As business leaders and marketers prepare for a year that’s sure to bring new challenges—but also opportunities—new research from Deloitte guides them through uncertainties that they may face in 2023, along with strategic approaches that may help propel their businesses forward.
The firm’s new 2023 Global Marketing Trends report focuses on four topics: financial uncertainty, sustainability, creativity and tech trends to watch. Listed are a few key recommendations marketers can consider as we begin the new year:
- Invest in digital technologies, platforms, new markets and customer personalization.
- Improve sustainability efforts within internal marketing practices and establish long-term commitments.
- Make more room for creativity by bringing the rest of the organization along for the ride.
- Consider laying the foundation for metaverse or blockchain adoption.
Amid the unstable economic indicators of 2023, marketers are focusing on investments that can help their organizations be resilient in the face of rapid change. As new platforms disrupt existing digital marketing models and intensified attention on customer loyalty and innovative growth, the report offers insights that aim to help bring considerable, creative and lasting impact for marketers, business leaders and C-suite executives—and outlines solutions curated directly from leaders and CMOs alike who have ushered in their thoughts, predictions and guidance to help drive brands forward in an ever-changing world.
“2023 is set to be a year of disruption resulting in both obstacles and opportunities businesses can use to identify new levers for growth,” said Suzanne Kounkel, chief marketing officer at Deloitte US, in a news release. “Given the current economic pressures, CMOs will be asked to do more with less. The challenge is to remain squarely on the path to optimization and outcomes. Deloitte’s [new] report presents a comprehensive guide to help position businesses for success in this dynamic year and beyond, informed by strategic insights from business leaders and marketers alike.”
Key findings of the research:
Brands responding to economic instability with investment
Brands surveyed cite economic instability and inflation as top concerns in 2023—but instead of hedging their bets and cutting costs, brands are addressing this instability and uncertainty with an investment mindset that grows their organization’s capabilities and capacity to be resilient in the face of rapidly changing economic conditions.
“Brands that want to survive and thrive in 2023 will make purposeful investments to connect creativity to brand and marketing performance,” said Mark Singer, U.S. chief marketing officer at Deloitte Digital, in the release. “We anticipate those that continually invest in marketing activities and creativity both in and outside of the marketing organization will capitalize on opportunities. Others that vacate the space will likely have to catch up tenfold to get back to where they were before, much less be on the same level as those that nurtured and invested in creativity from the outset.”’
Through interviewing, CMOs identified their top-three priorities in the face of a potential economic downturn:
- Accelerating the move to new digital technologies or platforms (Metaverse, AI, social platforms, AR and digital currencies).
- Expanding into new markets, segments, or geographies.
- Implementing systems or algorithms to enhance customer personalization.
CMOs drive growth through internal sustainability efforts
As consumer concerns around sustainability issues grow, brands surveyed are now concentrating their efforts on shoring up their own internal sustainability practices. This focus inward is a strong sign that brands are looking to make a more authentic impact over the longer-term in order to build trust with consumers.
Brands reported that their top-three priorities for sustainability efforts this year include:
- Improving sustainability of internal marketing practices (51 percent).
- Promoting more sustainable product and service offerings (47 percent).
- Establishing long-term sustainability commitments (e.g., “… by 2030, our organization will …”) (45 percent).
Creativity as a force for growth
As noted in last year’s Creative Business Transformation study, developed in partnership with Deloitte Digital and Cannes LIONS, there is a growing creativity gap through diminishing creative leadership in the C-suite and declining creativity skills among CMOs and their marketing talent. 2023 may present an opportunity for individual brands to rise above the competition by making more room for creativity. Research shows that high-growth brands (defined as those with annual revenue growth of 10 percent or more) are more likely than their negative-growth peers to have the mindset and processes in place that allow creativity to flourish.
“In 2023, focus and integrity are key. Consumers can see through unauthentic brands and are compelling brands to live their purpose,” said Stacy Kemp, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, head of Ethos and executive lead of Deloitte’s CMO Program, in the release. “As a result, this year, marketers are focused on internal sustainability and inclusion actions that render tangible impact. Investing in their organization and ensuring the integrity of who they are, what they say and what they do is good for business, good for our communities and good for our planet.”
CMOs might consider the following strategies to be the creative leader in their own organizations:
- Redefine what creativity can offer.
- Bring the rest of the organization along for the ride.
- Inspire the organization to think differently.
Rising technologies to watch
Marketers are now faced with big decisions about when and how to invest in adopting cutting-edge marketing practices as new technologies are among the top trends for marketers to watch.
Marketers cited 2023 top trends by the numbers:
- Metaverse: About 80 percent of marketing executives surveyed across the energy, resources, and industrials (ER&I) and life sciences and health care (LS&HC) industries are gravitating toward the metaverse within the next two years.
- Digital Currencies: 41 percent of CMOs surveyed plan to support their advertising strategy with blockchain in the next 12 months.
To ensure a globally relevant, cross-topic understanding of marketing and the customer experience, Deloitte conducted two global surveys and 23 in-depth interviews with global executives.
The “2023 Global Marketing Trends” executive survey polled 1,015 C-suite executives from global companies located in the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, the Middle East and Australia in July 2022. The survey respondents included marketing executives holding roles such as chief marketing officer, chief customer officer, chief revenue officer, chief digital officer, chief growth officer, and other related titles and were sampled across a wide range of industries. Each respondent offered their perspective on a variety of topics related to the future of marketing in the coming one to two years.
Separately, 23 executive interviews were conducted during September and October of 2022. These executives currently serve in marketing executive roles and their insights were a key part of shaping this report.