As we approach the end of 2023, the business community eagerly anticipates the trends and transformations that the new year might bring. In this season of predictions, insights from Dr. Pardis Shafafi of Designit and Michael Knowles of ROAR Digital Marketing stand out, offering a detailed glimpse into the future of business and marketing in 2024.
Their forecasts, rooted in extensive industry experience, provide valuable guidance for professionals seeking to navigate the evolving business landscape.
A Turning Point for Social Media in 2024
Dr. Pardis Shafafi, an anthropologist and Global Responsible Business Lead at Designit, foresees a significant shift in the realm of social media. Drawing an analogy to Jennifer Egan’s 2022 novel ‘The Candy House,’ she predicts that 2024 will be a year of reckoning for social media giants. This prediction stems from an increasing public awareness of the value of personal data and a growing reluctance to engage in the unchecked exchange of information with these platforms. Dr. Shafafi anticipates a rise in individuals opting out of social media, driven by a collective awakening to the sanctity of personal data. This shift is expected to have far-reaching consequences, challenging the inevitability of our digitized lives and potentially reshaping the landscape of digital marketing and consumer engagement strategies.
The Decline of Greenwashing
Another significant prediction from Dr. Shafafi is the potential decline of greenwashing in 2024. Contrary to previous years, where superficial sustainability efforts were often enough to satisfy consumer demands, the coming year is expected to bring a more discerning and critical consumer base. This shift is likely a result of an emerging generation of designers, creators, and marketers who are trained in sustainable and ethical practices. With a focus on ‘Do No Harm,’ decolonial approaches, and sustainable design, these professionals are anticipated to drive a movement towards truly responsible and sustainable products and services, marking a potential end to the era of greenwashing.
AI: From Dystopian Narratives to Practical Discussions
Dr. Shafafi also addresses the changing discourse around artificial intelligence. While 2023 saw a prevalence of dystopian narratives about AI, she predicts a shift towards more introspective and practical discussions in 2024. The focus is expected to move away from exaggerated fears of an AI apocalypse to examining how AI technologies are currently embedded in our lives. This includes their benefits and drawbacks, particularly in terms of sustainability and ethical considerations. The conversation is likely to revolve around the everyday implications of AI, such as its environmental impact and the trade-offs of relying on AI for routine tasks.
AI as a Marketing Ally
Echoing the significance of AI in the upcoming year, Michael Knowles, a former Google trainer and founder of ROAR Digital Marketing, emphasizes the growing role of AI in business and marketing. He predicts that AI systems, like ChatGPT, will become increasingly indispensable tools for marketing departments. With advancements in personalization, accuracy, and the adoption of everyday language, AI is expected to significantly enhance human creativity and efficiency in marketing campaigns. Knowles highlights the potential of AI in analyzing search engine patterns and data, thereby informing businesses on how to improve their search engine rankings and tailor their content strategies effectively.
Balancing AI and Human Creativity
However, Knowles warns against an over-reliance on AI for content generation. He notes that while AI can be a powerful tool for idea generation and content supplementation, it cannot replace the human touch essential in understanding a business’s core values, brand personality, and ethical considerations. The key, according to Knowles, lies in finding the right balance between leveraging AI’s capabilities and maintaining the unique human elements that resonate with audiences.
The Integration of AI in Business Operations
Reflecting on the increasing adoption of AI in business, Knowles observes a positive response from companies integrating this technology. While AI’s role in generating ideas and content for marketing campaigns is growing, he emphasizes that the human element remains irreplaceable. Knowles predicts that AI will become a standard feature in digital marketing packages, transforming it from an optional add-on to a fundamental component of business strategy.
The predictions for 2024 by Dr. Shafafi and Michael Knowles paint a picture of a business world in flux, with significant changes in consumer attitudes, marketing strategies, and technological integration. As businesses prepare for these shifts, the insights provided by these experts offer valuable guidance for navigating the evolving landscape of business and marketing.