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Gartner releases top 5 predictions for marketing leaders

As marketers face increased scrutiny over their operations, Gartner, has revealed its top five predictions that marketing leaders must incorporate in their strategies in 2023 and beyond to drive results and regain the confidence of business leaders.

Andrew Frank, Distinguished VP Analyst in the Gartner Marketing Practice, comments, “Against a backdrop of unrelenting social and economic pressures, marketing leaders look toward a future where smarter marketing leads to deeper, more valuable connections between customers and brands.

“From managing misinformation to ensuring effective first-party data collection, this year’s predictions prioritise the trends that marketers and advertisers can no longer afford to ignore."

The top five predictions for marketing leaders are:

By 2027, 80% of enterprise marketers will establish a dedicated content authenticity function to combat misinformation and fake material.

The proliferation of generative AI and user generated content will dramatically increase the volume and variety of content brands must monitor. Proactive reputation management is critical, but scanning for inaccurate or defamatory content at scale in real-time is increasingly difficult in a polarised and high-velocity landscape, Gartner states.

Chris Ross, VP Analyst at Gartner, says, “The advancement in the scope and sophistication of misinformation creates a growing concern for CMOs. Just as AI and other technologies contribute to the content problem, they will also be part of the solution, especially when complemented with dedicated teams that listen, engage, and escalate brand interests across the digital content ecosystem.”

By 2025, 70% of enterprise CMOs will identify accountability for ethical AI in marketing among their top concerns.

Privacy-related restrictions on data collection, economic pressures, and AI breakthroughs are driving marketing teams to rely more heavily on AI and machine learning to optimise campaign performance and lower costs, Gartner finds.

Simultaneously, regulators and advocacy groups are vocalising concerns about manipulative and biassed uses of AI through developments such as the AI Act in the EU or the AI Bill of Rights in the U.S. Several brands have come under fire over their use of advanced technology to influence consumers in creepy and inequitable ways.

Frank says, “Marketing is uniquely positioned to understand the superior CX AI affords as well as its trust and reputational risks. This puts the onus on marketers to address the ethical issues that AI is raising in their practices, and the impetus to do so must come from the top.”

By 2024, 70% of brands will redeploy at least 10% of their media budget to product placement in entertainment content.

According to Gartner, consumers with means are working harder than ever to avoid online ads. Gartner anticipates that by next year, 85% of consumers with household incomes above $120K will pay for entertainment subscription tiers, software, hardware or mobile devices that allow them to avoid advertising entirely.

Kate Muhl, VP Analyst at Gartner, says, “The game of cat-and-mouse has become very expensive. Brands pay top dollar to reach high income consumers via digital advertising, but such impressions become less meaningful as this audience figures out new ways to tune them out.

"Marketers who cling to traditional digital ad formats will increasingly reach an audience composed largely of digital have-nots.”

Instead, brands that shift budgets toward product placements in entertainment content such as streaming TV will persevere: Two-thirds of the 301 consumers surveyed in October 2022 said they prefer this format rather than seeing separate ads, Gartner states.

One-in-three businesses without a loyalty program today will establish one by 2027 to shore up first-party data collection and retain high-priority customers.

At present, loyalty programs are most prevalent in the travel, hospitality and retail industries. However, there are opportunities in other verticals, such as banking and consumer packaged goods. Only 36% of 1,068 brands Gartner analysed in 2022 had a loyalty program.

Effective loyalty content generally drives higher open rates than non-loyalty emails, improving wallet retention and growth among high-priority customer segments. By 2023, both B2B and B2C companies will increase their investments in loyalty programs as a percentage of their total marketing budget.

Brad Jashinsky, Director Analyst at Gartner, says, “The competition for customers' attention and first-party data will increase as more companies launch and revamp loyalty programs. CMOs running best in-class loyalty programs will elevate their approach beyond transactional benefits and recognise personalisation as a critical differentiator.”

By 2025, organisations that use AI across the marketing function will shift 75% of their staff’s operations from production to more strategic activities.

The use of AI in marketing operations will reduce friction and eliminate redundancy, allowing marketers to shift their budgets and resources to activities that support a more dynamic marketing organisation.

For example, marketers can leverage AI in the creative process to automate the capturing, processing, and analysing of real-world images and videos, improving image quality and developing digital twins.

Nicole Greene, Sr Director Analyst at Gartner, says, “AI will continue to refine marketing operations processes to drive more agile, data-based responses to the challenges ahead that have no signs of slowing down."

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