Consider This …
Leaders from 10 PDMI member companies look ahead at the key things performance marketers should think about as we head into the new year.
By Thomas Haire
Performance and direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing have always been home to an alphabet soup of abbreviated buzzwords. As we wrap up 2023, it’s no different. Just think: what were two of the biggest stories in marketing and technology this year? That’s right: AI (artificial intelligence) and CTV (connected TV).
As marketers and publishers work to contain their excitement about AI and how it could smooth the path to more effective (and profitable) performance marketing campaigns, consumers are veering wildly between thrilled and wary about what the technology can do. With CTV, it’s consumers who are leading the charge, continuing to slip away from traditional linear television viewing into the (increasingly ad-supported) streaming universe — all while marketers and outlets are working diligently to figure out just how this new ad ecosystem will work best for D2C marketers.
But these aren’t the only topics that executives from 10 PDMI member companies touched on when asked to make fearless predictions for the next 12 months. What else are they calling for in 2024? A fluctuating economy? Yes. Thoughtful maximization of the growing trove of data available to each brand? Sure. Ad budgets seeking out media opportunities that provide the best (and most attributable) bang for the buck? Absolutely.
We urge you to read on for more from these leaders who chose to stand out from their fellow 120 PDMI member companies by putting their expertise on the line. We also ask you to mark your calendars (or click on the linked text below) — on Tuesday, Jan. 16, leaders who serve on the PDMI’s councils will get together to share their own predictions for 2024 as part of our Winter Seminar Series.
AI everywhere! Twenty-twenty-four is going to be a year when generative artificial intelligence (AI) continues to touch many areas of marketing, branding, and content creation. But it will start to take off as smaller companies get opportunities to take advantage where, before, mostly enterprise organizations could afford access. In the direct-to-consumer space, watch AI being used in voice bots, content for commercials, websites, emails, consumer analytics, and so much more. The sky is the limit.
— Greg Sarnow, founder and CEO
Bautista Direct Marketing
Inflation will continue, and the economy will fluctuate and be unsteady, causing consumers to hold tight to their dollars. Marketers with creative, well-executed value propositions will thrive. Tell your target how you save them money — even if it’s for a "want" and not a "need!"
Video will continue to grow. Consumers will not take the time to read. Be sure you have video that addresses their questions and is organically discoverable. Consumers know that paid search results are paid for while organic results are earned.
— Mary Ann Bautista, president
CTV will become a "selling" media execution. As advertisers continue to grow their investment in CTV, they will test new formats and confirm with trusted technology partners to realize that CTV exposures can be top funnel and mid-and-down-funnel for driving behavior and sales.
Business results will take center stage over media metric results. Advertisers will continue to face a soft economy in 2024, requiring them to be more critical of their media investment. They will demand more accountability in their spend and push for measurement to help understand the investment tied to their business.
— Roxanne Geyer, senior vice president, customer experience
We will see widespread integration of immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) into mainstream media. These technologies will transcend their current niche applications and become integral components of storytelling and content delivery. Audiences can expect to immerse themselves in news stories, documentaries, and entertainment experiences like never before.
Advertisers will leverage these technologies to create interactive and memorable brand experiences, blurring the lines between reality and the virtual realm. We will see mainstream applications in product visualization that allow consumers to virtually experience products before making purchase decisions. As technology continues to advance, advertisers will navigate uncharted waters, seeking to captivate consumers though experiences that transcend traditional advertising formats.
— Chris Brombach, senior vice president, integrated media
We will see a greater emphasis on collaboration and data sharing between DTC clients and their media buying agencies as marketers increasingly recognize the common benefits of transparent and comprehensive data sharing. Further, continued advancements in marketing technology will make it easier for marketers to share KPI data seamlessly with their media buying agencies: integration of data sources, analytics tools, and reporting platforms will allow for real-time collaboration and decision-making. This will not only enhance campaign performance but also will help build a more strategic and accountable partnership between the two parties in an ever-evolving marketing landscape.
— Bill Raymond, executive vice president and managing partner
In 2024, we’ll witness a resurgence of "old gold" brands that have sustainability at their core. These brands will adapt to the omnichannel digital marketplace, leveraging social media, TV, Amazon, and the power of nostalgia to reinvent their narratives. They’ll re-establish their brands by capitalizing on their rich histories and the emotional connections they’ve built over the years, while adapting to today with updated graphics and a demonstrable pitch geared at younger audiences.
The D2C winners of 2024 will be those who can skillfully choreograph a multi-platform strategy, integrating Amazon, e-commerce, TV, social/influencer marketing, and retail. This dance will require strong performance marketers who can navigate the complexities of each platform and orchestrate a seamless customer journey. In a time of economic uncertainty, the path to success will be about being brilliant at the basics. Big brands will double down on strategies that are proven and reliable, focusing on media with measurable results. Experimentation will take a backseat as brands prioritize execution and efficiency.
— Sean Fay, founder and CEO, and Debbie Kelly, chief client officer
LeadsRx, an Unbounce Company
First, precision in broadcast attribution. With the rise of digital TV inventory and the demand for better measurement, LeadsRx predicts a sharpening of broadcast attribution precision. Our solutions are designed to navigate the shift from linear to digital, ensuring that advertisers can track their spends effectively in this burgeoning domain.
Second, championing first-party data. As the reliance on third-party cookies wanes, LeadsRx’s commitment to first-party data places us at an advantage. Our secure tracking technology is perfectly positioned to meet the industry’s call for privacy-compliant, first-party data solutions, making us a valuable partner for businesses adapting to this shift.
— Larry Todd, general manager
Maramba Insights Inc.
First-party data, from opt-in newsletters or subscription and loyalty programs, will be a key focus for advertisers that have already invested and incorporated these mechanisms into their marketing strategies. With the demise of the previously ubiquitous cookie-based data collection, advertisers with access to first-party data will have a huge advantage on gauging their customers and streamlining their media targeting and offers. Quick and accurate aggregation and analysis of this data will be vital for determining campaign success and the ever-elusive lifetime value of a customer.
I also expect to see more linear TV media budgets shifted to platforms like TikTok and Twitch, as advertisers chase the Gen-Z market. With around 40 percent of young adults spending their time on gaming and video-focused social media, I believe we will see massive budget shifts from linear TV to these platforms embraced by Gen-Z. Marketers will have to evolve their content to meet this social media-savvy audience where they live, but with authenticity in mind.
— Lucio Maramba, CEO and owner
It’s 2024. The depreciation of third-party cookies is reshaping the online advertising and digital media industry. With cookies being phased out, the industry is moving toward more privacy-centric solutions. This shift is pushing advertisers and platforms to explore alternative tracking and targeting technologies, such as Unified ID solutions, contextual targeting, and privacy-compliant data sharing frameworks. As a result, the industry is likely to see a rise in collaboration among advertisers, publishers, and tech providers to develop new standards and solutions that address the challenges posed by cookie deprecation while still enabling effective advertising practices.
Also, the ascension of AI in advertising is set to continue, fundamentally altering the way campaigns are crafted, managed, and analyzed. The integration of AI can significantly enhance predictive analytics, real-time decision-making, and automation in advertising operations, allowing for more efficient media buying, personalized ad targeting, and improved ROI measurement.
— Paul Mosenson, founder and president
New opportunities and increased adoption in streaming TV. Television will continue to change — and while streaming is technically eclipsing linear, the shift is no longer black-and-white. Marketers planning their strategies into 2024 should meet the consumer where they choose to consume content, and we expect a significant increase in the adoption of connected TV (CTV), specifically with increased smart TV use. Advertisers will double down on tapping into CTV’s potential for reaching audiences to create exciting and bespoke experiences, all while delivering measurable results. Consumers will continue to gravitate to their smart TV as their main streaming device for shows, movies, games, music, and more.
Advanced targeting will continue to get smarter. Targeting has evolved significantly over the last several years, fueled by the growth of CTV and convergence of digital signals. We expect this evolution to ramp up through 2024 as advertisers continue to harness the power that comes with combining unique data points and machine learning. By leveraging a diverse set of signals and data sources, advertisers can refine targeting strategies for reaching the right viewers with the right message — paving the way for precise, personalized, and impactful CTV advertising campaigns. At Samsung Ads, we’ve already seen success with this through our Smart Audiences product, powered by AI and machine learning to optimize audience targeting and strengthen audience segments based on higher performing attributes.
— Patrick Burney, performance sales lead
Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to be instructive and constructive in developing new creative assets. For example, think about pick-up lines in a flubbed finished creative, or using graphics and voiceovers that are programmatically delivered through AI with personalization of messaging.
Second, Google’s Pmax and Meta’s AdvantagePlus will be retail megastores and continue to drive successful marketing efforts. Paid social is also going to see shifts in delivery of retargeting efforts. Retargeting will be the "it" strategy.
— Fern Lee, CEO