We’ve said goodbye to 2023, so what can we expect from the comms landscape this year? We’re keeping this short and sweet – here are four for 2024:
Doubling down on the value proposition – Last year was a challenging environment for both bootstrapped and VC-funded companies, and it looks set to continue in the first half of 2024. B2B customers are increasingly discerning when it comes to software investments, while investors are protecting what dry powder they have left in the knowledge that it will be more difficult to raise from LPs. It’s therefore critical that your pitch lands; whoever your audience – fewer will be willing to “give it a shot” if they aren’t 100% on the value that you’re going to bring.
That’s why being able to clearly articulate your value proposition – and tailor this message for different stakeholders – will be critical in 2024. We expect to see more companies wanting to reevaluate, redefine and rearticulate their value proposition to ensure that their messages land with key stakeholders, not to mention drive greater marketing ROI.
Agility overcomes the pressure to do more with less – Marketing budgets might be tightening, but brand momentum remains critical to fuel sales pipelines. So while the need for comms never falls away, many marketing and comms leaders are being charged to do more with less. This is especially true for those startups and scaleups who are trying to extend their runway in a difficult funding environment.
We expect a greater focus on agility from marketing and comms leaders in the coming year. Rather than embracing inflexible SOWs, which require them to constantly put their hand in their pocket as new opportunities or challenges arise, marketing and comms leaders will be looking for partners that can flex with their evolving needs (and within budget!).
If content continues to reign, build an entire kingdom – With the media landscape continuing to shrink, demand for content from many journalists is steady – be that contributed thought leadership articles, to video interviews and podcasts. But it’s not just media clamouring for content – consumers increasingly report trusting brand content, and finding it more useful, interesting and engaging than that of many traditional media organisations.
This means brands need to think about how they can take the compelling narratives and content that are being created for media to different channels, which consumers are increasingly engaging with. Whether that’s a brand’s own social media and marketing channels, or collaborations with relevant influencers, we expect to see an increased focus on how media narratives can be maximised.
Comms and domain experts must partner to answer “so what?” – The media landscape is shrinking, while more brands enter the space. This will make placing stories even more difficult this year. Bland won’t cut it. It will remain important for companies to offer insightful, interesting and timely opinions.
We expect this will ultimately sort the wheat from the chaff of PR agencies. Those without the proactivity, creativity and ambition will struggle to cut through on behalf of their clients. But in turn, companies should expect to see their agencies challenging them with the “so what?” question more. Why should they feature you over your competitor? What opinion or insight are you adding to the conversation? What new trend or development can we point to? It will need to be a true collaboration between comms specialists and domain experts to answer the “so what?”, but those that do will see the rewards.