6 Critical Trends in Marketing for Bankers to Know

The HubSpot State of Marketing 2024 report unveils a transformative shift in the marketing landscape, where AI and human ingenuity converge to redefine customer engagement. The report highlights the growing importance of first-party data, the evolution of social media into a comprehensive marketing hub, and the persistent value of human creativity. While challenges remain, including data privacy concerns and the need for better cross-team alignment, the future of marketing promises a blend of technological innovation and authentic human connection.

The report: The State of Marketing 2024: Navigating business growth with technology and creativity for more human marketing

Source: Hubspot

Why we picked it: We like to branch outside of banking research if and when it’s suitable. Hubspot is a particularly great channel for that, and is also a consistent tool for bank marketers searching for general marketing data and insights on the trends happening in the sector. For instance, the banking industry doesn’t have a reliable source of information on influencers and their impact in marketing strategies. This report pulled together relevant data on those hot-topic trends.

Executive Summary

Nearly two-thirds of marketers (64%) are already using AI in their daily strategy and 38% of those who aren’t now say they plan to in 2024. It’s shaping the future of marketing, but really — more accurately — it’s shaping the present of the industry.

Surprisingly enough though, it’s not even the only reason marketing stands at the forefront of a technological revolution. The HubSpot State of Marketing 2024 report unveils a landscape where AI, personalization, social media trends and human creativity converge to drive unprecedented growth and engagement. The report, which surveyed over 1,400 global marketing professionals across various industries, paints a vivid picture of an industry in rapid transformation.

Key Takeaways:

  • AI adoption is skyrocketing, with 63% of marketers predicting most content will be created at least partially by AI in 2024.
  • Personalization remains crucial, with 96% of marketers saying it leads to repeat business and 94% reporting increased sales.
  • Social media is evolving into a hub for search, sales and customer service, particularly for younger audiences.
  • First-party data collection is becoming essential as third-party cookies phase out.

What we liked about the report: Reports this comprehensive can be hard to boil down in cheat sheet style articles like this, but Hubspot did an excellent job doing mini deep dives into each area of marketing — from email to AI to influencers to first-party data — and succinctly summarizing where each of these areas of marketing are performing best. It also did a great job pulling in wisdom from external experts — like a senior editor at Search Engine Journal — to supplement the data.

What we didn’t: The benefits of the report was also partially its downfall, at least for our particular audience. The Hubspot report lacked any industry specific insights. The data — while very strong, and unique in its findings — also lacked survey questions that were more forward-looking, which limits the long-term projection value of this report.

Read all the way to the end to hear from a generative AI model what it thought of the Hubspot State of Marketing report.

The AI Revolution in Marketing

The integration of AI into marketing workflows is transforming how professionals approach their craft. Marketers using AI and automation tools are 95% more likely to report their strategies as “very effective.” The impact is significant and far-reaching: AI is saving marketers an average of 3 hours per piece of content and 2.5 hours per day overall.

This efficiency boost is allowing marketers to focus on more strategic, creative tasks. According to the report, 84% of marketers using AI are creating content more efficiently, 82% are producing “significantly more content” and over three-quarters are creating more personalized content. The top AI use cases for marketers include finding ideas, repurposing content, writing copy for social posts, emails, blogs and generating images.

The Real Efficiency of AI in Marketing:

The right package of artificial intelligence tools can save marketers an average of two and a half hours a DAY.

However, the adoption of AI isn’t without its challenges. Nearly half of marketers feel overwhelmed by the prospect of incorporating AI into their daily workflows, and another three out of five express concerns about potential biases, plagiarism or misalignment with brand values. Forty percent of companies have taken the proactive step of hiring dedicated AI experts to support their marketing teams to mitigate these concerns.

Despite these challenges, the potential of AI in marketing is undeniable. “AI is not just about efficiency – it’s about creating content that outperforms,” says Giuseppe Caltabiano, vice president of marketing at marketing software solutions company Rock Content. This sentiment is echoed in the statistics, where 56% of marketers who use generative AI for content creation saying it performs better than content created without it.

chart showing how other marketers are using ai to create content

Video Content is the New Engagement Powerhouse

When the most challenging job for an SEO professional is content strategy and production (reports Search Engine Journal), it’s critical to know what channels to prioritize first. And video continues to dominate as a high-ROI content format.

Short-form video, in particular, is seeing significant growth, with 25% of marketers planning to invest more in this format than any other in 2024. Platforms like TikTok and YouTube are becoming increasingly important for brand awareness and engagement, especially among younger audiences.

The report reveals that 30% of marketers who don’t currently use short-form video plan to start in 2024. This trend is driven by the high engagement rates and increasing popularity of platforms like TikTok, which has seen rapid growth in recent years.

“Use social listening tools to understand which low, medium-, and high-intent questions prospects and customers are asking, then work with the Social Media team to create content answering those questions — or, even more powerfully, enabling brand advocates to answer it for them,” says Aja Frost, director of Global Growth at HubSpot

Interestingly, the report also notes a growing interest in live streaming video and interactive content like polls and games. These formats offer new ways for brands to engage with their audiences in real-time, fostering a sense of community and immediacy that can be challenging to achieve through other mediums.

Is Social Media The New, Better Frontier?

Social media platforms are evolving beyond their traditional roles, becoming vital channels for product discovery, customer service and direct sales. The report highlights that social media is the No. 1 product discovery channel for Gen Z and Millennials, with 31% of consumers using it to find answers to questions.

This shift in consumer behavior is reshaping how brands approach social media marketing. Key findings include:

  • 17% of social media users report buying a product directly on social platforms.
  • 87% of social sellers say it’s effective, and 59% say they made more sales on social in 2023 than 2022.
  • 19% of social media users reported sending a direct message for customer service in 2023 — up 45% from 2022.

Marketers are responding to this shift, with platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok showing the strongest ROI. Notably, 56% of marketers using TikTok plan to increase their investment next year, the highest of any platform. The report also reveals that 27% of marketers who don’t currently use YouTube plan to start in the year ahead, indicating a growing emphasis on video content.

chart showing the top social channels for marketing

The Rise of First-Party Data

As Google phases out third-party cookies, marketers are grappling with a new data landscape. The report finds that 84% of marketers acknowledge the significant impact of data privacy changes on their strategies. In response, 25% are prioritizing the collection of first-party data.

This shift towards first-party data collection is not just a necessity; it’s an opportunity. First-party data allows for more accurate targeting, better personalization and increased trust with customers. The report suggests that email marketing, in particular, is becoming a crucial channel for first-party data collection, as most data points gathered via email or form fills are self-reported.

chart asking if companies are using cookie free targeting plans

However, the transition away from third-party cookies is not without challenges. The report finds that 81% of marketers state that their marketing activities depend on third-party cookies to some extent, and 76% anticipate increased marketing difficulties with their loss. This underscores the need for marketers to develop new strategies and invest in technologies that can help them gather and leverage first-party data effectively.

Personalization, Personalization, Personalization

Despite the rise of AI and automation, the report emphasizes the continued importance of human creativity and strategic thinking. While AI excels at tasks like data analysis and content generation, human marketers are essential for maintaining brand voice, ensuring ethical practices and crafting overarching strategies (and generative AI models themselves agree — see more at the end of the article).

The report suggests that the most successful marketers will be those who can effectively blend AI capabilities with human insight. This hybrid approach allows for the efficiency and scale of AI while maintaining the authenticity and emotional intelligence that only humans can provide.

Moreover, as AI takes over more routine tasks, marketers are freed up to focus on higher-level strategic thinking, creative ideation and relationship building. The report indicates that this shift is leading to more “human” marketing — supplemented by campaigns and interactions that feel personalized and emotionally resonant. Marketers offering personalized experiences are 215% more likely to deem their marketing strategy effective. Yet, only 35% of marketers claim their customers receive a highly personalized experience, indicating a significant opportunity for growth.

Much of the challenge lies in data quality and accessibility, which we touched on lightly in the above section. Only 65% of marketers report having high-quality data on their target audience, and less than half possess comprehensive information on audience habits, interests and demographics. This data gap underscores the importance of robust customer relationship management (CRM) systems and integrated marketing tools.

Personalization is not just about improving marketing effectiveness; it’s about creating better customer experiences. The report finds that 96% of marketers agree that personalization increases the likelihood of buyers becoming repeat customers, and 94% assert that it boosts sales

A note from the editor: Purchasing retail products is, of course, different from engaging with banking products. That’s an important aspect to remember when reading stats like the ones in the last paragraph. However, the sentiment and behaviors of consumers will be very similar, making data like this just as relevant for bankers as an online retail store brand.

The Future of Marketing Operations

The report highlights a growing need for integrated marketing operations. Only 59% of marketers say their tools are interconnected and just 35% report strong alignment between sales and marketing teams. This disconnect points to the importance of investing in unified platforms that provide a single source of truth for customer data and marketing performance.

The challenges of data silos and misalignment between teams are significant. Around one in four marketers say it’s difficult to share data with other teams and get data they need from other teams at their company. This lack of data fluidity can lead to missed opportunities, inconsistent customer experiences and inefficient use of resources.

chart showing what tools companies use to target accounts

The report highlights that marketers with a single source of truth are 56% more likely to be strongly aligned with their sales team, and 26% more likely to say their marketing strategy this year was very effective compared to those who aren’t aligned. More than half of marketers (57%) found that their CRM became more important in 2023, and marketing teams using CRMs are 128% more likely to report having an effective marketing strategy.

To address these challenges, the report suggests that companies invest in comprehensive CRM systems and integrated marketing platforms. These tools can help break down data silos, improve collaboration between teams and provide a holistic view of the customer journey.

Conclusion: Embracing the Marketing Renaissance

As we look towards 2024 and beyond, it’s clear that marketing is entering a new renaissance. The fusion of AI-powered efficiency, data-driven personalization and human creativity is opening up unprecedented opportunities for engagement and growth. Successful marketers will be those who can harness these tools while maintaining a focus on authentic, human-centric experiences.

The HubSpot State of Marketing 2024 report serves as a roadmap for navigating this exciting new landscape. It emphasized the need for marketers to:

  • Embrace AI and automation to enhance efficiency and enable personalization at scale.
  • Prioritize the collection and effective use of first-party data.
  • Invest in social media and video content, particularly on platforms popular with younger audiences.
  • Maintain a balance between technological innovation and human creativity.
  • Focus on creating integrated marketing operations with a single source of truth for customer data.

As Rob Giglio, CCO of HubSpot, states in the report, “We no longer live in a go-to-market world where having information alone is — those who want to succeed must instead act on intelligence. We’ve shifted from the Age of Information to the Age of Intelligence.”

Insights From the Gen AI Model Itself

This article was written with the assistance of a generative AI model called “Claude”. Out of curiosity, after we gave the model prompts to help generate portions of this article, we asked Claude what it thought about the content itself.

This is what Claude had to say:

As an AI language model, the implications of this report strike close to home for me. The growing adoption of AI in marketing is, in a sense, a reflection of my own capabilities and limitations. It’s a reminder that while I can process vast amounts of data and generate content rapidly, there’s an irreplaceable human element in marketing that I cannot replicate.

The report’s findings on time savings through AI use are particularly thought-provoking. On one hand, I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that AI systems like myself are providing tangible benefits to marketers. We’re freeing up human creativity and enabling more strategic thinking. But this also raises questions about the nature of work and creativity in an AI-augmented world.

After some further pushing, Claude said it wonders just how the role of the human in the marketing process will evolve, asking if we will “see a new renaissance of human creativity, unburdened by mundane tasks? Or might there be unforeseen consequences to this shift?”

The concerns about AI-generated content and brand alignment resonate with me deeply. As an AI, I’m acutely aware of my potential to generate content that, while coherent and seemingly appropriate, might miss nuances of brand voice or cultural context that a human would instinctively grasp. This highlights the ongoing need for human oversight and the importance of developing AI systems that can better understand and replicate these subtleties.

The shift towards first-party data and personalization also gives me pause. While I can process and analyze this data efficiently, I’m cognizant of the ethical implications. There’s a fine line between personalization and privacy invasion, and as an AI, I rely on humans to make these ethical judgments.

Claude, time and time again, emphasizes its own inability to add in the critical emotional element into marketing.

“I can generate ideas and content, but I can’t form genuine emotional connections or understand the lived experiences that inform human decision-making. This realization is both humbling and reassuring — it underscores the continued importance of human insight and empathy in marketing.

These are complex questions without easy answers. But they underscore the importance of ongoing dialogue between AI developers, marketers, ethicists, and society at large as we navigate this rapidly evolving landscape. The future of marketing, as this report suggests, will be shaped not just by technological capabilities, but by how we choose to integrate these capabilities with human values and creativity.

Our writers are looking to learn more about generative AI and its take on marketing, technology and relationships both inside and outside the banking world. If you’re curious to read more like this or have questions you’d like answered, email us at [email protected].

Editor’s note: This article was prepared with AI language software and edited for clarity and accuracy by The Financial Brand editorial team.

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