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The 2024 Marketing Trends Crystal Ball

January 4, 2024 8 minute read
Acquia partners share what they see as they look ahead to the next 12 months
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Artificial intelligence may have hogged the spotlight in 2023 — and it will surely remain center stage in the coming months — but there were other issues and tactics that caught marketers’ attention last year, like accessibility, which was a key focus at the first stop of the Acquia Engage Digital Freedom Tour. But how might organizations take accessibility principles and apply it to their business practices and products? What might they lose by sidestepping the issue?

There’s just as much at stake when it comes to omnichannel brand governance. With the customer at the heart of omnichannel marketing, organizations must ensure delightful, frictionless customer experiences. That means establishing processes and clear roles, as well as the right tools, for teams companywide.

Speaking of tools, which ones will be mission-critical in 2024? We asked our partners and gathered their thoughts on the themes that we believe will continue to rise in importance this year: accessibility and omnichannel brand governance. Their thoughtful responses illustrate why they’re industry leaders we’re proud to work with daily.

What should organizations do to make accessibility a reality versus a talking point? What's at stake if they sacrifice accessibility?

“Every single human will experience permanent or temporary impairments. Brands, agencies, and developers need to design each digital product as if it were for themselves. Ultimately, better accessibility not only makes the world better and easier to maneuver, but it also supports business profitability.” — Danny Bluestone, Founder and CEO |  Cyber-Duck

“Agencies claiming to be customer-first must put their CX where their mouth is by ensuring accessibility, enabling experiences for everyone, and demonstrating genuine inclusivity in their services. Failing to do so risks alienating a significant customer base and damaging reputation.” — Daniel Knauf, CTO | Material+

“Accessibility cannot be an afterthought. Checking for accessibility compliance should be incorporated into the CI/CD pipelines and be part of daily builds.”  — Luiz Cieslak, SVP of Digital Solutions | CI&T

“The integration of AI and machine learning can aid in automating certain aspects of accessibility testing and improving user experiences for individuals with disabilities.” — Ashley Burns, IAAP Certified CPACC, Account Manager | Promet Source

“By starting with inclusive design, you not only check off the legal accessibility requirements, but also enhance the site experience for all individuals. You’ll see better engagement, more positive interactions, and increased organic search traffic. Designing inclusively sets you (and your users) up for success.” — Patrick Connors, Principal Frontend Developer | Genuine

“Accessibility is not a yearly initiative; it must be a way of life. Organizations must appoint a dedicated individual responsible for driving consensus and ensuring compliance with accessibility standards. Invest in training, awareness, and tools to support accessibility efforts. Failure to prioritize accessibility risks alienating audiences, losing credibility with customers, and undermining trust.” — Frank Febbraro, CTO | Phase2

“Organizations must understand accessibility is an ongoing process, not something they only focus on when a new website is launched. Utilizing accessibility SaaS tools will provide them with an ongoing baseline they can improve from.” — Jon Bauer, Partner Manager, Technology & Platforms | FFW

“Organizations should provide accessibility training to all employees through IAAP, Deque, and other reputable groups, as well as become a member of IAAP to access valuable resources. Creating an internal committee of accessibility advocates is also helpful because this group can help with organizing certification study groups, finding resources, and creating processes for incorporating accessibility into every step of each project or product.

By not making accessibility a priority, an organization will face legal consequences in addition to negatively impacting its reputation. There's also an organization's bottom line. Approximately 13% of the U.S. population has disabilities, which means inaccessible websites are alienating millions of potential customers.” — Kat Shaw, Lead Engineer | Lullabot

“Accessibility should be at the core of ideation to reach and engage every single prospect, customer, and audience member. If implemented at the beginning of content creation and management processes, it can create an impactful experience for every audience member. It’s also essential to hire the right experts or partner with the right organizations that genuinely understand streaming accessibility.” — Marty Roberts, SVP, Product Strategy & Marketing | Brightcove

How can organizations achieve omnichannel brand governance?

“Omnichannel brand governance requires sophisticated content production workflows and automation systems to ensure consistent brand voice, aesthetic, and scalability across channels. By leveraging generative AI models to create brand-compliant content, organizations can accelerate and scale their omnichannel strategy. Looking ahead, generative AI will be a key enabler for marketing and brand teams to focus on strategy or higher-value activities rather than governance and execution.” — Jean Bordelon, VP of Data Management | Bounteous

“When it comes to omnichannel governance, the key word is governance. Creative, brand, and marketing teams need to find a way to have oversight and control over what people use on distribution channels. When different teams use different tools, and no one knows what asset is the most up-to-date or has gone through the appropriate review, the risk of distributing something that doesn't meet brand standards is high. This is where a digital asset manager (DAM) comes into play. A DAM organizes, categorizes, and centralizes digital files so that team members can efficiently manage and optimize the use of those assets. By having a single source of truth for assets, you ensure consistency and brand governance across various channels because teams are all pulling from a source of approved assets.” — Jill Roberson, VP of Digital Marketing | Velir

“Each business needs a digital manifesto that outlines its key policies in a digestible form  outside of the small print legalese. These policies and principles should encompass the operational aspects of all the channels and place the user at the heart of the experience.” — Danny Bluestone, Founder and CEO | Cyber-Duck

“Finding the right technology partner can help you consolidate your tools and systems so your teams can have a unified platform to create consistent workflows throughout the organization and across your marketing channels. You need a partner that provides a seamless user experience.” — Marty Roberts, SVP, Product Strategy & Marketing | Brightcove

What's a martech must-have for 2024, and why?

“AI-driven analytics for precise customer segmentation is a 2024 martech essential. It enables tailored marketing across tools and channels by deeply understanding customer behaviors, significantly enhancing personalization and engagement.” — Daniel Knauf, CTO | Material+

“A martech must-have for 2024 is a customer data platform (CDP). We are living in a world of more content, more experiences, more touchpoints in the customer journey, and more data than ever before. For brands to meet audience expectations and deliver friction-free experiences (both online and offline), they need to understand where, how, and what users have interacted with along their journey. Investing in and leveraging a CDP means that customer behavioral and interaction data is centralized. By centralizing data and making it accessible across teams, it can power more informed marketing and outreach that can drive engagement, conversions, and business outcomes.” — Jill Roberson, VP of Digital Marketing | Velir

“Must have: better attribution. Most B2B organizations are still relying too much on attribution software that doesn't give you the real picture of where deals are influenced in the funnel. As the internet matures, walled gardens only increase in size, so strategies like zero-click content on LinkedIn become more crucial for B2B brands to succeed. But today's attribution software can't measure the impact of these kinds of strategies, so funnel blindness keeps growing.” — Justin Emond, Founder and CEO | Third & Grove

“Generative AI puts content personalization within reach of many more marketing teams. Now organizations may take content and personalize it on so many levels: language, location, experience with the brand, persona, preference, etc. While it’s still important for humans to write engaging content, it’s easy for marketers to customize the content and create unique versions based on many factors and present many variations based on knowledge of the customer. 

By using bespoke AI models trained on a particular writing style and periodically updated with the latest material, marketers can scale the rapid generation of high-quality, multichannel content. Concurrently, AI’s fine-tuned for market analysis and can monitor analytics and provide high-frequency insights via natural language reports or chat dialogue. As AI solutions mature, marketers will be able to spend less time contending with technology while spending more time on marketing.” — Josh Estep, Senior Drupal Developer | Promet Source

“Data-driven personalization will become more scalable as machine learning technologies built into experimentation and personalization platforms continue to mature. Companies that have been experimenting with generative and predictive AI tech will start to see real value from those investments.” — Jon Bauer, Partner Manager, Technology & Platforms | FFW

“In the age of data and analytics, organizations must collect and have access to first-party data to effectively inform and adapt their business strategy. This is especially true when it comes to content. Having the right streaming technology partner and not relying only on public social channels will help you translate your content marketing into insights and actions that move the customer journey forward.” — Marty Roberts, SVP, Product Strategy & Marketing | Brightcove

“In 2024, brands should build on a knowledge graph to enable richer experiences and brand consistency across digital channels. This approach lets marketing teams focus on the online customer journey to increase engagement wherever their customers are, whether that’s search, review sites, social media, etc.” — Duane Forrester, VP of Industry Insights | Yext

To learn more about each of the partners highlighted here, please visit the Acquia partner portal.

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