With the end of 2022 rapidly approaching, it is an excellent opportunity for us, in our roles as marketers and content managers, to think about the landscape we will face in 2023 and how we can prepare for the challenges of this new year.
Often in our roles, we are so busy dealing with the current challenges and deadlines that we do not have the time or energy to reflect on how to best prepare for and manage upcoming challenges. Many of the challenges we will face are a continuation or growth of the current problems we are dealing with.
A recent review by Salesforce found that marketers and brands face the following challenges.
Contributing to these challenges is the staff shortage for many organisations in their marketing and customer engagement sectors which contributes to problems in using technology effectively.
Customers now have a high expectation of personalisation when it comes to marketing. Accenture reports that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. And Epsilon research reveals that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase a brand that offers personalised experiences.
In response to customers’ expectations, marketers and brands focus on personalising customer interactions. Everything from emails to product recommendations to in-store and online experiences. SmarterHQ reports that 51% of digital marketers say that personalisation is their number one priority and personalisation techniques.
The challenge, however, is that customers often need to realise that they must provide personal data to receive the personalised marketing they expect. This creates several challenges for businesses. Customers often are reluctant to share their data, so companies need more information to do the personalised marketing the customer is seeking.
There is also the cost to businesses in storing personal data and the risk to brands if data is lost in a cyber-attack, as in the recent cases of Optus and Medicare. As cyber-attacks become more frequent and sophisticated, businesses need to weigh the cost-benefit of the increasing costs of cyber insurance and protecting data versus obtaining customer data.
This is one of the ongoing challenges for businesses in 2023.
Where customer data is being collected, it is essential for businesses to clearly communicate with clients the following.
Customers also expect transparency from the companies they buy from. According to the survey, 88% of customers expect companies to state their values clearly. Adjusting to this shift in customer expectations is effective, as 93% of high-performing marketers say their external messaging reflects their corporate values, compared to 70% of their underperforming competition .
Technology is becoming more critical. However, the impact of inflation and companies having to pay more to attract employees means businesses may reduce spending on technology resulting in marketers having to get more out of their existing tools and technology rather than being able to invest in new technology.
The review by Salesforce  outlined the top five priorities and challenges for marketers using technology as being:
The challenges of balancing personalisation with customer comfort levels and building and retaining trust have been discussed above.
The ineffective use of tools and technologies is often not the problem of the technology or the tool but with the user and their view of what they can and cannot do with the technology. In many companies, technology is often under-utilized because of the mindset of the users.
An increasing number of marketers are using AI tools. In 2022, 68% of marketers say they have a fully defined AI strategy, up from 57% in 2020 . In 2023, the number of businesses using AI will likely continue to increase, particularly around the following three areas.
PRIVACY CHANGES AND THE COOKIELESS FUTURE
While the decline of third-party cookies continues to be pushed back, businesses are preparing for the new future by pivoting to data given freely by customers (zero-party data) and data companies directly collected from customers (first-party data) .
In preparing for privacy changes, many marketers have taken the following steps.
This enables marketers to engage the right customers more effectively and maximise marketing dollars.
Marketers and businesses need to incorporate more inbound marketing strategies and offer value through content and digital experiences in exchange for customers’ consent to use their data.
Many of the challenges faced by marketers and businesses in 2023 will be an extension of the challenges faced in 2022. Challenges will be exacerbated by rising interest rates, an ongoing shortage of skilled staff, and the need to pay higher wages to attract staff with the necessary skills.
Given these challenges, as 2022 ends, it is an excellent opportunity to review and think about the following questions.