January 12, 2024

As we embark on a new year, the landscape for marketers is packed with uncertainties and pivotal moments that will shape the industry's trajectory. While there are various predictions, here are three major bets marketers are making in 2024:

Betting on AI
The anticipation for 2024 as the year of artificial intelligence (AI) is evident, but the focus is predominantly on what marketers can achieve with AI rather than its impact on consumers. Back-office AI is set to revolutionize commercial processes, promising efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

However, the consumer landscape presents a different challenge. While AI enhances search capabilities and adds a personalized touch to apps and websites, there's a lingering question: Where is the killer app for consumers? Unlike the transformative effects of spreadsheets, email, and app stores in the past, no single AI application has yet captured the masses.

Marketers face a critical decision this year – is an AI killer app for consumers on the horizon, or will AI primarily reshape business operations?

Betting on Weight Loss

In the marketing realm, a new acronym takes center stage –GLP-1, denoting a class of drugs with notable implications for weight loss. Drugs like Wegovy, Saxenda, and Zepbound, originally designed for managing Type2 diabetes, have gained attention for their impact on weight loss. As studies reveal changes in consumer behavior related to diet and food shopping, various industries are on high alert.

The paradox of longer lifespans amid increasing obesity levels is a conundrum. Medication, often preferred over lifestyle changes, mitigates the consequences of obesity. However, if weight loss entails sacrificing social connections and incurring additional costs, consumers may opt out.

Marketers must assess whether consumers are willing to embrace the lifestyle changes associated with GLP-1 drugs or continue prioritizing enjoyment over potential health benefits.

Betting on Consumer Resiliency

The past three years witnessed robust consumer spending, driven by pent-up demand and accumulated savings during lockdowns. However, red flags are emerging – inflation has moderated but remains a concern, consumer sentiment is weak, and rising interest rates pose challenges for credit and housing.

Marketers face a critical bet on whether consumers can sustain their spending habits amidst economic uncertainties. While job growth remains strong, a cost-of-money crisis might replace the recent cost-of-living challenges.

As marketers stand at the crossroads of AI adoption, weight loss trends, and economic uncertainties, strategic decisions will define success in 2024. The year holds the promise of transformative shifts, but navigating these bets requires a keen understanding of consumer behavior, societal preferences, and economic dynamics. The path forward is uncertain, but with informed choices, marketers can position themselves for success in adynamic and evolving landscape.

Cate Bender, the author, is Project Coordinator of Marketing Keys

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January 12, 2024