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Marketers to enter the ‘real world’ by 2024

A selection of leading marketers have predicted the return of real world considerations this year as the rise of the metaverse stalls.

With artificial intelligence-influenced chat, music and imagery all the rage – along with the associated trust issues – it is perhaps unsurprising that marketers foresee authentic, real-life experiences.

Louis Persent, the co-founder and creative director of Weirdo, an inclusion-led agency for clients including Bumble, Gymshark and Nike, laid out his vision of the near future.

“It’s the end of 2023 and after all the hyperbole around brands and the virtual world, we’re still awaiting the arrival of the metaverse. Meta’s gone further than just changing its stock ticker back to FB and is about to rebrand back to Facebook.

“With the pandemic far behind us, the Ticketmaster fiasco ushers in a revolution in live events. Experiences flourish. TikTok launches new features to help its online communities meet IRL. That huge IKEA store at Oxford Circus opens. Brands jump on board with the real world.”

Community building has never gone out of fashion, but with six-fingered hands and passive aggressive, inaccurate bot chat, that need for a sense of belonging and collective will only become more acute in 2023.

“Trust becomes ever more important for people in the world of AI, deepfakes and gigantic flows of information from digital sources. This trend towards AI will be counterbalanced by the need for real human connections and marketing activities designed to drive trust in real people behind businesses,” claims Kate Cox, CMO at Swedish AdTech company BrightBid.

“The IPA Bellwether report cited face-to-face events as the top-performing channel in Q4 2022 after two years’ hiatus from the pandemic and this is only set to continue into other channels. Community marketing initiatives will become incredibly important for marketing teams especially in B2B. These activities encompass areas such as meetups, industry specific WhatsApp groups or networking channels.”

This collective desire for authenticity also appears to change marketers’ perspectives on how best to manage their campaigns, with end-to-end control being tantamount to their success.

“Having in-house teams will be the norm, ensuring brand governance at every customer touchpoint,” confirms Vicky Hope, co-founder of LOOP Agency, specialists in automotive PR.

Once the jurisdiction is in place, any external stakeholders will also need to display authenticity and honesty in the real world according to Senior Account Executive Alexandra Whiteside at the award-winning No Brainer Agency.

“With the hashtag #deinfluencing trending like crazy on TikTok, already racking up over 196 million views, it’s evident 2023 will be the year of the ‘de-influencer’ – a trust test for the authenticity of a brand’s message.

“In an age where creators are taking back control of their affiliate content, brands will either sink or swim. They may use this new shift in the influencer landscape to utilise the emerging trend to their advantage or accept they might come under scrutiny for their chosen actions if there’s any sniff of questionable motives.

“This new world of de-influencing won’t necessarily bring the ‘end of influencers’ as we know it, but it will make influencers think twice about the type of brands they choose to work with, and vice versa.”

The influencer market is growing beyond all recognition. The incredible popularity of short-form social media content alongside laser-guided targeted ads means it is currently worth $16.4bn.

This potential audience for influencers is only going to increase as Gen Alpha (typically born between 2010 and 2024) become the big players in social media, having grown up device-in-hand.

Yet, it is not simply smartphones that this generation own; over 67% of UK households possess a smart TV.

“WIth an ever-increasing number of TV content choices available to both consumers and advertisers, the message couldn’t be clearer: TV is not dying, it’s changing and changing fast into Advanced TV (ATV).

“ATV is a deceptively simple term that encapsulates all non-traditional TV delivery. 2023 will be the year for marketers to change the way they view their TV advertising budgets,” says Pierre De Lannoy, EMEA strategy director at programmatic marketers MiQ.

So connected TVs, communities and customers in the real world are the buzz terms for the next ten months ahead of the metaverse. It is not only marketers who will find this deeply ironic considering the imperious aims of the virtual marketplace and digital connector.

What else to expert by 31st December 2023:

David Courtier-Dutton, CEO at SoundOut: ‘Sonic strategy to become key trend’

“With a surge in brands embracing sonic branding over the past three years, many are now viewing audio, and music in particular, as the last great unexploited medium to drive emotional associations with consumers.”

Martijn Zoetebier, group director business development at Linehub: ‘Real-time market insights to prove ROI’

“With real-time market insights you get the full picture of all developments in your market. They allow you to really understand what’s happening in your market and how customer needs are changing. You signal upcoming trends before they are trending, worldwide, nationwide, regionally and even locally. You spot the right growth opportunities for your brand and remain relevant with your brand and products.”

Pete Sayburn, CEO at Studiospace: ‘The rise of the independent’

“The big holding companies simply can’t deliver the specialist skills, flexibility or value their clients demand and a wave of independent specialists are growing fast to fill the space. 2023 is the year of the indie agency. Young, founder-led, purpose-driven specialists, full of big ideas, are ready to shake up the marketing establishment.”