State of Marketing 2023: Prepare for the Unpredictable

January 26, 2023

As data privacy expectations increase and consumers demand even more personalized experiences, brands are under pressure to show up in authentic and engaging ways that add value at every interaction. Accompanied by economic uncertainty and a critical skills shortage, marketing is in a state of flux.

Marketing teams must foster resilience for the year ahead as they respond to the world around them. To support brands in this evolving landscape, Reuters Events has created The State of Marketing 2023, an in-depth analysis of the industry’s emerging trends and challenges.

Informed by over 250 marketing leaders, alongside qualitative interviews with some of the world’s most influential CMOs, executives from L’Oréal, Nationwide, Schell Games, Merck Group, P&G, Microsoft, NBC Universal and many more, have shared their thoughts and strategies.

Released in four monthly instalments, the State of Marketing 2023 report will provide insights, analysis, and solutions to the biggest challenges in the industry. Read on for a sneak peak into the four chapters of the report.

Part 1: Purpose-driven, Measurable, Valuable

Keeping a brand at the front of the customer’s mind is one of the first steps to thriving in a recession. Marketers recognized this in 2022, but it is even more important as we approach 2023. According to the initial findings of the Reuters Events: State of Marketing survey, the top brand priorities in the coming year are strengthening brand identity, increasing brand awareness, and purpose and value-driven marketing.

“Consumers, and especially younger generations, will be much more focused on ensuring that the brands that they’re inviting into their lives offer meaningful value that they can clearly justify.” – Justin DeGeorge, Vice President, Marketing, Nespresso

Companies must embrace purpose-driven marketing across the entire organization, while translating the causes they champion into meaningful action:

  • Put purpose into practice and align core values with consumer values
  • Focus on metrics that matter from awareness to loyalty, engagement to impressions
  • Keep up with cultural trends and evolve alongside the needs of the consumer
  • Incorporate the causes brands champion into rebranding strategies

For savvy marketers, these strategies will be instrumental in building brand awareness, value, and equity.

Part 2: The Art and Science of Storytelling

At the beginning of 2022 – and this remains the case heading into 2023 – creating content that speaks to consumers is a top priority, second only to brand evolution. But creativity alone won’t be enough. “In 2023, marketing teams will need to be super clear on expected outcomes and how that’s going to be measured,” says Steven Fuld, SVP Marketing, Sony.

According to our survey, when considering which platform expects to deliver the strongest growth in 2023, TikTok is the frontrunner amongst respondents at 53%. Reported to have a billion active users across 154 countries with 43% of those falling within Gen Z, this is a clear reminder not to ignore younger audiences. Whether social media (43%) or email (21%) is your best performing channel, aligning campaign strategies with the passion points of your consumers is essential.

However, cutting through marketing noise with personalized content that speaks to the consumer is a difficult task. In Part 2: ‘The Art and Science of Storytelling’ we explore three priorities for 2023: creating content that is relevant and engaging, measuring the effectiveness of your content strategy, and delivering personalized digital experiences. The report focuses on:

  • How to meet the consumers where they are at the moments that matter
  • What hyper-personalization look like and how can it be measured
  • Which platforms will provide the biggest growth in 2023 
  • Which KPIs are central to judge the success of channel growth

Meeting the consumers wherever they are, while providing value with the creative content you deliver, will remain a priority for the year ahead.  

Part 3: Data Privacy and the Power of Insight

An overwhelming 89% of survey respondents see data privacy as crucial to building trust with customers. However, just 14% of respondents have first-party data that is fully integrated and accessible across the organization.

“The shift is to go from siloed, backward-looking, measurement focused datasets to being more forward-looking and predicting and anticipating the future,” says Nick Graham, SVP, Global Head of Insights and Analytics, Mondelēz International

Developing a well-aligned functional data strategy that powers insight is a key step to building a 360 view of the consumer. This will require:  

  • Using robust data analysis to build effective, personalized marketing campaigns
  • Optimizing personalized experiences to create and maintain valuable relationships with your consumer 
  • Leveraging automation and data insights to generate authentic content and deliver value at every touchpoint 

In addition to reducing siloed data, using real-time data will rely on unlocking first-party, high value insights. Marketing teams should focus on implementing the right CDP to consolidate all digital touchpoints into a single, useable customer profile.

Part 4: Investments, Resourcing, and the Future of Talent

In 2022, one in five workers planned to quit their jobs before the end of the year, according to PwC’s 2022 ‘Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey’, one of the largest surveys of the global workforce. This evolving talent crisis is real for 57% of marketers who believe that this will impact their business in 2023.

“It’s never been fiercer. There’s incredible competition for high quality talent at every level… If marketing is the intersection of art and science, then demand has been way more for science-based capabilities than the art.” – Steven Fuld, SVP, Marketing, Sony Corporation America

As we trudge through the ‘Great Resignation’ attracting and retaining talent demands:

  • Driving innovation and stay relevant by hiring fresh talent and generating new ideas
  • Adopting a people-focused approach to your brand messaging, unifying mission, vision and culture
  • Championing diversity of thought by ensuring your workforce mirrors your consumer communities

Whether it’s investing in product development or digital media, skilled talent, or a new technology, marketers need to be alert to subtle shifts in customer behavior and thoughtful about where they direct investment. The good news is that over half of marketers are stepping into 2023 with plans to increase budgets, but just 14% of those will be making substantial investments. The focus for 2023, simply put, will be how to do more with less.

With uncertainty at an all-time high and the competition greater than ever, marketers must stay ahead of industry trends and beat challenger brands as we look towards 2023.

The Reuters Events: State of Marketing 2023 report seeks to shed light on these issues and provide actionable insights to equip marketers with the tools to position themselves favorably in the current climate. The most successful brands will meet their customers with fresh purpose and deep understanding, marry data-driven insight with human creativity, and deliver true value to customers in these unpredictable times.

If you’d like to learn more about the state of marketing, you can access the full report here.