Global Marketing Trends: Resilient Seeds For Growth
CMOs and senior marketing executives are challenged with organizational and economic uncertainty in the coming year. The 2023 Global Marketing Trends is meant to offer inspiration and guidance for marketers and organisations seeking to make a meaningful impact with their marketing in 2023.
We surveyed 1,015 C-suite executives and held in-depth conversations with leaders from brands across the world to understand what CMOs see as their biggest challenges and offer guidance on how to solve them.
Discover the trends
Brands answer economic instability with marketing investments
Challenge:Brands surveyed have indicated that navigating economic instability and inflation is their top concern for the year ahead.
Opportunity:Rather than hedging their bets and cutting costs, brands are answering this instability with an investment mindset – growing their organization’s capabilities and capacity to endure whatever tribulations and economic downturn may bring.
What to do about it?
- Optimize digital investments by awakening your collaborative potential. Marketers should consider working closely with key partners across the organization to help optimize technologies and ensure seamless backend integration.
- Expand to new markets through customer-centricity. Work to facilitate a seamless customer experience by testing and honing platforms to accommodate customer needs and streamline the experience to exceed customer expectations.
- Enhance customer personalization through systems and algorithms. Blend data-driven insights with traditional marketing insights to help create a more complete picture of the customer.
Brands tackle financial uncertainty with an investment mindset and a strong focus on the customer.
In the face of a potential economic downturn, CMO respondents top three priorities are:
- Accelerating the move to new digital technologies or platforms
- Expanding to new markets, segments or geographies
- Implementing systems or algorithms to enhance customer personalization
Chief marketing officers drive growth through internal sustainability efforts
Challenge:Brands surveyed are looking to make a more authentic and long-term impact in order to build trust with consumers. Budgetary issues may pressure brands to pull back on social impact efforts in favor of short-term concerns.
Opportunity:Marketers should maintain a sense of long-term perspective with regard to internal sustainability efforts to help establish an authenticity to brands’ marketing initiatives and unify the organization around a shared sustainable future.
What to do about it?
- Don’t pull back. Although cutting down on sustainability investments might feel tempting during a time of economic uncertainty, marketers should consider continuing to invest, retaining a sense of long-term perspective about the socioeconomic demands around sustainability on the horizon.
- Look inward. Marketers can infuse sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of the product or service—potentially leading to improved efficiencies, increased brand value through customer alignment, and ongoing impetus for growth.
- Unify your organization. Marketing can and should play a leading role on sustainability issues within their organizations. Marketers excel at telling stories and rallying people behind their efforts. These skills should be leveraged to allow them to lead the charge on internal sustainability efforts.
Brands should keep a long-term, integrated perspective of social responsibility efforts, to lead in the space.
Brands surveyed reported that their top three priorities for sustainability efforts this year include:
- Improving sustainability of internal marketing practices (51%)
- Promoting more sustainable product and service offerings (47%)
- Establishing long-term sustainability commitments (e.g. “by 2030, our organization will”) (45%)
Notably, relatively few are moving the responsibility to consumers as only 25% said they are trying to nudge new consumer actions- indicating brands are trying to lead by example, rather than relying on consumer action.
Creativity as a force for growth
Challenge:Generating growth continues to increase in complexity on account of rapid changes to social and cultural norms, technological advances, and economic uncertainty. Years of extreme focus on analytical capabilities has left many organizations bereft of the creative thought needed to meet the challenges of the modern business world.
Opportunity:A diminishing emphasis on creative leadership and marketing skills represents an opportunity for individual brands to rise above their competition. Marketing leaders have the opportunity to realize growth by cultivating untapped sources of creativity within their organization.
What to do about it? Consider:
- Rethink what creativity can offer. Expand the role of creativity within the business to more than just advertisements and campaigns. Reimagine how your organization delivers products, services and experiences through creative problem solving.
- Bring the rest of the organization along for the ride. While CMOs and the marketing function can lead a creative transformation, all areas of a business, as well as external partners such as creators, should be aligned on creative aspirations.
- Inspire the organization to think differently. Encouraging and demonstrating risk-taking and providing room for failure are good tactics to encourage creative thought.
- Treat creators as an extension of the creative team. Brands and creators both benefit when partnerships are built on relevance, clear expectations, and a collaborative creative strategy.
With a combination of skills and customer knowledge, the CMO is likely well-positioned to lead creative transformation across the organization.
High-growth brands (defined as those with annual revenue growth of 10% or more) are more likely than their negative-growth peers to have the mindset and processes in place that allow creativity to flourish.
Rising technologies for marketers to watch
Challenge:As interest in the metaverse, blockchain and other emerging technology rapidly rises, brands may feel pressured to be "first-to-market" to stay current/maintain an edge over their competitors.
Opportunity:Companies have the opportunity to learn from early adopters and identify which new technologies may be best suited for their own objectives over the long-term.
What to do about it? Consider:
- Look before you leap. Define your objectives for creating metaverse experiences and keep an eye on early adopters who will pave the way for broader adoption in 2024 and beyond. Consider potential challenges including cybersecurity, trust, brand reputation, and digital rights management.
- Weigh brand priorities in developing your adoption strategies. Our data shows that companies are still prioritizing investment in technology platforms and capabilities to support personalization and achieve customer-centricity as a top priority, but brands that fail to make a strategy for joining the metaverse may lose the opportunity to become a leader in the space.
- Start laying the groundwork for a metaverse strategy. The metaverse offers CMOs across industries new opportunities to expand engagement and experience, and to grow new revenue channels. Marketers that fail to set a strategy early may find themselves playing catch-up for years to come.
Early adopters of innovative technologies will likely focus on prioritization, customer-centricity, and cross-functional collaboration to find success.
The top reason brands surveyed gave for not already engaging in the metaverse is that they face difficulty with “complex technology implementations” (45%). Seamless integration requires deep organizational collaboration.