The past few years have seen unprecedented changes in how businesses operate. 2023 emerged as a year where efficiency wasn’t just a buzzword but the heartbeat of successful organizations. It was a year that saw businesses, big and small, pivot towards streamlined operations and resource management. This focus on efficiency was about doing more with less.
2023 tested the resilience of organizations. It carved out new paradigms of work, collaboration, and customer engagement. It’s important to distill the lessons of the past and project them into strategies for the future. The role of leadership, especially that of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), is evolving and marketers are being called to redefine their approaches.
With another year approaching, it’s time to look at the trends and transformations that will shape the future of work and marketing in 2024. Here are the Wrike marketing team’s top six predictions for 2024:
1. Organizations will turn to M&A to maintain growth and consolidate technology stacks
The coming year is a defining period for organizational growth strategies. Lingering economic uncertainty will encourage enterprise organizations to seek new avenues of growth through acquisition or strategic ventures with other technology partners. With little chance of funding, tech startups will look to acquisitions from strategic buyers.
For marketing software companies, this will help fuel growth and innovation; for marketers, this has the potential to reduce technology stacks, increase efficiency, and open the door to embracing new technologies. Organizations can capitalize on M&A activities to grow and gain a competitive edge. By acquiring tech startups, companies can advance their technological capabilities, innovate their offerings, and consolidate their position in the market. The key benefits include:
- Accelerated access to innovative technologies and talent
- Streamlined operations through integrated platforms, reducing redundancy and improving efficiency
- Enhanced market positioning by offering comprehensive solutions that meet broader customer needs
2. With reduced budgets and tightening of resources, marketers will go back to basics to yield positive business outcomes
Marketers have had to work with fewer resources, slashed budgets, and limited staff this year, but goals and expectations have remained the same. For this high output level to be sustainable, marketers must go back to basics.
This means making smarter, more informed budget decisions (hello, data!); using resources more effectively; thinking critically about big-ticket items, like events, to ensure they are a runway for continued engagement; and prioritizing activities that drive measurable business outcomes. While generative AI is not exactly basic, marketing teams that can leverage this technology to automate repetitive tasks will create more space to think creatively and do more impactful work.
Marketing departments can use the back-to-basics approach to ensure every dollar and every effort counts. They can achieve more by focusing on core principles and strategies. Benefits of this approach include:
- Improved ROI through smart budget allocation and resource optimization
- Increased agility in responding to market changes by prioritizing flexible and impactful marketing activities
- Enhanced team morale and creativity by relieving the pressure to perform with limited resources, allowing room for innovation
3. 2024 will once again redefine the role of the CMO
The role of the CMO is undergoing significant transformation, and organizations are increasingly looking to marketing departments to drive business outcomes. In 2024, we will see more marketing leaders responsible for revenue, market leadership, customer retention goals, and traditional marketing activities.
This is compounded by the need to maintain engagement in a world of complicated buyer behavior and pressure to navigate best practices in AI. CMOs that can rise to the challenge will be better positioned to solidify a seat at the table and ensure marketing is a core part of operational strategy in years to come.
CMOs who can navigate the expanded scope of their role will be instrumental in driving their organizations forward. By aligning marketing goals with business outcomes, they can ensure marketing is seen as an investment rather than a cost. The transformation of the CMO role can result in:
- Better alignment of marketing initiatives with company-wide revenue and growth objectives
- More strategic use of AI and data analytics to drive marketing decisions and practices
- Increased recognition of the marketing department as a central pillar in the organization’s strategic planning
4. Sophisticated go-to-market initiatives will tank efficiency without the right tools
As marketing organizations partner more closely with sales to ratchet up go-to-market initiatives, the opportunity for increased strategic alignment is clear, but so is the potential for collaboration to create complexity. Gartner has cited this challenge of orchestration, specifically “collaboration drag,” as a top three issue for CMOs in 2024.
More than the desire to be good partners, marketing and sales teams will need the right work management solution to execute their strategic vision and drive results — a tool that offers visibility, reduces workflow complexity, and allows them to track results in real time.
For sophisticated GTM initiatives, adopting the right work management tools can significantly enhance collaboration and outcome tracking. The benefits of using such tools include:
- Enhanced visibility across teams, leading to better coordination and faster execution of strategies
- Reduced workflow complexity, allowing teams to focus on strategic work rather than getting bogged down by process inefficiencies
- Improved ability to measure and track GTM initiatives’ impact, adjusting real-time strategies for optimal performance
5. Career development will be the key to surviving the burnout era
For the last three years, career conversations have been plagued by employee stress and burnout, leading to a more disengaged workforce. In the face of ongoing return-to-office debates and decreased resources, leaders have a unique challenge to build trust and a culture that empowers employees.
As we head into what’s expected to be another tumultuous year, focusing on people will be paramount to increasing employee engagement and retaining talent. Particularly within the marketing function, which is ripe for disruption by AI, leaders will need to invest in upskilling employees and providing growth opportunities to retain employees.
Organizations can address employee burnout by prioritizing career development while preparing their workforce for future challenges. This focus can lead to:
- A more engaged and motivated workforce, ready to tackle market demands with fresh skills and perspectives
- Higher retention rates as employees feel their growth and career progression are valued
- A company culture that promotes learning and development, attracting top talent and fostering innovation.
6. Marketers will work to keep the human touch in AI-generated content
In 2023, marketers had the opportunity to experiment with generative AI. This year, teams will refine their approach, implementing a healthy balance between automation and human-created content. Many teams have learned that relying too heavily on AI can result in significantly lower engagement, encouraging a shift from quantity to quality. Instead of churning out hundreds of assets, teams will prioritize tailoring content to align with brand voice and lean on automation to tackle administrative tasks, freeing teams up to develop the personalized product experiences buyers are looking for.
By leveraging AI for repetitive tasks, companies can:
- Create more personalized and impactful content that aligns with the brand voice and resonates with the target audience
- Increase content engagement by focusing on quality over quantity, driving better business results
- Streamline content production processes, freeing up time for teams to focus on innovation and strategic thinking
These predictions for 2024 are not just conjectures but are rooted in the patterns we’ve seen over the past few years. The year 2024 presents both challenges and opportunities for organizations and marketers. By embracing these predictions and adapting strategies, businesses can pave the way for sustained growth and success.
The future belongs to those who can blend innovation with strategic foresight, leveraging technology for efficiency and nurturing talent for long-term resilience. The lessons learned in 2023, coupled with the strategies developed in 2024, will undoubtedly lay the foundation for the future of marketing.