Young Folks

2023 marketing trends

There have been a whole lot of changes and developments in the world of marketing this year – from Apple doubling down on privacy to increased outputs from artificial intelligence (AI). To stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive, businesses need to stay on top of the latest trends and technology in the marketing industry. And to help you do just that, I’ve been conducting research, saving posts, taking notes and snapping screenshots to bring you this roundup of the key marketing trends that are expected to dominate the landscape in 2023.

These are the marketing trends we’re predicting for 2023

  1. More companies will prioritise social and environmental responsibility
  2. Greenwashing will increase (and legal action will follow)
  3. Purpose-led brands will double down on ethical marketing 
  4. AI-powered marketing will become widely adopted
  5. The ethics of AI-powered content will need to be considered
  6. AR and VR become marketing strategy mainstays
  7. Personalisation will become expected
  8. Cookies will be replaced with econometrics
  9. Brands will (finally) establish content marketing systems
  10. Digital marketing will diversify
  11. Zero-click content and the attention economy will increase
  12. Influencer marketing will become part of BAU
  13. Brands will shift from marketing funnel to marketing ecosystem

Keep reading if you want all the details on the marketing trends we’re likely to see in 2023.

Download your copy of the 2023 Marketing Trends Forecast.

1. More companies will prioritise social and environmental responsibility

This year, Patagonia made headlines when founder Yvon Chouinard gave away the company to fight the climate crisis. Heading into 2023, we’re likely to see an increased focus on sustainability in marketing. As consumers become more socially and environmentally conscious, they will expect brands to prioritise demonstrating sustainable business practices and social responsibility.

This means that brands will need to find creative ways to communicate their commitment to social and environmental responsibility, such as through the use of sustainable materials in their packaging, highlighting the environmental benefits of their products and services, demonstrating their ethical production practices, or by sharing their impact frameworks for giving back.

In 2023, we expect to see more brands go beyond sustainable claims and embrace holistic social and environmental responsibility and measurable impact as part of their marketing strategy. 

2. Greenwashing will increase (and legal action will follow)

Greenwashing is the practice of using marketing and advertising to make a product or company appear more environmentally friendly than it actually is. This is problematic because it deceives consumers into thinking they are making a responsible purchase, when in fact they are not.

Big brands are highly attuned to the wants and whims of consumers. And as consumers demand that brands take responsibility for decreasing negative impact and increasing positive impact, I’m certain we’ll see a rise of greenwashing in 2023 with more companies using greenwashing tactics to try and gain a competitive advantage. Following all that greenwashing, we’ll see a rise in legal action and policy-making to curb misleading information and make sure brands are accountable.

3. Purpose-led brands will double down on ethical marketing 

Ethical marketing, also known as socially responsible marketing, is a growing trend in the world of marketing. It involves being transparent, honest, and fair in all marketing activities.

Combating all that greenwashing, in 2023 we can expect to see purpose-led brands double down on ethical marketing by using certifications such as B CorpClimate ActiveSocial Traders and even Australian Standards for recycling and composting to substantiate any claims. Ethical marketing has been on the rise in recent years and is expected to continue to grow in popularity in 2023.

4. AI-powered marketing will become widely adopted

One of the biggest marketing trends that we’re likely to see gain traction in 2023 is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing. AI has already started to revolutionise the way that businesses interact with their customers, and this trend is only set to continue. With the help of AI, businesses will be able to automate many of their marketing processes, allowing them to focus on more high-level tasks such as strategy and innovation.

In fact, I used AI to help me write about 25% of this post. Don’t worry, it’s all my research, ideas and intellectual property. I’ve only used AI to help me overcome writer’s block by generating sentences or paragraphs which I then edit to suit my personal writing style and correctly reflect my views. I also add in links and research to increase authority. When used ethically, AI is a great way to speed up the writing process.

Want to see the power of AI? The images in the gallery below were created by AI in under 5-minutes. All that I needed to do was describe what I wanted to see in the image and the style of image – for example: ‘impressionist style painting of an Australian beachside landscape’. A word of warning though, Google can spot AI and doesn’t rank AI generated content proving that AI isn’t about replacing human effort but enhancing human efficiency.

5. The ethics of AI-powered content will need to be considered

Speaking of ethics… As AI technology continues to advance, society will need to carefully consider the ethical implications of its use in the production and dissemination of content. On the production side, AI needs an input of information so it can be trained to create an output. This can create an ethical minefield relating to the intellectual property associated with the sources used to train AI. In fact, CNN ran an article on the artists whose work had been used to train AI in October 2022 (and they were furious). Another major concern is the potential for AI to be used to produce or manipulate content in a way that is harmful or misleading to people. For example, AI-powered content generation algorithms could be used to create deep fakes, fake news or propaganda that is designed to manipulate people’s opinions or beliefs. Additionally, AI-powered content moderation systems could be used to censor or suppress certain types of speech, raising important questions about free expression and the right to access information.  And finally, if AI is created by development teams that lack diversity, this could contribute to biases being built into the AI programs as they are created which, in turn, affects the outputs generated by AI. A lot to unpack here.

6. AR and VR become marketing strategy mainstays

In addition to AI, we’re likely to see an increase in the use of other emerging technologies in marketing, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). We know that Zuck is going all in on the metaverse and even re-branded the parent company Meta (in case it wasn’t obvious how serious he is about the metaverse). These technologies have the potential to completely transform the way that businesses engage with their customers, allowing them to create immersive and engaging experiences that are unlike anything we’ve seen before. While it might not be mainstream just yet, I’m predicting that in 2023 we’ll see more and more brands adopt AR and VR technologies as part of their marketing strategy and make their foray into the metaverse.

7. Personalisation will become expected

Engaging and immersive customer experiences aren’t just limited to the metaverse. Another marketing trend that we’re likely to see in 2023 is the continued rise of personalisation. As consumers become more savvy and demanding, they’ll expect brands to provide them with personalised experiences that are tailored to their specific needs and preferences. This means that businesses will need to invest in sophisticated marketing technologies and data analysis tools in order to deliver highly personalised experiences to their customers. Think: going beyond the basic welcome email automations and offering subscribers and customers the option to tailor their preferences and control the flow of content that reaches their inbox. Similarly, websites will need to offer personalised content based on user preferences and previous behaviours – a task that requires sophisticated tracking and a robust CRM.

8. The end of cookies and the rise of econometrics

Over the past two years, Apple has emphasised the importance of privacy as a key selling point for the iPhone and other Apple products. As a result, the tech giant has killed off a range of tracking functionality in each of its iOS updates. 

One of the biggest losses to the privacy movement is third-party cookies – the small pieces of data that are collected as users browse the internet which are commonly used by online advertisers to track user’s browsing habits and to serve personalised ads.

With Apple doubling down on privacy, and Google recently announced that it will phase out third-party cookies in late 2023, we’re likely to see the end of cookies in 2023 and the rise of econometrics to create data-driven models to assess the effectiveness of the marketing mix more holistically.

9. Brands will (finally) establish content marketing systems

Another key trend that is expected to emerge in 2023 is the rise of content marketing systems. As competition for consumer attention continues to increase, brands will need to go beyond creating and distributing content with a ‘spray and pray’ approach and instead focus on building out content marketing systems to support acquisition and retention.

We’re likely to see a rise in brands mapping out the entire customer journey and determining what types of content are required at each of the touchpoints. Armed with this information, brands will need to create content marketing systems that empower them to produce the large amounts of content required to build awareness and maintain a connection with prospective customers and existing customers.

10. Digital advertising will diversify

Another 2023 marketing trend that’s likely to emerge is the diversification of digital advertising. Google Ads and Meta Ads (Facebook and Instagram Ads) have long-held a duopoly over the digital advertising landscape and this year we’ve seen the rapid rise of alternative digital advertising platforms such as Reddit Ads, Pinterest Ads, Twitter Ads (pre-Elon-induced chaos) and even Spotify Ads.

In 2023, we can expect to see brands diversify their digital advertising approach and take their advertising campaigns to all the different channels and platforms where their target audiences hang out and consume content. Brands that diversify can expect to see increased brand awareness and competitive CPCs and I am here for it. If you’re thinking about diversifying, be sure to read our article on Facebook Ads alternatives.

11. Zero click content and the attention economy will grow

Whether it’s a short-form video on TikTok and Reels or longer-form information on YouTube and in articles, consumers have a plethora of options at their fingertips. Search engines and social media platforms are going to great lengths to keep users on the platform with content continuums and even previews of almost complete content in search results.

This has made it increasingly difficult for companies to get their products or services noticed by consumers and means more competition for consumers’ attention than ever before. Enter the attention economy where attention is considered not only a resource but a currency. In the attention economy, brands compete for consumers’ attention and the products or services that can capture and retain the most attention are the most valuable. 

While traditionally popular marketing metrics such as traffic, community engagement, subscribers, conversions, and revenue will still be important, in 2023, we’re likely to see a rise in the perceived value of attention and its associated KPIs such as impressions, reach, and views.

12. Influencer marketing will become part of BAU

Have you ever noticed that some brands or products seem to become popular overnight? A well-executed influencer marketing campaign is almost always behind these ‘suddenly popular’ success stories. Typically these kinds of campaigns include collaborating with a range of creators to launch a product or collection.

This year, we’ve seen countless beauty brands sell out in every store thanks to viral TikToks and we’ve seen Balenciaga cancelled. And in 2023, we’re expecting to see influencer marketing become part of business as usual marketing – tying in nicely with the rise of the attention economy.

13. Brands will shift from marketing funnel to marketing ecosystem

The marketing funnel is a traditional model that describes the process of attracting and converting customers. It’s made up of several stages, starting with awareness and ending with purchase. In recent years, however, there has been a shift away from the marketing funnel towards a new model called the marketing flywheel.

The marketing flywheel is a circular model that describes the way that customers interact with a company over time. Unlike the linear marketing funnel, the marketing flywheel reflects the ecosystem of marketing required to attract, engage, and retain customers. It focuses on the relationship between a company and its customers, and emphasises the importance of creating a positive customer experience in order to drive revenue through acquisition and retention.

We’re likely to see an increase in brands adopting the marketing flywheel as a means to map marketing touch points and define marketing strategies in 2023.

Where to next? 

Overall, 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the world of marketing. As the industry continues to evolve and change, brands will need to stay on top of the latest trends and developments to remain competitive and successful. Brands that embrace personalisation, AI, emerging technologies, content marketing, and responsibility will be well-positioned to thrive in the rapidly-changing world of marketing.

If you’re looking for an experienced hand to guide you in 2023, reach out to our team for an exploratory chat.

Download your copy of the 2023 Marketing Trends Forecast.

Written by

Erin Morris is the founder and director at Young Folks. Packing more than 10 years marketing experience, Erin has worked with start-ups, corporates and everything in between. She loves listening to audiobooks whilst running, oat milk flat whites, and scouring Marketplace for secondhand furniture finds.

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