Gartner’s 2024 CMO predictions: The double-edged sword of generative AI

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Analyst firm Gartner has issued its forecast for what marketers need to watch out for in 2024 – and it will come as no surprise that generative AI features heavily. Yet a lack of consumer trust is the pervading theme.

By 2025, Gartner predicts that a ‘perceived decay’ in the quality of social media platforms will see 50% of consumers significantly limit – or abandon altogether – their interactions with social media. Generative AI is part of the reasons why; more than seven in 10 consumers see that greater integration of the technology into social media will harm user experience.

As the way consumers experience the platforms change – sharing less of their own lives and content, for example – Gartner advocates that CMOs must ‘refocus their customer acquisition and loyalty retention strategies’ accordingly.

From a CMO perspective, much of the attraction of generative AI comes from productivity and cost savings. Yet Gartner sees both sides of this equation. More time for senior executives will be spent on advanced strategic creative endeavours – such as leveraging generative AI and product and service innovation.

“The use of GenAI in a creative team’s routine daily work frees them up to do higher level, more impactful creative ideation, testing, and analysis,” said Emily Weiss, senior principal researcher in the Gartner Marketing Practice. “As a result, creative will play a more important and measurable role in driving business results, and CMOs will actually increase their spending on creative and content.”

In the short term, this innovation will be seen in areas such as search. Gartner predicts that by 2028, brands’ organic search traffic will decrease by 50% or more as consumers embrace generative AI-powered search. Based on a survey of almost 300 consumers six months ago, 70% of those polled expressed some level of trust in generative AI-backed search results.

For some brands, however, moving away from this noise will prove beneficial. Taking its prediction from another consumer survey, of 305 respondents in May, Gartner predicted that one in five brands will lean into positioning and differentiation based on the absence of AI in their products. Gartner found almost three quarters (72%) of those polled believed AI-based content generators could spread false or misleading information. This concern around ‘hallucinations’ could see some consumers take an alternate path.

“A subsection of brands will shun AI and prioritise more human positioning,” added Weiss. “This ‘acoustic’ concept will be leveraged to distance brands from perceptions of AI-powered business as impersonal and homogeneous.”

You can read the full list of predictions here.

Read more: The future of marketing: 3 key trends set to transform the European landscape in 2024

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