Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Three steps to unlock marketing’s full potential

By Amy Norton, Growth Director, Incubeta

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, each new year comes with the promise of both unexpected challenges and exciting opportunities. 2023 showed us just how quickly priorities can change and while it is impossible to know what will happen over the course of 2024, it is pretty safe to assume we will see some twists and turns along the road.

Despite everything, it appears that economic uncertainty is here to stay. While some experts have suggested the global economy might avoid recession, there are many who still believe it is on the cards (as well as a few who have sat firmly on the fence saying the chance of recession is 50/50). Whether a recession hits or not, it looks like we’re set for another year of doing more with less.

As we start to implement our fresh new marketing strategies for the 12 months ahead, it is crucial that we maximize our efforts and make the most of all opportunities. With that in mind, here are three steps to help unlock the most out of marketing in 2024.

Step 1: Set the foundations

Establishing robust foundations in marketing is akin to building a strong base on which to raise a skyscraper. It’s about creating a framework that not only supports current initiatives but also paves the way for future growth and adaptation, with enough flexibility to stand up against rapid changes across the digital landscape.

For digital marketing, these foundations need to be built from solid data. And while many of us have already established the base from which to raise our data strategies, there are still those who haven’t. As we delve deeper into the age of big data, these foundations have become more crucial than ever.

The first aspect of setting these foundations lies in enhanced data conversion. It isn’t enough to simply collect data. We need to transform it into actionable insights, using analytics tools to turn raw data into reliable information on consumer behavior, market trends and campaign performance.

Amid tightening privacy regulations and the deprecation of third-party cookies, first-party data integration has also become a primary focus. This involves consolidating the data we collect directly from consumers through various touchpoints, to create a unified view of our customers which can then be used to fuel personalization and more targeted campaigns.

Finally, advanced measurement capabilities must be put in place to allow us to demonstrate the causal impact of our campaigns. Without tracking and analyzing the effect of our strategies, it is impossible to know how successful they’ve been, and difficult to make informed decisions about future resource allocation.

Step 2: Use AI effectively

AI, particularly generative AI, is revolutionizing the digital marketing industry. It has already had a significant impact on essential marketing tools such as Google’s broad match and Performance Max, and we have only just started to scratch the surface of its full capabilities.

The issue is that everyone is using AI. To use it to our advantage, we need to be strategic with its deployment. This starts by identifying where it can add the most value, be that customer segmentation, predictive analytics, or personalized content creation. After all, AI is a tool aimed at enhancing human creativity and intuition, not replacing it.

It is also important to recognize that the effectiveness of any AI solution is highly dependent on the data it is fed. We need to ensure that the datasets we are using to train AI models are of high quality, relevant to its function, clean, well-organized, and diverse.

Remember, AI is not a set-and-forget tool. It is designed to continuously learn and adapt and therefore we must be prepared to move with it, tweaking our AI strategies in response to evolving market conditions and changing consumer behaviors.

Step 3: Change mindsets 

The final step is about fostering a culture that embraces change and supports cross-departmental collaboration, particularly between marketing and finance. 

While the two departments might not traditionally be that close to each other, strengthening the relationship between CMOs and CFOs can provide huge benefits. By aligning campaigns with financial goals, working towards shared KPIs, and collaborating on projects, we can open the door to new opportunities; with the finance team backing our ideas, understanding our failures and granting us the room to learn and iterate.

In our rapidly changing industry, this can provide the agility and flexibility needed to pivot quickly, explore new channels and ultimately keep ourselves ahead of the curve.

Driving success one step at a time

As we brace ourselves for another year of challenge, opportunity, and whatever else might be thrown our way, we must aim to keep agility and innovation at the forefront. Economic uncertainties are continuing, and it is once again on us to get the most out of every part of our campaigns.

To do this, we need to establish strong data foundations on which we can build our strategies. This can then be used to fuel cutting-edge technology, such as AI, and provide strong data-driven insights that can prove the success of our work (or highlight where things need to be changed).

Embracing these steps can help unlock the full potential of our marketing strategies, even in times of economic instability. The future is no doubt uncertain, but by keeping a focused, adaptable and innovative approach, we can continue to drive growth and success in the dynamic world of digital marketing.