CPA Growth Trends, Marketing

Beginner’s Guide: Four of 2024’s Top Trends in Digital Marketing

Getting started in marketing is exciting, though it can often feel daunting; as though all of the other marketers share a secret code that you only understand bits and pieces of. That’s not necessarily the case for today’s early career marketers! 2024 is poised to bring about innovations that marketers at all stages of their careers will be learning and embracing right alongside those just starting. Here are some of the trends in digital marketing that will be making an impact in 2024:

1. AI Everywhere

It’s safe to say that AI is here, and there’s no turning back. 2023 taught us that generative AI is a powerful tool for marketers to assist with writing, brainstorming, editing and other work. It helped us increase efficiency and get out of our own way. If you’re not already experimenting with AI tools, you won’t have a choice in 2024. AI drives many of the tools and platforms we already use everyday, including CRMs, graphic design tools, Microsoft 365 tools and even search engines. So getting comfortable with AI is now a business imperative. As the marketer within your firm, you are in a strong position to help guide the firm toward thoughtful and responsible AI usage. Marketing can accomplish a lot without sensitive client or firm data, and most of your output ends up in a public forum or on the Internet. Marketing is one word that means a lot of things, so find AI tools that will help you increase efficiency, giving you more time to focus on strategy. If you haven’t already, start an AI committee with a cross-section of team members and develop guidance for using AI.

2. People Want to Trust People

This might be an anti-tech tech trend, but it’s important enough to land a spot on this list. The rise of generative AI has made it possible to produce content at an otherwise impossible rate. That doesn’t mean the content is good, helpful or even reliable. As more and more of what’s published on the internet is written by AI, we as readers, thinkers and consumers are going to actively seek out sources we trust (hopefully filtering out the noise). In other words, we’re going to want more human-generated content as the AI content grows. This presents an opportunity for marketers to help the firm publish credible information on the blog, social media and in industry publications. Firm leaders should be producing more thought leadership with opinions, speaking live at conferences and posting their perspectives on social media. Developing a reputation as a trusted source can make your firm the go-to for trustworthy and insightful information.

3. Online Search is Changing

This one has a few different components. First, much like when VOIP changed search to a question-asking process, now Gemini Advanced and Bing are changing the way we interact with search. These commonly used search engines are aggregating answers for us. That means users aren’t clicking through to websites to see if the search result did indeed identify a page with the information you were looking for. This is quickly becoming an antiquated process as AI-powered search is taking the guesswork out of the process with question-answering. The second way search is changing is with tools like Perplexity and ChatGPT serving as research assistants, many people are skipping search altogether. For marketers and writers that means you can skip the sponsored content and go from a blank page, to a research summary, to an article outline and even a rough draft of an article without leaving the platform (or spending time writing). Finally, we’re going to change the way we interact with websites. Our crystal ball doesn’t have a clear answer for us yet, but SEO strategies will change to help sites compete with AI-generated content. It is also likely individual websites will allow users to customize their experience by taking the question-and-answer search method right to a company’s website. For now, keep abiding by SEO best practices, but be on the lookout for updated guidance.

4. Expanding Capabilities

This trend continues to gain momentum as tools that were once siloed and dedicated to one activity are now incorporating more and more functionality. This is a smart move for tools that want to increase loyalty and improve user experience. As marketers, it’s no longer necessary to have a CRM, social media scheduler, sales tracking spreadsheets, graphic design tool and so on. For example, HubSpot can be your CRM, website, business development tool and even provide graphic design support with the native Canva integration (the list here goes on, but you get the point). Canva, a popular tool that makes graphic design simple for those who aren’t graphic designers, now makes it possible to schedule and post your designs right to social media, collaborate on projects across team members, generate images and assist with copywriting. Marketers should embrace the convenience, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of making the most of their chosen tools. To bring it full circle, this is a great way to use AI because you already trust these tools and feel comfortable using them.

2024 is already off to a powerful start for marketers. As new technology comes on the scene, marketers will be able to produce high-quality work, even more quickly and effectively. Now is the time to incorporate AI and expansive software platforms into your processes so you can keep up as these tools quickly evolve. There has never been a better time to be a new marketer. Take the time you gain in efficiency to move along the strategic learning curve that comes with time and experience.



About Alison Simons

For seven great years, I was the head of marketing for a regional CPA firm where I would joke "if it's not a tax return or an audit, it crosses my desk." I was responsible for branding and online marketing, recruiting and firm culture, M&A vetting and communications, business development and proposals, and more. Even though I had a job, I was getting requests from firms to help with their marketing; which is, supposedly, how you know you're onto something good. In 2013 I became an entrepreneur. In order to serve more clients, I attracted a team of really amazing people who focus on specialty areas within marketing because (get ready for one of her catch phrases) "Marketing is one word that means a lot of things" and it's all too much for any one person to be good at. So, now I'm focused on working directly with clients on strategies to help them reach their goals while overseeing more of the activities. I've presented multiple times a the MassCPAs annual conference, and have been featured on the Marketing Mistakes (and how to avoid them), and Stop the Noise podcasts. I've also served as a judge for LMA.

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