It’s a new year, and with that comes a sea of projections and predictions for the next 12 months. What are the top marketing trends to watch out for? What challenges lie ahead? Importantly, how can your marketing team harness the power of these trends, align them with their strategies, and stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace? 

As we dive headfirst into the exciting expanse of 2024, we’ve unpacked three key marketing trends identified by the industry. In this blog, we delve into how your team can expertly leverage these trends within your own promotional activity to make 2024 a year to remember.  

Let’s get started! 

Trend #1: Sustainability  

Perhaps because of the ongoing climate crisis, 69% of global consumers confirmed in 2023 that sustainability and ESG concerns have become increasingly important to them over the last two years This eco-conscious consumer behaviour is likely to  hold more weight with consumers in 2024.  

A study by the Boston Consulting Group revealed that 75% of consumers would switch to brands showing a high level of environmental responsibility – even if it means paying an extra premium.  

What does this mean for brands? 

Two words – huge opportunity. When your brand genuinely supports environmental causes, it’s not just about gaining a competitive edge. It’s a chance to build a dedicated customer base and positively shape your brand’s image. More importantly, it’s about making a meaningful contribution to our planet. This approach isn’t just beneficial for business; it’s a commitment to a vital cause. 

Supporting this approach with solid data, GreenPrint’s 2021 Business of Sustainability Index reveals a compelling trend: 64% of Gen X consumers are willing to spend more on products from sustainable brands. That figure jumps to 75% among millennials.   

Leveraging promotional activity to align with eco-conscious consumers 

Combining promotional activity with sustainable initiatives or brand values shared by consumers is incredibly powerful. 

Here are some types of promotions that can drive sales while supporting existing sustainable initiatives and contributing to positive environmental change.  

  • Limited-Time Eco-Friendly Product Offers  

Limited-time offers on eco-friendly products, such as items made from recycled materials, or incorporating energy-efficient technology or minimal waste packaging, showcase environmentally friendly alternatives that will place your brand in good stead with customers who hold similar values.  

  • “Buy One, Plant One” Campaigns  

Reforestation initiatives like these actively involve customers in environmental restoration while making them feel a part of a larger cause.  

  • Donation Cashback Schemes  

Donation cashback schemes allow consumers to earn rewards on their purchases, which they can either keep or donate. They have the option to contribute all or a portion of their cashback to a designated cause, seamlessly integrating their shopping with an opportunity to support charitable initiatives. 

  • Cause-Related Marketing  

Partnering with a charitable organisation can increase brand visibility, reach new audiences, and also demonstrate a genuine commitment to environmental causes. 

  • Donations to Charitable Organisations  

Promotions can be tied to direct donations to charitable organisations where a portion of proceeds from a product sale goes towards supporting a social or environmental issue. This transparency builds trust and showcases your brand’s dedication to making a positive impact. 

Sustainability in action: The Body Shop’s promotional strategy 

The Body Shop is an excellent example of a brand that has embedded an authentic and powerful focus on protecting our planet into its marketing strategy, brand ethos, and promotional activity.  

The brand has made a substantial investment in reducing waste and conserving resources, implementing several initiatives to reduce packaging, use recycled materials, and promote the recycling of its products.  

The Body Shop’s commitment to sustainability has seen the company’s sales increase by over 20% in the last five years. Its brand recognition and customer loyalty have also increased, driven by consumers seeking out environmentally friendly and sustainable products – and sticking with a brand that maintains such a transparent approach to this shared cause. 

Key pitfall: Sustainability and promotions 

Caution is key when aligning your promotions with sustainability. A critical aspect to be mindful of is avoiding ‘greenwashing.’ It’s essential for maintaining consumer trust and brand integrity.  

Authenticity is crucial; it’s what sets apart a meaningful campaign from mere opportunism. Consumers are discerning and value genuine commitment to environmental causes. Any hint of greenwashing can seriously damage trust, potentially leading to brand boycotts. 

Instead, focus on crafting promotions that resonate with your brand’s true values. This approach not only builds a genuine connection with your audience but also fosters trust, drives sales, and nurtures a loyal, socially conscious customer base. In 2024, marketing is as much about upholding values as it is about delivering value. 

Read more about how promotions can support sustainability causes, and other brand CSR initiatives in this in-depth blog post.

Trend #2: Influencers 

Forbes cites the growth of influencer marketing as a key trend for 2024. We agree. In fact, we recently pulled together a blog post on the ins and outs of how influencers and brand collaborations can boost seasonal promotional giveaways. 

In 2024, we’ll continue to see consumers looking for more than just reviews or endorsements from friends and family, increasing the demand for genuine and authentic relationships with influencers.  

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing industry is projected to reach $13.8 billion in 2024 – more than doubling in size in two years. Business Insider also reports that 67% of brands spent more on influencer marketing in 2023 than ever. In 2024, the average brand plans to use 20% of their marketing budget on influencer marketing!

What does this mean for brands? 

With the ability to leverage the authentic voice and reach of influencers, brands can create campaigns that resonate with consumers on a personal level. This ultimately drives greater brand awareness, loyalty, and business success. 

Deloitte reports that 63% of Gen Z and 66% of Millennials trust brands endorsed by online content creators. Younger consumers also favour influencers over traditional ads, with Deloitte’s data showing that 59% of Millennials and 68% of Gen Z find online content creators’ reviews more authentic than brand advertisements. 

We might see more of a shift in the growth of micro-influencers. In this scenario, brands may want to consider working with influencers with more niche and targeted audiences and recognise the value of authenticity – and a more personal touch. 

Influencer Marketing

Leveraging promotional activity to align with the growth of influencer marketing 

Our top promotional tactic when partnering with an influencer is a competition promotion.  

Competitions are great for brands looking to strengthen their online community and amplify their social media presence. They stimulate customer engagement, boost brand awareness, and drive content creation, creating abundant authentic user-generated content for future use.  

A competition endorsed by a high-profile influencer will greatly increase its reach. Encouraging participants to share their entries on social media will broaden this reach even further. 

For maximum impact, you could have an influencer describe how to enter the competition via a short video, where they list prizes up for grabs and the all-important entry deadline. Maybe they could also host your competition on their social media platforms? 

Micro-Influencer impact: Google’s Pixelbook campaign with The Sorry Girls 

Google collaborated with two DIY micro-influencers known as @thesorrygirls to promote a new edition of its Pixelbook laptop.  

The Sorry Girls organised an Instagram competition where users simply had to like their posts and comment on how they would use the Pixelbook to enter and potentially win. 

Despite having less than 100,000 followers on Instagram, the Girls’ giveaway post received an outstanding engagement rate of 59.4%.  

This collaboration demonstrates that working with micro-influencers can lead to high engagement rates. 

Key pitfall: Influencers and promotions  

Collaborating with other brands or influencers comes with inherent risks. The unfiltered and honest nature of their actions and statements, even outside planned campaigns, is what resonates with consumers today. 

Before diving into influencer or brand partnerships, it’s crucial to establish a robust crisis management plan. Regularly refresh your team on protocols for various scenarios to ensure preparedness. This foresight provides a clear, logical course of action in case of unforeseen challenges, eliminating panic or impulsive reactions. 

Alignment of brand values is paramount too. Take the time to identify influencers whose values, content, and audience resonate with your brand’s identity and objectives. Beyond follower count, evaluate whether a potential partner understands your goals and possesses industry-specific expertise.  


Find the Perfect Fit For Your Brand


Trend #3: Increased Personalisation 

The IPM (Institute of Promotional Marketing), identifies personalisation as a key trend for 2024 and states that ‘consumers are increasingly seeking personalised offers.’  

When consumers are researching and weighing up options, they’re looking for solutions to their pain points. A brand that speaks to them and their personal situation will truly resonate and stand a cut above the rest. 

What does this mean for brands? 

Brands need to get personal. By leveraging data, you can tailor your marketing to speak to consumers on a personal level. The marketplace is crowded, and shoppers are getting savvier. They want a deep personal connection with the brands they are engaging with. 

By utilising advanced analytics and AI , brands can tailor promotions to individual preferences, creating a unique experience for each shopper. 

Leveraging personalisation in your promotional activity  

As technology continues to advance, personalisation at scale is poised to become even more sophisticated, further enhancing its impact on customer relationships and brand loyalty. It’s all about crafting compelling, individualised experiences that resonate deeply with consumers. 

Loyalty programmes are a great tactic to foster these deep relationships and create a personalised experience for a customer. What’s more, the ongoing engagement allows your brand to understand the changing preferences of your target group. This way you can stay relevant and personal.  

According to a survey, 67% of consumers report that they shop more frequently and spend more at retailers where they participate in a loyalty programme (Bombaij & Dekimpe, 2020). 

Leveraging personalisation in your promotional activity  

As technology continues to advance, personalisation at scale is poised to become even more sophisticated, further enhancing its impact on customer relationships and brand loyalty. It’s all about crafting compelling, individualised experiences that resonate deeply with consumers. 

Loyalty programmes are a great tactic to foster these deep relationships and create a personalised experience for a customer. What’s more, the ongoing engagement allows your brand to understand the changing preferences of your target group. This way you can stay relevant and personal.  

According to a survey, 67% of consumers report that they shop more frequently and spend more at retailers where they participate in a loyalty programme (Bombaij & Dekimpe, 2020). 

Some effective elements of loyalty schemes include: 

  • Tailored Rewards: Provide rewards customised to each customer’s unique preferences and purchase history. 
  • Exclusive Privileges: Grant loyalty programme members exclusive access to sales, promotions, or new products. Promoting this access elevates the appeal of special challenges or tiers, providing customers with rewarding goals to strive for. 
  • Membership Tiers: Introduce tiered membership levels to add an element of exclusivity and progression. As customers accumulate points or hit specific spending thresholds, they unlock higher tiers with enhanced benefits. This motivates increased spending for better rewards, boosting programme engagement. 
  • Digital Integration and Mobile Apps: For the tech-savvy consumer, integrating digital technology into loyalty programme is a must. Offering a mobile app for tracking points, accessing personalized deals, and easily redeeming rewards enhances the overall shopping experience. 
  • Charity and Sustainability Initiatives: We talked earlier about the importance of sustainability. Consider a loyalty programme allowing customers to donate points or rewards to noble causes, adding a meaningful dimension to their participation. 

M&S Sparks: Personalisation driving loyalty program success 

Marks and Spencer revamped its loyalty programme – M&S Sparks – in 2020, to go digital first and bring tailored deals, instant rewards, and a chance to support various charities. The new focus on empathy and emotions builds customer engagement by allowing them to make charitable donations for purchases. 

The programme regularly offers customers a chance to win free products, and every week one lucky shopper who scans their loyalty card or app in-store can shop for free. 

Members get priority access to the latest deals and M&S sales and can enjoy personalised deals based on past purchase behaviour. Customers can also earn points (“Sparks”) on the go through the M&S mobile app, with the most loyal Sparks members regularly receiving in-app thank you gifts. 

As of April 1, 2023, Marks and Spencer’s customer rewards scheme Sparks had 5.4 million active members. A year earlier, the number stood at 4.6 million, representing a growth of 17.4 per cent year-on-year. 

Key pitfall: Loyalty and promotions  

Just remember, with so many loyalty programmes out there, customers can get a bit jaded. Keep yours fresh and exciting to keep them engaged.  

Poorly designed loyalty programmes that offer insignificant rewards or have complicated redemption processes can lead to customer dissatisfaction. They may also strain your margins if not planned carefully. 

What else is on the 2024 horizon for promotional activity?   

Aside from key trends, here are a couple of further 2024 predictions.  

The use of AI within promotional activity 

We’ve already touched on how AI plays an important role scrutinising customer data to craft personalised promotional offers aligned with individual preferences and behaviours.  

AI can also be instrumental in pinpointing the optimal audience for a promotional campaign. By dissecting demographic, location, interest, and purchasing history data, AI can help promotional offers reach the right people at precisely the right moment, amplifying their chances of success. 

The automation capabilities of AI include generating and scheduling social media posts, dispatching emails, and monitoring campaign performance. This saves time and resources and guarantees the efficient and effective execution of promotional initiatives. 

AI algorithms can also analyse data to forecast future customer behaviour, offering insights into potential purchases. Businesses can leverage this intelligence to formulate targeted promotional offers with a higher probability of success. 

Another bumper year of sports promotions

Expect another surge in promotional activities related to major sporting events. Both official and unofficial partners will race to the top to execute creative promotions around the 2024 UEFA EURO competition. This excitement will extend to other international sporting events like cricket, rugby, and tennis, promising a year filled with engaging promotional activities. 

Final thoughts 

The 2024 marketing landscape is evolving towards a more personalised, value-driven, and AI-led future and promises to be an exciting year for marketers in all industries.  

Promotional activity can play a crucial role in leveraging these growing trends for brands by speaking to the right people in the right way to drive sales and foster loyalty.  

Get in touch, and let’s see how we can align your next promotional campaign with these trends.