Trusting consumers over influencers: what trends will shape brand marketing in 2023?

With the economy's tight grip on marketing budgets, what can marketers do to reach new and loyal customers?

Having done work for US icons Circle K and Hershey, Adam Dornbusch, CEO and founder of EnTribe, outlines what brands can do to  manage their marketing content and stay in front of consumer preferences. 

As we approach the final days of 2022, brands everywhere are in the thick of planning and evolving their marketing strategies for the new year. However, the framework for 2023 is looking rather different compared to recent years as brands must now tackle their marketing tactics amidst a fluctuating and receding economy. 

In fact, a report from HubSpot found 20 percent of marketers began shifting their strategies back in October of 2022 to face the challenges from the economy, and in 2023, more shifting will need to take place. On top of economic uncertainty, marketers have also seen a large shift in consumer sentiment and online behaviour this past year that will most likely continue in 2023. 

With changes taking place rapidly throughout the consumer market, below are a few tips marketers can take to ensure their 2023 strategy plan aligns with today, and tomorrow’s, consumer preferences: 

Emphasis on authenticity 

This past year, the marketing industry has been shifting away from high-profile social media users to focus more on content that meets the heightened demand for authenticity. Today, consumers are inundated with sponsored content and advertisements whenever they go online. The sheer amount of ‘paid partnerships'  that are across social channels has caused major influencer fatigue and have left consumers feeling influencers and other branded content to be out of touch, inauthentic and untrustworthy. 

New studies actually revealed 85 percent of consumers no longer find social media influencers and celebrities to be authentic and relatable online. It was found consumers are more likely to trust a brand that uses content from actual customers—better known as user-generated content (UGC)—than paid collaboration with celebrities and influencers. Additionally, 77 percent of these consumers also state they would be more inclined to visit brands that utilise UGC across their social media and online platforms. This is because UGC allows marketers to convey the human side of their brand without payment being involved which creates more trust amongst consumers. 

Personalised user experience 

Marketers must now begin thinking about a customer’s experience in its entirety. From website design that include interactive infographics to social media content and contests, consumers are now craving more personalised experiences from brands that focus on accessibility, engagement and interactivity. It’s actually been found that 74 percent of consumers now claim they will refuse to interact with a web page if it is not personalized to some degree. 

One of the most successful brands to focus on personalization is Spotify. The end-of-year Spotify listener recap, known as Spotify Wrapped, has taken social media by storm. Enticing users to share their music preferences has proved to be one of the biggest marketing campaigns for Spotify year after year. This is a perfect example of how personalization and the practice of UGC can accomplish a company’s marketing goal by adopting their campaigns to meet consumer preferences. In addition to the individual aspect, another part of Spotify’s success was their ability to create a way for users to easily tap one button and share across all of their social media channels. 

Focus on diversity, inclusivity and representation 

It’s important to remember that marketing is all about creating trust amongst a brand’s audience. Unfortunately, it’s been found in the past few years that only a third of consumers actually trust brands despite 81 percent (Clear Channel and JCDecaux research, March 2021) stating trust is an important factor when it comes to purchasing decisions. Heading into the new year, brands will need to focus on maintaining and building trust with their customers and one of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by turning to content that represents your audience. In 2023, marketers who are able to showcase different demographic characteristics, such as age, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexuality identity, religion, etc., will be able to earn consumer’s trust as they will feel their needs and wants are heard and accounted for. 

As the consumer market continues to evolve, so will brands' strategies to connect with their consumers. Entering a new year offers the perfect opportunity for brands to explore new marketing techniques that will give them the competitive advantage throughout 2023 and beyond. Gone are the days that traditional advertising will maintain a brand’s status and presence amongst consumers. Marketers must have the ability to remain relevant and increase their customer base by bringing authenticity, trust, representation and personalization to their online presence.

By Adam Dornbusch

CEO and Founder