Four urgent takeaways from the 2024 Marketing trends report

Four urgent takeaways from the 2024 Marketing trends report

We surveyed more than 550 marketing leaders to uncover the insights, trends, and strategies that will bolster teams’ efficiency in the year ahead.

If you’re in marketing, you’re accustomed to the “do more with less” mantra. But the pressure to deliver on revenue goals and prove strategic impact has never been more pronounced. Facing growing expectations from across the org, as well as urgency from emerging technologies like AI, marketing leaders are juggling a handful of operational and executional priorities. 

But there are commonalities in teams who are thriving in this environment of constant change. In a recent survey of more than 550 marketing leaders, we found that, despite the prevailing narrative of resource scarcity, the real challenge for marketers in 2024 isn’t constrained budgets or lean teams. Instead, it is the effective utilization of existing resources and the ability to measure (and prove) return on investments.

Our research found that connecting information between tools, teams, and workflows is essential to optimizing resources and accelerating ROI. And that the most successful marketing teams build upon this connection with razor-sharp focus and enduring flexibility. 

This five-minute read will give you a high-level overview of some key findings. For the full story, download the report here.

1. Marketing teams are expected to significantly contribute to business revenue 

Marketing leaders are facing mounting pressure to contribute to the organization's revenue goals. Eighty-eight percent of marketing leaders are now responsible for meeting a revenue goal, up from 79% the previous year. This highlights the growing expectation for marketing teams to impact the bottom line directly.

Despite this, marketing leaders are struggling with decreased visibility into ROI. Only 25% of marketing leaders report very high ROI visibility, a decline from 33% the previous year. This is a challenge for marketing teams responsible for driving revenue, as they're struggling to accurately measure their efforts' effectiveness, which poses a significant challenge for growth.

The primary reason is that most marketing leaders work in silos and run into friction collaborating with other departments. A lack of centralized data means that individual departmental goals are often prioritized over working toward a common objective, hindering the organization's overall progress.

To overcome this, marketing teams must foster collaboration and alignment across marketing functions with other departments, such as sales and customer support. 

Marketing operations consultant, Laura Camila Rivera states, "When a marketing strategy is shaped by collective input, it not only becomes more robust but also garners widespread support across the organization."

2. Beyond content generation, AI plays a broader role in accelerating marketing work

Certainly, generative AI’s content creation capabilities have garnered significant attention. But this report shows how AI is streamlining operations across the entire marketing supply chain—from planning and production to distribution and measurement. 

  • Sixty-six percent of marketing leaders leverage AI to parse data and facilitate better insights.
  • Sixty-one percent of marketing leaders use AI to improve asset usage and ROI. 
  • Moreover, 59% of marketing leaders use AI to brainstorm ideas that drive customer loyalty, and 56% use it to scale content generation while lowering costs.

AI's ability to analyze large datasets and discover hidden insights helps marketers make data-driven decisions and allocate resources more effectively. Marketing leaders also recognize AI's potential to accelerate production and optimize asset usage.

In fact, our research shows that teams who use AI in everyday work are significantly more likely to consistently meet revenue goals, compared to those who only use AI a moderate amount or not at all. 

3. The most efficient teams automate manual work and sync data between tools 

Today, when everything is scattered across different software, automation is the holy grail for anyone who wants to do more with less. 

Eighty-eight percent of marketing leaders say they must increase their use of AI and automation to meet customer expectations and stay competitive. And marketing teams with "mostly" or "completely" automated processes for syncing data between tools are more likely to meet deadlines and achieve revenue goals, compared to teams with manual processes. 

Check out how Eric Doty, Content lead at Dock—automates multiple processes with Zapier and Airtable. 

4. Martech overload is threatening visibility into ROI

Marketing leaders often invest heavily in martech tools with the expectation that such tools will improve visibility into ROI. 

Our research reveals that two-thirds (67%) of leaders reported a 20% to 50% increase in software and technology expenditure over the last year, while only 8% reported reduced spend. 

Despite this significant investment, just 25% of marketing leaders have high visibility into ROI, down from 33% the previous year.

The complexity of the martech landscape is a significant contributor to this problem. Marketing teams use an average of 19 different tools in everyday work, leading to data duplication and siloed work. 

Forty-three percent of respondents said that between 30% and 50% of their team's data is duplicated across multiple platforms, such as spreadsheets, documents, and apps. This fragmentation hinders marketing leaders' ability to view their efforts comprehensively and accurately measure ROI.

Moreover, supporting research shows that Martech tools are often underutilized, with 77% of B2B marketers reporting redundancies in their tech stack. This wastes valuable resources and contributes to the siloing of information and insights, making it even more challenging to prove the impact of marketing initiatives.

If you’re interested in learning more about the opportunities and challenges facing marketing teams, download the full report. Or, to see how Airtable helps marketers adapt quickly and solidify their role within organizations, watch our video on the marketing supply chain.

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