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Research: 61% of marketers optimistic for 2024

December 6, 2023

Despite concerns about the economy, the majority of marketers (61 per cent) are optimistic and expect business to be better next year than the current year, according to The Voice of the Marketer 2024, a report by WARC.

With global marketing investment set to increase 8.2 per cent in 2024 to top $1 trillion for the first time, per WARC Media, the report illustrates the ongoing investment trend towards digital channels. However, when exploring measurement techniques for marketing investment, more than a fifth (22 per cent) of marketers employ no form of modelling in their evaluation processes.

Isabel Cleaver, Senior Analyst, WARC, commented: “The aim of this report is to offer more insight into what is top of mind for marketers moving into 2024, particularly around investment, media channels and measurement. A significant finding from our survey analysis is that while marketers are concerned about the impact of an economic recession, there is also a sense of optimism regarding the business climate and marketing budgets for 2024.”

The key findings outlined in The Voice of the Marketer 2024 based on survey analysis of 1,400+ marketers worldwide are:

  • 61 per cent of marketers are optimistic despite economic worries

For the second year running, two-thirds (64 per cent) of marketers indicated that economic recession is seen to have the biggest impact on marketing strategies in 2024, with 41 per cent highlighting inflation and the cost-of-living crisis as the biggest challenges they face over the next 12 months.

Yet almost two-thirds of marketers (61 per cent) expect that business will improve in 2024 and 41 per cent believe that marketing budgets will increase next year. In Europe and North America, just over a third expect budgets to be higher in 2024 (37 per cent and 35 per cent respectively). In contrast, half of marketers (50 per cent) in APAC expect budgets to grow next year.

It would appear that more marketers understand that maintaining or even increasing investment in brand marketing can be effective in navigating economic downturns.

Grant McKenzie, Chief Marketing Officer – Europe and International, Asahi, said: “Having been through a couple of these economically challenging times, you have to be very careful not to try to cut costs to the detriment of value… Marketers at these times have to be very careful not to change the strategy where it doesn’t need to change.”

  • Investment in digital channels – especially online video – expected to grow

An ongoing migration to spend on digital channels continues. Marketers are planning to increase investments in social media, online video and mobile, with spend expected to mostly stay the same or decrease in traditional channels like print, cinema and TV.

TikTok and YouTube are the platforms expected to receive the biggest increases in marketing spend in 2024. By contrast, the many controversies surrounding X (formerly Twitter) have severely impacted  perceptions of the company among marketers. One third of marketers (31 per cent) expect to decrease investments in X in 2024 – the highest decrease observed over the past three years.

Confidence in the metaverse has also decreased significantly. While nearly half (47 per cent) of marketers said they expected to increase investment in the metaverse in 2023, only a tenth (11 per cent) expect to do so next year.

The advice to marketers is to diversify media investments and monitor new opportunities whilst safeguarding a brand’s reputation.

  • Brands struggle to keep pace with evolving measurement: 39 per cent of marketers say measurement is a top concern for 2024 and 22 per cent admit to not using any form of modelling

While measurement appears to be a key priority for marketers to assess the impact of their marketing, its implementation remains complex, patchy and inconsistent.

Some 39 per cent of marketers globally have identified measurement as a top concern for 2024, increasing to 48% among those based in North America. Yet fewer than one in ten marketers (4 per cent) use all available marketing measurement methods in combination (brand lift studies, econometrics/MMM, experiments and attribution) and one-fifth (22 per cent) admitted to not utilising any form of modelling.

Over half (54 per cent) of marketers view brand metrics (e.g. awareness, consideration, purchase intent) as having the greatest impact on their marketing strategy, above ROI, sales and market penetration.

The advice to marketers is to evaluate the different measurement tools available and incorporate different measurement techniques for a holistic view of marketing activities.

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