The world of marketing is in a perpetual state of evolution, shaped by technological advancements, evolving consumer behaviours, and innovative strategies. Looking ahead to 2024, a variety of trends promise to redefine the way brands engage with their audience and drive growth. Here’s some thoughts from us.
The Evolution of Conversational AI Continues
Conversational AI is on the brink of a transformative leap, poised to reshape the landscape of customer interactions fundamentally. Beyond the confines of traditional chatbots, the evolution of advanced AI-powered conversational tools is revolutionising how brands engage with their audiences. AI agents are being introduced by brands with capabilities ranging from predictive lead scoring to offering tailored product recommendations, AI agents are adept at interacting with customers across diverse touchpoints, spanning apps, websites, and voice assistant platforms.
Furthermore, the integration of advanced conversational AI transcends mere communication—it ushers in a new era of customer-centricity. Brands are leveraging these tools to not only provide immediate and relevant assistance but also to anticipate customer needs and preferences. We believe there are certain things that AI can do, however, human interaction remains crucial. That personal touch is what can make many businesses continue to stand out in a world of automation.
AI can’t give you a great haircut or massage those knots out of your shoulders. We’re all for making life easier but these needs to go hand in hand with the human touch in our opinion.
Here are a few examples of UK brands that have been early adopters of advanced conversational AI technology –
– HSBC – The bank has implemented conversational AI assistants to handle common customer service queries, provide personalised financial advice, and simplify transactions through voice commands.
– Ocado – The online supermarket uses AI bots to provide tailored recommendations and meal planning assistance based on individual customer preferences and past purchases.
– Sky – The broadcasting company offers customers conversational AI support for troubleshooting issues and making account changes using natural language on their website and mobile app.
– Aviva – The insurance provider leverages conversational AI for interactive guides that help customers find the right policies and make alterations easily through speech.
– BT – The telecom giant has incorporated AI chatbots on their website and app to handle billing questions, technical assistance, and other common customer issues efficiently.
– The Body Shop – The cosmetics retailer implemented AI-powered chatbot consultants on their e-commerce site to provide skincare and makeup recommendations personalised for each customer.
By adopting conversational AI early on, these UK brands are able to provide next-generation customer experiences that feel personalised while also enhancing operational efficiency.
The Rise of the Creator Economy
The landscape of influencer marketing has evolved dramatically, with influencers transforming into versatile creators across multiple content mediums. Brands now face a crucial opportunity to fully embrace this shift towards a multifaceted creator economy. Collaborating with influencers who extend their content horizons beyond traditional social media posts opens doors to a plethora of innovative content formats such as podcasts, newsletters, digital merchandise, and more. These diversified avenues present brands with an unparalleled opportunity to connect with audiences on a deeper level, tapping into the diverse interests and preferences of consumers across various platforms.
Gone are the days when influencer collaborations solely revolved around sponsored posts; authentic partnerships in this creator economy pave the way for a relationship between creators and brands. Not only do creators benefit from increased artistic freedom and revenue streams, but brands also gain access to a wider array of engagement channels. By fostering genuine partnerships that resonate with audiences on a more personal level, brands can effectively leverage the creator economy’s expansive reach and authenticity, thereby fostering stronger connections with consumers while driving brand loyalty and recognition in an increasingly competitive market landscape.
Here are some examples of UK influencers expanding beyond traditional social media content –
Jim Chapman – This lifestyle influencer has launched multiple YouTube shows, a podcast called “Phil & Jim”, and a book.
Zoella – The YouTube beauty creator has leveraged her brand into books, apps, merchandise and a lifestyle website.
Joe Wicks – Known as The Body Coach, he has grown his fitness influencer brand into cookbooks, an activewear line, TV shows and more.
Giovanna Fletcher – She has a successful podcast called “Happy Mum Happy Baby” and has authored numerous fiction and non-fiction books.
Chunkz – The comedic social media personality has his own show on BBC Three and a “FilthyFellas” podcast.
Grace Beverley – Beyond Instagram, this fitness influencer has founded activewear brand TALA and workout platform Shreddy.
Louise Pentland – She has a popular parenting-focused podcast called “Mum and Dad are Fighting” and a book based on it.
By diversifying beyond just social media, these UK influencers are expanding their creative scope and developing their brands as multifaceted media powerhouses.
With the gradual phasing out of cookie-based tracking, the marketing landscape is undergoing a fundamental shift towards a more privacy-centric approach to personalisation. The transition from reliance on third-party data to a greater emphasis on zero-party data and privacy-focused tools like Google’s Topics API marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of personalisation strategies. This paradigm shift signifies a departure from intrusive tracking methods towards a more transparent and consensual approach to gathering consumer information. In this new era, finely-tuned segmentation and hyper-personalised customer experiences will reign supreme, primarily driven by the voluntary sharing of first-party data by customers themselves.
Brands are increasingly leveraging the data volunteered by customers to craft tailored experiences that align with individual preferences and behaviours. This shift not only ensures a more authentic and respectful interaction but also instils a sense of trust and transparency between brands and consumers.
Here are a few examples of UK brands adopting more privacy-centric personalisation approaches:
– Tesco – The retailer is relying more on its loyalty card data to segment and target customers rather than third-party data, sending tailored offers based on purchase history.
– Burberry – The luxury brand leverages customer data collected directly from their app and website interactions to provide personalised recommendations and unique digital experiences.
– HSBC – The bank uses privacy-focused tools like Google’s Topics API to tailor ads to customers based on contextual interests rather than intrusive tracking or cookies.
– Oxygen – The digital bank allows customers to select their preferences to receive highly personalised financial tips aligned to their goals without external data.
– Bulb – The renewable energy provider relies on data voluntarily given by customers like household size, location, and usage to customise offerings.
– Channel 4 – The broadcaster aggregates directly submitted first-party data to curate customised film and TV recommendations for users of its All 4 platform.
By obtaining explicit consent and recalibrating data practices, these UK brands are unlocking next-gen personalisation while also prioritising consumer privacy.
Elevating Experiential Marketing
The convergence of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and immersive digital environments signifies a groundbreaking leap in the realm of experiential marketing. These technologies are on the brink of revolutionising the way brands engage with their audience by transcending the boundaries between physical and digital realms. By seamlessly integrating AR and VR experiences into various touchpoints, brands are primed to craft captivating and unforgettable interactions that resonate deeply with customers. Whether it’s at live events, in-store setups, or accessible through mobile devices, these immersive experiences promise to captivate audiences, leaving a lasting impression that extends far beyond conventional marketing efforts.
As AR, VR, and immersive technologies continue to evolve, brands that harness these tools effectively will stand at the forefront of experiential marketing, captivating audiences with memorable, share-worthy experiences that drive brand advocacy and customer loyalty.
Here are a few examples of UK brands using AR/VR for innovative experiential marketing:
– John Lewis – The retailer created an in-store VR experience allowing customers to virtually travel to locations and see the origin of select products.
– Dove – The beauty brand leveraged AR filters on Instagram that allowed users to virtually try on different hair colours.
– British Airways – The airline created an AR exhibition in Charing Cross station with aerial views and sights from global destinations.
– Cadbury – The chocolate brand unveiled a pop-up AR rollercoaster experience for customers to promote their Crunchie brand.
– IKEA – The furniture retailer developed an AR app allowing customers to virtually place IKEA products in their homes before purchasing.
– Clinique – The cosmetics company installed AR mirrors in stores for virtual product try-ons tailored to your skin tone.
By adopting emerging AR and VR technologies early on, these UK brands have been able to craft more immersive, engaging campaigns that excite audiences.
The Emergence of Shoppable Streaming
Undoubtedly, the merging of entertainment and e-commerce via live-streaming platforms represents a groundbreaking shift poised to redefine the very essence of the shopping experience. Platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and emerging viral platforms have become the epicentre of this transformation, offering brands a dynamic space to engage with audiences in real-time. By intertwining engaging content and seamless purchasing opportunities within live streams, brands are revolutionising traditional shopping paradigms. Incorporating elements like product drops, exclusive deals, and interactive giveaways during these live sessions serves as a catalyst to transform passive viewers into active participants, steering them along the conversion funnel.
The allure of live streaming commerce lies in its ability to amalgamate entertainment and shopping seamlessly, offering audiences an engaging and interactive experience. It presents a novel opportunity for brands to showcase their products or services in an authentic and entertaining manner, fostering a more organic connection with consumers. The real-time nature of these sessions, coupled with the ability for viewers to interact directly with hosts or influencers, creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity that drives engagement and prompts immediate purchase decisions. As brands continue to innovate and leverage the potential of live streaming commerce, this convergence of entertainment and e-commerce is poised to reshape consumer behaviour, marking a pivotal shift towards a more immersive and interactive shopping landscape.
Here are a few examples of UK brands leveraging live stream shopping:
– ASOS – The fashion e-tailer streams shoppable live shows on YouTube featuring style tips, new arrivals and enable instant checkout.
– Marks & Spencer – The retailer hosts live cookery demos on Facebook where viewers can click to purchase featured kitchenware and ingredients.
– Dulux – The paint brand hosts Facebook Live Q&As where they recommend colours to commenters and link to shoppable colour palettes.
– Amazon – The ecommerce giant runs shoppable live streams on Twitch featuring brands and influencers showcasing products.
– Very.co.uk – This online retailer live streams styling sessions on TikTok and Instagram where products get tagged for instant checkout.
– John Lewis – The department store runs shoppable events like Christmas gift guides and designer collaborations on Instagram Live.
– Argos – On Black Friday, this retailer hosted live shopping streams on Facebook where flash deal products sold out in real-time.
By blending entertainment and commerce, these brands leverage live streams to engage audiences while driving direct sales through interactivity.
Emerging Trends Will Be Pivotal in Shaping Marketing Strategies
As we gear up for the marketing landscape of 2024, the incorporation of these emerging trends will be pivotal in shaping strategies and ensuring brand relevance in a rapidly evolving market. Which of these exciting trends are you most enthusiastic about incorporating into your marketing plans for 2024? Share your thoughts with us, we would love to know what you think.