The Future of Marketing in 2024: 6 Data and Technology Trends

The Future of Marketing in 2024: 6 Data and Technology Trends

For enterprise brands, consistently delivering exceptional customer experiences remains at the heart of their business – a constant. What does evolve annually, however, are the novel tools, innovations, methods, and modalities through which these brands engage with their customers. 2023 brought significant transformations, forever altering the landscape of how brands conceptualize and craft customer experiences. So what will the future of marketing bring?

We saw the accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence propel marketing strategies into uncharted territories as the lines between the physical and digital realms continued to blur. We also saw the emergence of first-party data rise as marketers look for more reliable, secure ways to reach their customers as third-party cookies quickly take their last bow.

In 2024, the way that enterprise brands design those customer experiences – and the solutions and tooling they use to achieve their business goals – will change dramatically.

To help prepare for the new year, ActionIQ put together some data and technology trends we expect to see emerge in 2024 — from tech stack shifts and enterprise priorities, to data, technology and, you guessed it, Generative AI.

1. As marketing clouds lose their grip, a new incarnation of Database Wars emerges.

The battle for who owns the data among marketing solutions will continue. This tension will continue as marketing clouds like Adobe and Salesforce seek to be the source of truth for enterprise data. In 2024, we will see marketing clouds lose adoption in favor of solutions that have an open infrastructure and integrate with true data sources of truth. Databricks will attack Snowflake on price and performance, and try to peel away the core SQL analytics workload. There will be a land grab for AI and ML workloads between the two, as both make major investments to improve those offerings.

2. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) gain household recognition among enterprise brands, marked by distinctive innovators…and followers.

Impressive results at F500 and major analyst research supporting the space will create a buying spree among enterprises for CDP solutions — but not all are created equal. Martech contenders like Salesforce will continue to attempt and fail to build a CDP as customers who received free licenses realize it’s smoke and mirrors. Adobe will try to jump on the Composable CDP trend with hollow announcements for data sharing integrations, but still operate on copies of data behind the scenes.

3. Enterprises will slowly but surely shift their focus back towards growth.

With interest rates stabilizing and recession fears receding, along with huge amounts of cash saved during the past couple of years and valuations at very reasonable levels, inorganic growth will start to look attractive and will trigger acquisition sprees that may last 2-3 years. This will feel similar to the M&A spree that took place in 2010-2012 after the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-2008.

4. Brands rush to adopt Generative AI — and many will fail due to a lack of the context they need to make it succeed.

As brands rush to adopt GenAI they will need the right data foundation and right context to succeed — building their own products and services around customized models. LLMs will need to be trained on an enterprise’s own data and context to operate effectively. Data warehouse vendors will try to ship SQL LLMs with their data, however LLMs will need to be trained on an enterprise’s own proprietary data. Within the business context of an enterprise’s own customer data, models will become richer and more effective.

The cost of executing GenAI models, not just training them, will emerge as the main bottleneck in scaling AI in the future of marketing. As a result, there will be a shift to smaller GenAI with higher quality training data that will be cheaper both to train and to evaluate.

5. We’re in for a wave of mediocre, AI-generated content — and targeting is the only way out.

The creation of marketing content will no longer be a constraint in reaching customers as marketers begin to acquire “prompt engineering” skills. As such, it will become even more important for marketers to cut through the noise in their communications so the brand voice remains unique — supporting micro-segmented messages with micro-segmented targeting, fueled by first-party data. Without those audiences and microtargeting, GenAI efforts will fall flat.

6. Martech will eat Adtech — forming a single tech stack commanded by IT teams.

As IT teams increasingly take responsibility for managing the technology behind martech, we’ll see a shift in priorities for adoption, toward flexible and open stacks. We’ll also see the collision of adtech and martech accelerate with the final strike on the clock for third-party cookies, with martech eventually consuming adtech, and advertising becoming more and more reliant on a first-party foundation for more control, cleaner data, and more respect of privacy. This is already happening with DMPs getting replaced by CDPs, Data Clean Rooms becoming more prevalent, the rise of first-party data collection (CDI) vendors like Snowplow and Metarouter, and data onboarding vendors like LiveRamp becoming redundant and struggling to stay relevant with high onboarding costs.

The Future of Marketing: Stay Flexible on What Will Best Serve Each Customer

As we look ahead into 2024 where the interplay between data, technology and the customer experience will continue to adapt, make sure you keep focus on the solutions that will help your enterprise business best serve each customer. Take advantage of the most cutting-edge solutions, but make sure they’re balanced with the foundation to help you do it right and continue to innovate with the flexibility to adapt and the room to grow.

Michael Trapani
Michael Trapani
Head of Product Marketing
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