Forsey.

    Complicating things is that almost one-third of marketers lack concrete data on the social causes that resonate with their audiences.

    Social listening tools and surveys can be some of the tools to utilize to ascertain what social issues your audience is attuned to.

    Threading the needle on these issues, however, is not easy as brands need to approach the subject in an authentic fashion – ill-time or misinformed attempts at social issues can do more harm than good!
  2. Job One: Creating Content that Generates Leads: Yes, content is still king! And 24 percent of marketers tell Hubspot that their top challenge is creating content that generates leads.

    Acronyms have their moment on this point with AI (artificial intelligence, for those without an internet connection for the past five years!) and EEAT (Google's new search ranking systems which stands for Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) the key players.

    Experience is the new addition to the Google search quality guidelines.

    “Because they added an “E” for experience — which means now, ensuring your content is written by someone with credible, first-hand experience on the topic is vital for increasing your website's value,” wrote Forsey.

    While AI has eaten some of the page views that previously flowed via Google to your content pages, we also are learning that AI simply can not produce personality-driven content so generating content with strong and unique voices in 2024 will be more important than ever.

    Employing experienced content writers who are experts in their subject matter can help your marketing efforts connect with your audience, rank high on Google’s search, and outclass any AI-generated content.

    And as always, the end game is to create content that generates leads, otherwise your time and resources are misguided.
  3. Social Media Staying Power: Gaining and Keeping Followers: Ah, the fickle fate of keeping those social media followers … It's getting harder and harder as social media users are more selective than ever.

    HubSpot says that 18 percent of marketers say that gaining and keeping followers on social media is a major challenge.

    Forsey says that social media users are quick to unfollow to free up their bandwidth for other content if they do not perceive value from what content they are offering.

    One interesting aspect is that one expert interviewed by HubSpot says that companies need to consider that influencers do not have to always come from outside their organization but in 2024 they could cultivate influences from within their own organization.

    You might even be on the lookout for the next iteration of “influencers” as “evangelists” are a trend that relies on employees, customers, executives, partners, and yes, influencers as a group that can create and co-create content that people trust.

Of course, the carousel will keep spinning, and before 2024 gets going, we can expect many new marketing challenges!