June 26, 2024

Six months in: what does the rest of 2024 have in store for PR and marketing?

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Six months in: what does the rest of 2024 have in store for PR and marketing?

Hanna Garrett

Hanna Garrett, PR and Marketing Manager:
  • AI finds a way 
  • Relationships remain key
  • Customer retention versus customer acquisition

The world of PR and marketing is changing constantly. From the explosion in the use of AI tools, to phasing out third-party cookies to changing customer expectations, the first six months of the year have already been a rollercoaster. So, what does the next six months have in store? 

Authenticity

Research indicates a growing mistrust of influencers and a rising awareness of greenwashing, particularly among Gen Zs. Following the introduction of anti-greenwashing rules by both the European Union and the Financial Conduct Authority this year, an increasing number of consumers are more savvy about sustainability claims. With this in mind, it has never been more important for brands to act and communicate authentically with their audiences to build trust. Recently, Unilever has come under fire for cutting back on its targets for virgin plastic use and scrapping its commitments to diversity and inclusion – a damaging betrayal of consumer trust for a brand that has historically portrayed itself as committed to social and environmental action.

Generative AI

Trust is an ongoing theme in 2024. Research shows that 62% of consumers say they are less likely to engage with and trust content if they know it was created by an AI application. Unsurprisingly, different generations have different levels of trust toward AI generated content: Gen Z is more likely to engage with AI content while older users fall into the opposite camp. AI is here to stay so brands need to focus on ensuring content, however it is created, aligns with their values and provides an authentic experience for the consumer.

Media relations

The impact of AI technology is also being felt in newsrooms across the world. However, even more impactful are funding constraints, the pressure to churn out more stories (up to 11 a day!) and National World’s ban on using press release content. With less time and more pressure, building a deep understanding of what a journalist is looking for, and nurturing strong connections with them, is essential to secure earned media coverage for a brand. 

While relationships with journalists don’t guarantee coverage (that’s called advertising), it does mean that they are more likely to consider your spokesperson or pitch as it will be tailored, timely and relevant. X still remains a key platform to identify and connect with journalists, but LinkedIn is quickly catching up…

Social media

Speaking of social media channels, let’s talk about Threads. While the app launched in 2023 and was quickly lauded as an alternative to X, the newest social media platform has yet to surpass X’s audience size. While this could change – or a contender could come to market – platforms such as Threads and Mastodon do not provide equivalent reach. So, what platforms should a brand include in its marketing mix? The ones where its target audience are.

Email marketing

The deprecation of the third-party cookie has begun with Google rolling out Tracking Protection as part of its broader Privacy Sandbox initiative.  Whie only 1% of Chrome users are affected globally at the moment, it has wider implications for brands. Now is the time for email marketing to shine. Subscribers are willing to share their preferences in a meaningful way and brands can nurture authentic connections with their prospective and existing customers by offering personalised content without compromising on privacy or data measurement. 

On that note, while customer acquisition is important for business growth, customer retention and strengthening long-term loyalty should be a strategic focus for brands. Personalised email marketing, designed to enhance the customer experience and foster customer engagement, should form a central pillar of any retention strategy.

Hanna Garrett, PR and Marketing Manager:
  • AI finds a way 
  • Relationships remain key
  • Customer retention versus customer acquisition

The world of PR and marketing is changing constantly. From the explosion in the use of AI tools, to phasing out third-party cookies to changing customer expectations, the first six months of the year have already been a rollercoaster. So, what does the next six months have in store? 

Authenticity

Research indicates a growing mistrust of influencers and a rising awareness of greenwashing, particularly among Gen Zs. Following the introduction of anti-greenwashing rules by both the European Union and the Financial Conduct Authority this year, an increasing number of consumers are more savvy about sustainability claims. With this in mind, it has never been more important for brands to act and communicate authentically with their audiences to build trust. Recently, Unilever has come under fire for cutting back on its targets for virgin plastic use and scrapping its commitments to diversity and inclusion – a damaging betrayal of consumer trust for a brand that has historically portrayed itself as committed to social and environmental action.

Generative AI

Trust is an ongoing theme in 2024. Research shows that 62% of consumers say they are less likely to engage with and trust content if they know it was created by an AI application. Unsurprisingly, different generations have different levels of trust toward AI generated content: Gen Z is more likely to engage with AI content while older users fall into the opposite camp. AI is here to stay so brands need to focus on ensuring content, however it is created, aligns with their values and provides an authentic experience for the consumer.

Media relations

The impact of AI technology is also being felt in newsrooms across the world. However, even more impactful are funding constraints, the pressure to churn out more stories (up to 11 a day!) and National World’s ban on using press release content. With less time and more pressure, building a deep understanding of what a journalist is looking for, and nurturing strong connections with them, is essential to secure earned media coverage for a brand. 

While relationships with journalists don’t guarantee coverage (that’s called advertising), it does mean that they are more likely to consider your spokesperson or pitch as it will be tailored, timely and relevant. X still remains a key platform to identify and connect with journalists, but LinkedIn is quickly catching up…

Social media

Speaking of social media channels, let’s talk about Threads. While the app launched in 2023 and was quickly lauded as an alternative to X, the newest social media platform has yet to surpass X’s audience size. While this could change – or a contender could come to market – platforms such as Threads and Mastodon do not provide equivalent reach. So, what platforms should a brand include in its marketing mix? The ones where its target audience are.

Email marketing

The deprecation of the third-party cookie has begun with Google rolling out Tracking Protection as part of its broader Privacy Sandbox initiative.  Whie only 1% of Chrome users are affected globally at the moment, it has wider implications for brands. Now is the time for email marketing to shine. Subscribers are willing to share their preferences in a meaningful way and brands can nurture authentic connections with their prospective and existing customers by offering personalised content without compromising on privacy or data measurement. 

On that note, while customer acquisition is important for business growth, customer retention and strengthening long-term loyalty should be a strategic focus for brands. Personalised email marketing, designed to enhance the customer experience and foster customer engagement, should form a central pillar of any retention strategy.

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