It’s a good time to be a consumer marketing leader. Despite crazy-high prices for everything from food to flights, consumer sentiment is strong, and inflation expectations for the next year are the lowest they’ve been in three years.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean overseeing marketing for a B2C company has gotten any easier. We recently met with a group of consumer marketing execs for a conversation about what’s top of mind as they execute their marketing plans for 2024.

Here are the highlights from our discussion:

ROI takes center stage.

We had a robust conversation about measuring marketing ROI and the specific metrics that each leader tracks. As one CMO said, “Marketing has been the land of everything, but now we’re asking ourselves, ‘How do we make fewer programs matter more?’”. Her team is in the process of taking a surgical approach to assessing what marketing programs are working and what aren’t so they can then scale those that are successful and terminate the others.

Interestingly, we’ve heard the same theme from the B2B marketing leaders we talk to. The pressure this sector has been under to reduce expenses has created an opportunity to dig deep into their marketing spend and do “ruthless ROI analyses,” as one tech CMO described it.

Selling cannabis is (still) hard.

Every industry brings a unique set of marketing challenges. One of the participants heads up marketing for a hemp company. Cannabis is legal in 38 states for medical use and in 24 states for recreational use. However, at the federal level, it’s still considered a Schedule 1 drug, in the same category as heroin and ecstasy. This means some of the most effective channels typically used to market consumer products are closed to cannabis marketers. You can’t run Google Ads, and Facebook and Instagram have shut down cannabis ads. Twitter and LinkedIn are still open for business, although it will be an interesting day when ads for cannabinoids are filling up your LinkedIn feed.

AI – caution flags are flying.

While the marketing leaders at the meeting all recognize that AI will fundamentally impact future marketing practices, they are still treading cautiously. We talked about the significant impact ChatGPT and similar tools will have on SEO and paid search traffic. To counter this, Google is rolling out SGE (Search Generative Experience) this spring.

One participant mentioned an effective use case for e-commerce sites – using AI for cost optimization. For example, platforms like Shopify have built in AI-based tools that can serve up dynamic pricing based on customer profile, location, product bundle, etc.

Beyond marketing use cases, one CMO’s company is using AI to build knowledge-sharing tools for their customer services representatives, so the reps have faster access to the information their customers need. With one million inbound calls per week, this tool is expected to have a significant impact on customer experience and satisfaction.

For more on AI’s impact on marketing practices, register for our upcoming webinar: GenAI: 5 Seismic Shifts for Marketing on March 19th.

From ROI to cannabis to AI, our conversations with marketing leaders never disappoint. It will be interesting to see if consumer sentiment continues to trend positively as the year progresses, and how this might impact marketing strategy and investment.


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