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What we see for 2023: SJC's Media & Marketing Trends

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SJC Team

Disclaimer: The introduction of this article was written with the help of a conversational AI tool (putting one of our trends to the test).  A testament to its record-setting adoption rate (a million users within five days), ChatGPT is currently at  "user capacity"  so we used the trial version of a paid option, Jasper AI. Read on for our thoughts on AI, and the rest of our trend predictions for 2023.

As marketers, media planners and content creators, there is nothing more exciting than anticipating the trends of tomorrow. It's worth taking a second to imagine what our lives might look like in 2023: emerging technologies creating completely new possibilities for marketing experiences, shifting consumer behaviours driving demand for different types of content and campaigns, global events impacting markets all over the world - it feels as though every day holds a wealth of unknown potential. In this blog post we will explore some of the key predicted media & marketing trends from our own SJC experts that are likely to shape 2023.

Not bad for an intro. The possibilities of how AI will impact the process of content creation in 2023 are indeed fascinating. But it's important to remember that content generated through these tools is just that —artificial. A human touch (whether it's adding sufficient context, editing, or adding unique examples and perspective) will ensure the content is relevant, original and empathetic to your audience. So while we stuck with the general AI-generated intro for this article, for the trends themselves, we consulted our very own SJC humans.

Our 2023 media & marketing trends (shown in no particular order) offer an interesting blend of digital and technology, as well as a resurgence of more traditional mediums. We are excited to explore these trends with our customers in 2023 and beyond.

Local Love

With news that large multinational companies are making more money than ever despite a cooler market and impending recession, people will be focusing their engagement and their dollars on local initiatives and smaller businesses. We’ll continue to see influencer marketing and content creators at the heart of a lot of campaigns, but with a stronger sense of being rooted in their community. Highly visual mediums, like TikTok videos and infographics that offer quick, entertaining hits of information, will be how people prefer to consume their content.

The Robots are Coming

Or should we say, already here! AI continues to evolve at a rapid pace and 2023 is poised to be a defining year for acceleration and mass adoption. ChatGPT has showcased this with over 1 million users signing up within the first week of its release.But the true potential of ChatGPT is in its underlying technology, which is set to spawn even more tools and applications across various industries, particularly in digital media. By enabling data manipulation, personalization, analysis, and automation, it has the potential to revolutionize the way we create, market and consume content.The possibilities are seemingly endless as we eagerly await the release of GPT4. Also, don’t get me started on Midjourney AI.

Influencers and Content Creators are Not One in the Same

With the ROI on influencer marketing often stronger than traditional digital media, a lot of brands are expected to maintain or increase their spend with influencers this year. But this shouldn’t mean just paying for more #sponsored posts featuring product recommendations by social media superstars. Instead, it’s time to bring content creators into the marketing mix.

The terms influencer and content creator are often used interchangeably but they are actually quite different. To put it simply, influencers are tastemakers paid by brands to try to convince their followers to purchase a product or service — this normally involves sharing a photo or video along with a call to action. Content creators, on the other hand, are typically subject matter experts that create how-to videos, tutorials, podcasts and posts that show and / or tell their followers how to do something.

There are a lot of benefits working with content creators: 1) they are knowledgeable experts who can give a brand credibility; 2) they are often more affordable than influencers; 3) while they might have less followers, their followers are often more engaged; 4) the piece of content they create is a valuable marketing asset that a brand can use to educate current and prospective customers.These are just some of the reasons that SJC is bringing forward creators versus influencers when suggesting talent for our clients’ various content marketing needs.

Media Brand Advertising Revenue: the New Value Proposition Model

We are seeing the evolution of media brands and how they can create value for advertisers beyond traditional print and digital advertising. There is a tremendous opportunity for authoritative media brands to create a suite of scalable revenue growth initiatives designed to maximize value creation for media brands and advertisers driving value from:

  • Discoverability
  • Engagement
  • Conversion

There will be a focus on digital-first opportunities based on advertising partner needs for conversion events, first-party data relationships, linking strategies and domain authority for search. The value proposition will shift from the traditional media brand focus.

Owning Your Audience

Modern media brands and retailers need to be preparing for third-party cookie limitations in 2024 by owning and developing their own audiences today. Prioritizing user acquisition to grow subscriber databases and enriching those lists with zero and first-party data allows brands and publishers to control their own destiny. It provides the opportunity for highly personalized engagement with audiences across the brand’s core channels.It doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with testing your newsletter subscription forms for higher conversion rates, then progressively profile those users over time. Once you have a niche of deeply engaged subscribers, you have opportunities for monetization and growth.

Digital Ad Spend: Slowing but growing

Uncertain economic conditions will see digital ad spend continue to grow, but at a pace slower than previously projected (high single instead of double digits).Clients will want fewer agencies solving more (and larger) problems, and will want to reduce complexity in getting deals done. Stakeholders will want to understand how the data translates into profit and meaningful revenue. Brand authority and strong relationships will float to the top.Google is still struggling to find a way to depreciate third-party cookie tracking. From our own testing, newer identity solutions have been ineffectual, and Google’s own FLEDGE privacy sandbox has fallen short of the mark. It’s highly possible this initiative will be delayed yet again leaving marketers and advertising in a continued holding pattern.

Beyond a typical night out

Canadians have been hit hard with expensive living costs, especially this year. So spending will be cut down and spending your time wisely will be top of mind for most. People will be looking for alternatives to the traditional meetup. It will have to be meaningful experiences vs just a typical night out. We will likely see this trend develop further, as people need meaningful, transformative experiences to feel something is worth it.While in-person events are back in full force, hybrid events are here to stay. Event tech will definitely keep getting better and more sophisticated.And whether they happen online, offline, or in a hybrid model, events that remain flexible, easily accessible and emphasize meaning will likely become the norm in the years to come.

Back to Bricks and Mortar

Even in the middle of this rocky economy, in-store sales are rising past e-commerce sales as Canadians embrace the return to bricks and mortar.Digital technologies continue to advance but we are seeing a resurgence in traditional shopping and media. With the pandemic restrictions removed, gone is the pressure to look to avatars for customer service. New immersion technology will work its way into the store integrating AR, VR and voice-activation with the physical environment to engage, entertain and make the sale.

A Word About Print

In an ever-increasing digitally connected world, one would expect print to have disappeared from our landscape. Instead, print is enjoying a resurgence. As we emerge slowly but surely from our COVID-19 virtual bubbles, we’re ready to disconnect from our always-on digital devices. We’re rediscovering tangible and tactile printed materials that provide an emotional connection and longevity that cannot be replicated by a screen. Whether it’s books, magazines or cleverly designed direct mail, the printed medium provides a better sensory experience — one in which the feel of paper matters. For savvy marketers, print also has the potential to disrupt digital channels when leveraged in innovative ways. In short, the future of print is alive and well.

Making the Most of Digital Signage

Our retail clients are retrofitting their bricks and mortar stores with LED digital screens in all shapes and sizes. The most successful installations are those that consider the physical environment (merchandise, furniture, analogue signage, viewing distances etc.) for a truly seamless experience. Best-in-class digital signage also leverages various visual storytelling techniques including custom photography, animation, video and ambient content via strategic playlists designed to capture the attention of passersby. Don't be afraid to adapt top-performing broadcast, social and digital content for in-store signage and vice versa. While the larger canvases and lack of audio can present some challenges, we've found that putting ourselves in the viewer's shoes and making creative decisions accordingly has yielded impressive results.

Live Streaming Livens Up

While livestreaming is not new, it’s gaining momentum in the retail e-comm space and for good reason. It’s the perfect combo of entertainment and e-comm for some of our biggest retail clients. Here’s how it works: products are promoted and sold by in-store experts or influencers, straight from the store, showroom or other locations through livestreams on digital platforms. The experience is interactive and allows viewers to ask questions in real time and either complete their purchase or be equipped with knowledge to go and purchase in-store. It’s a great way to offer both convenience and personalization to the e-comm shopping experience.

We'll be checking in on these trends throughout the year. For timely examples, insights and tips, become an SJC subscriber.

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