February 22, 2024
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8 mins

Experts weigh in on merging AI with your marketing strategy in 2024

Four CEOs and a CTO share their top AI-laced-with-marketing predictions to steer us into 2024.
MarTech

“Brushed cotton bed sheets”

“Hash browns”

“Chonky cat”

Here’s a quick glimpse into my daily gratitude list…Which starts in the exact same way most days. I must admit that seeing these truths on screen looks amusingly tragic, but the real reason I want to share this is because something else made its way into my personal list of credits this year: Artificial Intelligence.

And if you, like most marketers, are wondering how many gratitude lists you’re on, then you’re most likely competing with AI this 2024.

But I believe that we can flip this around in just two steps:

• Ensuring we stay ahead of AI trends and evolving use cases.
• Transforming nascent technology into a co-worker that takes a chunk of your workload (boosting productivity by 14% on average).

With the first point in mind, I decided to ask a team of experts from the Stagwell Marketing Cloud for their top 2024 AI predictions and trends to look out for in the AI marketing space:

Elspeth Rollert, CEO and former CMO at Stagwell Marketing Cloud
Lindsay Hong
, CEO and co-founder of SmartAssets 
Aaron Kwittken
, CEO and founder of PRophet, CEO of KWT Global
Gary Topiol
, CEO at Maru/HUB 
Mansoor Basha
, CTO at Stagwell Marketing Cloud 

Here’s what they had to say.

Integrating AI into your marketing flywheel 

With the integration of AI into tech stacks, marketing flywheels, and advertising ecosystems, it’s safe to say that 2023 was a more than transformative year for marketing departments. And this isn’t going to stop in 2024—in fact, the AI market is forecast to grow to a whopping 298 billion USD by the end of the year.

Enough to buy 10 of the world’s most expensive paintings with 295 billion dollars to spare. 

And as the digital marketing landscape continues to be driven by data, advances in technology, changing consumer behaviors, and a pivot towards user experience, the role of artificial intelligence in digital marketing will only continue to grow in prominence—but humans will be steering it.

Elspeth Rollert, CEO at Stagwell Marketing Cloud, explains that "the novelty of generative AI hasn’t yet run its course, but as the excitement gradually begins to plateau and companies become more familiar with how technology can be leveraged, they’ll want to dive deeper into practical use cases and how AI can boost their overall competitiveness. This means higher levels of AI investments in both BI (Business Intelligence) and marketing technologies.”

With newer investments, and widespread AI integration across internal tools, we expect companies to leverage AI to uncover fresh narratives and insights from data that was previously unintelligible.
- Elspeth Rollert, CEO at Stagwell Marketing Cloud

“These insights will create a shift in focus, and the more experienced companies will begin restructuring their processes and prioritizing the most profitable business areas."

Upturning the traditional advertising approaches

The true power of AI is still nascent, and as we head into 2024 we anticipate that we will start to see more machine-learning algorithms integrated into consumer technology and apps, becoming ubiquitous and almost commoditized. This means that people will be using AI without even knowing that’s what it is…as many of us already do (think: recommendation systems on streaming platforms, social media algorithms, automatic spam filters, maps, and directions).

This is relevant from both a data and intelligent-learning standpoint. Because, aside from content generation, the main thing that generative-AI has changed is how we are able to make sense of copious amounts of data. Marketers are now able to fully grasp once unfathomable data points to benefit customers, whether it’s making hyper-personalized shopping recommendations or more engaging advertisements.

Lindsay Hong, CEO and co-founder of SmartAssets—a generative-AI platform transforming the way that brands manage their creative content and advertising—foresees big changes. Hong explains that “the martech ecosystem is already highly fragmented and diverse, and AI is adding to this, creating a huge and potentially confusing environment for marketing decision-makers. [In 2024] I expect to see consolidation of the space, and many AI start-ups to be absorbed or lose out to competitors with more secure investment runways.” 

“Importantly, the human role in adopting AI, redefining workflows and tailoring to specific use cases will become increasingly important."

When there are many tools able to do similar things at competitive prices, it is the marketing organizations that understand how to manage change and transformation to really deliver on the value of AI that will win.
- Lindsay Hong, CEO at SmartAssets

"This will particularly be the case for creative production as it adapts to embedding machines into the process.”

According to Google, AI-driven campaigns are already achieving on average 18% higher conversions for a similar cost per action than those that don't. As technology gets more sophisticated, we can only anticipate that AI-powered conversion rates will increase and new advertising benchmarks will be set. Companies such as IBM have already been able to push the envelope by personalizing ad creative with AI, resulting in CTRs rising above 113% and a boost in campaign effectiveness by 120%. 

What AI has in store for comms and PR 

When asking Aaron Kwittken, CEO of PRophet—an AI-driven SaaS platform that provides a combination of comms, PR and social tools—about the future of AI in PR and comms, I wasn’t prepared for his answer. Kwittken has an AI-in-comms forecast as long as both your arms. In fact, the PRophet team has been listing his insights on its social channel for quite some time. 

Here are just a few of the hand-picked PR insights and areas that he sees gaining traction in 2024: 

PR Agencies: Companies specialized in comms, as well as brands, will take the next step on the comms tech/AI adoption journey, moving from curiosity and experimentation to wide scale adoption. This will be slow, deliberate, and steady. 

Predict & Protect: The generative AI hype cycle will stabilize and give way to AI’s predictive and protective capabilities, especially as we go into an election cycle.

Private AI: Large enterprises will build private AI environments to help stay message and copyright compliant.

Risk Mitigation: Large enterprises will continue to harden themselves, with a focus on risk mitigation around copyright infringement, navigating indemnification through alliances with law firms, and insurance companies.

Education: Universities, in addition to re-orienting around how to deal with community divisiveness around social issues, will integrate more AI use case classes in their curriculum across most majors and concentrations, starting with comms, media, public affairs, and journalism.

Conglomerates: Holding companies and their larger agencies will invest and attempt to build their own tools through white-label partnerships with tech companies, while also licensing from others.

Last but not least, Kwittken suggests that generative AI will get incrementally better, pushing its performance from the now “C+ to B-”, showing that we will still have some way to go before we perfect the integration—and general output—of generative AI. 

Find out more on how generative-AI is disputing the communication industry in Stagwell Marketing Cloud’s full 2023 State of Comms Tech Report.  

Building out better market research functionalities 

There’s been a lot of buzz about generative-AI and content generation, but an overlooked area—and perhaps the underdog—is market research. This space is booming with innovation. And Stagwell Marketing Cloud’s latest suite of research tools, Harris Quest, is leading the way with gen-AI for researchers.

But, what’s the direction of market research in 2024? 

Gary Topiol, CEO at Maru/HUB, explains that generative AI became a mainstream feature in the market research technology industry in 2023, primarily focusing on text-based solutions such as survey drafting, analysis of open-ended responses, and summarizing qualitative data.

“In 2024, these features are set to expand into structured data sets, transforming the AI into a 'research co-pilot' capable of assisting at every stage of the process,” predicts Topiol. 

The future of market research technology is poised for an AI-powered revolution, with automated analysis, executive summaries, and dashboards.
- Gary Topiol, CEO at Maru/HUB

"Developments in natural language querying will enhance the discoverability of previous data sets, while personalization will tailor research results to specific user roles and objectives.”

“However, this increased functionality brings greater responsibility. Software providers must ensure that these new features support high-quality outputs that foster informed decision-making. The debate on the effectiveness of synthetic data will continue, while improvements in the underlying models offer exciting opportunities to improve our products, particularly with multi-modal inputs and outputs. In 2024, the AI acceleration will continue, presenting both challenges and opportunities in equal measure.”

Hitting the nail on the head  

2023 is just the runway before take-off, and 2024 will be the year that the real journey begins. But we better be prepared for a long-haul flight because leading up to 2030, the global AI market value is set to increase to over $1.8 trillion USD. Investments at this scale mean that over the next few years we can expect companies to be concentrating a large chunk of their spend on private AI solutions and security, as well as outsourcing more work to a growing pool of external AI providers. But one thing is for certain: The competition in the AI space is growing fiercely and this will continue to do so in 2024. 

Technology trends go through a hype cycle and gen-AI is heading in a very different direction, where adoption has been taken on really fast. And this bucks the normal trend.
- Mansoor Basha, CTO at Stagwell Marketing Cloud

“AI and gen AI will only continue to transform the marketing space, and what we can expect to see are two things. The first thing is operational efficiency: doing something better, faster, and cheaper than we previously thought possible. The second thing is that, as soon as marketers start to improve their workflows, they will also begin to realize that there is innovation in the process, and this will open up new areas of business for discovery and new ways to do things,” he adds. 

And so the important thing for marketers to remember is that they are still in the driving seat, and their adoption of technology to boost competitiveness is dependent on their ability to navigate, implement and leverage AI. Keeping an eye out on trends and the latest social, comms, media, and research tools will only increase their chances at getting ahead of the competition.

Basha concludes that “in 2024, it’s no longer a question of whether things are possible or not. It’s more about addressing the question of how safe, how reliable, and how secure you can make your systems. And this is the job of CTO.”

Daniel Purnell

Daniel Purnell is the Marketing Manager for Stagwell Marketing Cloud.

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