2023 was arguably the biggest year for generative AI ever.
Across the industry, marketing teams dove in and began experimenting with AI.
Forrester found that 70% of enterprises are currently exploring gen AI solutions in their businesses. September data from Salesforce supports this as well: 51% of the 1,000 marketers they surveyed were using gen AI in their workflows and another 22% planned to soon. Finally, our own AI adoption research shows all the ways that marketers in particular have begun to use this technology to build campaigns, write content, analyze market and customer data, spark creativity and more.
With all of this use, what have we learned that will inform where AI heads in 2024?
The analysts and research experts at Forrester have been hard at work making predictions to answer this very question. They recently released a huge range of thought leadership pieces with predictions on the many ways generative AI will impact businesses and professionals of all kinds next year. A number of these predictions focused on marketers specifically.
“2024 will be another banner year for AI overall ushering in a new era of intentional AI,” said Michele Goetz, VP and principal analyst at Forrester. She adds “Gimmicks and technical experimentation of gen AI [will] give way to more focused and strategic initiatives.”
We rounded up all of Forrester’s AI predictions for 2024 that marketers will find interesting across half a dozen stories. These pieces explore everything from data security to AI in the B2B to what CMOs need to know — all neatly organized here.
Chief Marketing Officers Need To Be AI Innovators
- CMOs are expected to be the leaders at the forefront of AI innovation within their organizations as they move from exploring the technology to practical experimentation meant to impact business success. This shift is so significant that next year, Forrester predicts 20% of new CMO job descriptions will demand experience in generative AI. This idea is echoed by the eight out of 10 B2C marketing executives who said they were either exploring this technology in late Q2.
- CMOs will focus on connecting different tools that work best for their specific needs rather than relying on a 'marketing cloud' — a one-size-fits-all tool for marketing. Half of all companies will take this approach, using new tech like customer data platforms and AI to make everything work together easier. As a result, marketers who target everyday consumers can work more flexibly and cover more bases in their strategies. This means a better understanding of customers, smarter brand strategies and more effective brand promotion.
- “Only 10% of tech execs will get ‘growth’ right despite the clear call to action,” predicted Forrester VP and Research Director Matthew Guarini. “While most advanced firms have made growth a priority, many of them fall short on execution because of disconnected systems and lack of leadership support.” AI will be essential to business growth and CMOs can be the leaders who spearhead conversations across the business on the need to invest in the technology.
Marketing and AI Data Security
- There are new U.S. laws coming next year that will impact how marketers handle consumer data and privacy. The European Union will also be reviewing how its General Data Protection Regulation should be enforced based on AI. Lastly, Google will be introducing a Privacy Sandbox to Chrome users: “A series of APIs to satisfy cross-site use cases without third-party cookies or other tracking mechanisms.” As a result, marketers will need to adjust their strategies to stay compliant with these new laws and policies.
- Marketers will need to be increasingly coordinated with their security and privacy colleagues in strategy discussions and campaign approvals, working more closely with the experts who understand data privacy rules and regulations to ensure their campaigns don't violate any laws or company policies. However, there's a shortage of privacy professionals. And only 17% of privacy decision-makers believe their teams have marketing skills. Forrester predicts that five large B2C brands will allocate part of their marketing budget to either hire more privacy team members or train existing ones.
- “Sixty percent of workers will use their own AI to perform their job and tasks,” said Senior Analyst Forrester Alla Valente. “In 2024, shadow AI will spawn as organizations struggling to manage regulatory, privacy, and security issues won’t be able to keep up with widespread bring-your-own-AI. In addition to just genAI tools, employees will also use personally owned AI-infused software for work, adding to the BYOAI boom in the coming year.”
Learn more about how AI can enhance integrated marketing campaigns.
B2B Gen AI
- One in five new B2B product launches will be influenced by generative AI. “Gen AI’s ability to sift rapidly through piles of structured and unstructured data will help identify novel or non-obvious capabilities that, in turn, we believe will make it into 20% of products launched,” wrote Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Laura Ramos. “To make these efforts pay off further, teams should elevate their use of continuous product discovery to collect even more meaningful data, bring buyer viewpoints directly into the development process, and build out features collaboratively.”
- 70% of B2B buyers will be disappointed by generic generative AI content. Businesses that use AI to market “poorly personalized offers, or translations free of local nuance” paired with a failure to “demonstrate an understanding of their organization’s business conditions” will frustrate almost three-quarters of B2B buyers, according to Ramos. “B2B marketers looking to put generative AI to better use should invest in fresh buyer and customer persona interviews and use the transcripts to guide their content personalization efforts,” she said. In short, marketers will need to edit and personalize their AI outputs to their audience or risk alienating them!
How AI Will Impact Agencies
- Fear of AI missteps will spur increase in agency reviews. “Agencies and marketers will be left to self-govern AI marketing practices until the US and EU enact AI legislation, expected by 2026,” wrote Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Jay Pattisall. “This will make business leaders nervous. Sixty-one percent of AI decision-makers are concerned about privacy and data protection that might violate laws such as the GDPR, and 57% are concerned about the misuse of genAI’s outputs leading to errors. As a result, 2024 will see more accounts up for review as marketers look for safe AI implementation to control the reputational fallout from mismanaged AI marketing executions.”
- Agencies will upscale AI from experimental to practical use. They'll leverage generative AI's speed, intelligence and scale for practical applications. Forrester predicts 2024 to be a rollercoaster ride for marketers, agency leaders, and technology vendors as they navigate the challenges of making AI a hallmark of agency workflows.
- As the AI gap widens, 50% of tech executives will seek external partnerships to bridge it. Unable to harness genAI, engineering prompts, and AI-integrated applications, they will turn to service providers like Accenture, Tata Consultancy Services, and Wipro. These vendors, already heavily invested in the field, offer the necessary tools, alliances, and expertise. With AI on the rise, these executives will strategically balance between dependency and co-innovation, seeing it as an opportunity to reshape external relationships.
- There are ample opportunities in AI for marketing agencies and implementation service providers. There will also be some necessary transformations in practices and pricing. Jasper is in the pilot stage of a new program geared toward helping marketing agencies, consultants and other types of service providers leverage generative AI to scale their marketing content solutions for clients. You can learn more about the solutions partnership program here.
Regardless of your industry, Forrester predicts that marketing will evolve next year as generative AI is woven deeper into the fabric of marketing ops and begins driving business value
Forrester VP and principal analyst Michele Goetz said the biggest hallmark of all these predictions is “the culmination of moving AI, and specifically gen AI, away from the cubicles of unicorn technologists to instead focus on filling pent-up demand that will drive real business growth.”
We couldn't agree more.