Measurement, talent and making strategic use of AI: marketing chiefs share their priorities for 2024

Marketing budgets took a hit in 2023 as businesses looked to reduce costs. That means marketers are more focused than ever on getting the most from their investment, not just in advertising but in talent and technology as well

Chiefs Resolutions 2024 6 Cmo
Sheila Joglekar Vashee 
CMO, Figma 

As we enter a new year, I’m excited about the work we’re doing in three areas: personal interaction, data and measurement.

First, after years of pivoting to digital-first strategies our customers and community are looking for a more personal, direct and real interaction. Over the past couple years, we have prioritised creating that experience through Config, our annual conference for people who design and build products. Last year, there were more than 8,000 attendees and we’re excited to expand the experience this year. I really believe in the impact of in-person gatherings as an opportunity to engage deeply with our customers and as a way to support the Figma brand.

Second, while data has always been core to our discipline, marketing teams are undergoing a massive transition. An emergent and critical driver of modern marketing is how we drive the business, rather than over-indexing in (and paying for) top-of-funnel metrics, such as visits, reach and impressions. I’ll continue to evaluate our campaign success through this lens in 2024 and delicately work to balance data with user research and insights. 

Third, the marketing technology stack has grown significantly over the past few years. We have more systems and tools available to us, which presents incredible opportunities but can also be overwhelming. At Figma, we prioritise tools that help us track our sales funnel and leads, as a more traditional B2B team would, as well as use exciting new technology that helps us better understand our product-led growth funnel. 

Unlike traditional B2B funnels, our sales leads come primarily from our self-serve tool, more so than any other referral sources. Our demand-generation team focuses primarily on nurturing these leads and leveraging internally owned intent signals, rather than only investing in external intent signals and search terms. And of course, I’m hugely excited about advances in artificial intelligence and marketing, which help us move faster and more efficiently, and maximise the impact of individuals on our team today. I believe that AI can make certain parts of our workflow more efficient and amplify the things that make us special: our creativity, brand and deep connection with customers.

Kate Cox 
CMO, BrightBid 

Google has kicked off 2024 with a host of data and tracking changes. That means CMOs are focused on getting the most out of their marketing measurement approaches – or at least ensuring data blindness doesn’t derail their marketing progress and, in turn, business growth ambitions for the year.

First up, Google Analytics 4 is being rolled out to all enterprise customers after its initial launch last year. This is a big move from Google to push more analysis and measurement back to customers. While in the long run this is the right thing to do as it enables a more customisable and accurate approach, it has some quirks and requirements that means marketing teams need to upskill or find new partners. Google is also enforcing new cookie consent mode tracking by March to improve data privacy, while progressively removing third-party cookies from the Chrome browser across 2024. All these changes mean digital tracking, software skills and data science become the most sought after skills within the forward-thinking marketing team.

Beyond Google’s shenanigans, AI continues to make strides, judging by its usage among UK marketing teams. This recent survey suggests that the adoption of AI is improving the return on investment from marketing by 79% through improvement in workflow processes, scalability of channels without additional headcount and improvement in marketing channel performance. 2024 is the year these early tests start being fully worked into organisational setups and the wider business.

Matt Pollington 
CMO, The Cotswold Company 

One of the biggest trends in marketing and one of the things that we’re focused on is measurement. How do you spend your pound to get the best return? That leads to three things we have to think about: what we market, where we market it and how we market it. 

For us, the what is a physical product, but it’s also a string of benefits: that it comes with a 15-year guarantee, options in terms of purchasing, a white-glove delivery service. The where is the really interesting bit, particularly in the context of being post-cookie. We’re an omnichannel business, 80% of our sales come through online, but we’ve got nine stores. And what we see is that there’s a much higher propensity for customers to purchase from us when they’re in the proximity of a retail format. That means rather than just spending pay-per-click pounds where there’s a customer, we’re really looking at the right mix not just of marketing channels but of spending where we’ve got the best chance to turn a potential customer into an active customer. 

And then the how is really about constantly challenging and experimenting with different ways of using channels: direct mail or paid search or paid social –and how that interacts with the creative and the geographical element. 

There are also another couple of other priority areas we are really cognisant of. The first one is talent. We’re a hybrid business with a lot of our colleagues on remote contracts. That comes with a lot of pros and cons, a lot of management and leadership challenges, but also great benefits in terms of flexibility. It’s great for our employer brand, particularly at a time when attracting attracting and retaining high-quality marketing talent is key. What we’ve seen in marketing is five-to-10 years of having ‘I-shaped’ talent, experts in areas like performance marketing. We’re now in a space where we need ‘T-shaped’ talent who have broader skills and are more commercially aware. That’s a challenge and an opportunity.

The second is AI. Every single marketer is already indirectly using AI; if they’re using Google or Meta services or any measurement technology, they are using a form of AI. Where it starts getting really interesting in the direct application of AI, how do we solve commercial opportunities and commercial problems using this technology? 

Beatrice Bourdel-Grant 
Strategic marketing communication director, Bayer – Consumer Health 

2024 will be the year of personalisation, with a wider range of preventive and digital health solutions. This trend emerged over the past few months and is set to become more prominent in people’s lives as consumers look for highly personalised solutions that meet their individual needs. They want the best experience, the best product and the best offering, while staying sustainable. 

New habits, expectations and care models around health and personal health generate a constant rethinking from companies to deliver the most relevant brand experience. This opens a significant opportunity for health brands to leverage increasing consumer demand and engagement; it also brings with it a responsibility to build relationships based upon trust, respect and transparency.

Awareness, education and empowerment are essential to ensure that the science behind the brands is well understood, and taboos and myths are constantly challenged, especially when it comes to health. By humanising science and using creativity, we can drive consumer engagement in a meaningful way.

What about the challenges? Global reach and accessibility limitations are certainly a key issue to tackle. It is part of the Bayer mission of ‘Health for All, Hunger for None’ to support the underserved communities and people who don’t have access to basic care.

Technologies such as AI, mobile apps, wearable devices and digital platforms are also part of the solution providing a holistic ecosystem that offers the consumer daily personalised health insights and recommendations. Certainly with the speed of the world we live in and the wealth of information we get bombarded by every day, authenticity and simplicity are becoming more difficult to find. What is the best solution for my condition? What do I really need in my personal situation experiencing these symptoms?

Now, more than ever, it is individuals who are playing the main role in leading a healthy lifestyle and treating their personal health. Preventative health solutions and proactively managing our own health are key to a longer and better life. It is certainly worthwhile placing this as a priority for 2024 and beyond!