The Bliss Group’s 2024 Predictions: Insights from Senior Marketing Communications Leaders
The Bliss Group’s practice and specialty group leaders recently shared their predictions and insights into the trends that will impact their respective industries in the year ahead – and the implications those trends have for communications strategies. Ranging from the rise of AI to an increased focus on sustainability, communications professionals serving the professional services, financial services, healthcare and impact industries should keep them top-of-mind in 2024.
Expect Workplace and AI to become a core focus for businesses in the professional services industry.
- Workplace Takes Center Stage: As “people-driven” businesses, the professional services sector has helped define what great looks like when it comes to workplace culture. But in the face of new geopolitical realities and changing stakeholder expectations, professional services firms will see their values and workplace cultures tested like never before.
- The Rise of AI: True differentiation in perspective and service offerings will be increasingly important as AI platforms give the ideas economy a common denominator.
With economic volatility continuing into 2024, communications strategies for companies in the financial services industry will need to be agile, adaptive, customer-centric and created with input from C-suite executives.
- Increased Market Volatility & The Growth of Agile Marketing Strategies: Given the ongoing volatility in financial markets, expect marketing and communication strategies in the financial sector to become more agile and adaptive, with a sharp focus on rapid response to market changes and crisis management.
- Shift in Wealth Demographics & Communication Focus: As the Great Wealth Transfer continues, marketing efforts will increasingly target younger demographics and non-traditional investors. There will be a clear shift towards more inclusive and diverse financial communication strategies that appeal to a broader audience.
- Rise in Audience-First Communication Strategies: There will be a significant shift towards more customer-centric communication strategies. Financial services firms will focus on understanding what their audience cares about and tailor their messaging accordingly.
- Increased C-Suite Involvement in Communications: The growing complexity of the financial services landscape is leading C-suite executives to become more involved in communications strategies. Their input will be crucial for navigating challenges (and leveraging opportunities) in the market.
In 2024, there will be increased focus on how Healthcare companies communicate data transparency, equitable access and healthcare costs.
- Data Interoperability: Healthcare as an industry has and will continue to produce a lot of patient data. Consumers themselves are producing this data via personal devices (e.g., Apple Watch, FitBit). Data without insights, though, limits informed health decisions. Interoperability of systems – your health apps, payor and insurer systems, EMRs – is critical to identifying potential health issues. However, with that comes the risk of not only ensuring HIPAA compliance, but also data privacy and security. It will be critical for companies – and all parties in the healthcare ecosystem – to communicate how data is used and how it’s protected. People see value in their information being shared or used by healthcare providers if they are confident that it’s protected and appropriately anonymized, particularly when they know that information is sued to benefit their health.
- Health Equity: There’s increased focus on creating equitable access to care for all people and addressing health conditions that disproportionately affect people of color, particularly as we work to address historical under-resourcing and discrimination. CMS has recently introduced healthy equity measures for Medicare Star ratings criteria, as one example of the ways that accountability for health equity is being built into the healthcare system. As a result of these measures, brands are working in different ways to implement and showcase how they are working to create not only equitable access but also better health outcomes. Brands will be focused on showcasing their efforts. Leveraging the tangible ways businesses are implementing these efforts through human stories will help connect with key audiences and show how these efforts are working.
- Continued Scrutiny of Health Care Costs: On a variety of fronts – including controlling costs of prescription drugs and Medicare costs – Congress has its eye on bringing down the cost of healthcare. 2024 will see a number of efforts to scrutinize PBMs, private insurers and others, leaving companies to defend their roles in managing costs for plan sponsors and consumers. While there’s broad agreement that healthcare costs are too high in the US, it will be critical to defend the value of these players to plan sponsors and consumers. By articulating and showing how they help support better health, companies can communicate their positive role in the ecosystem of care. A focus on issues management will also be important to ensure brands are ready for strikes against their value and role.
With a significant increase in green jobs over the past few years, Impact Officers will become embedded into overall communications efforts and will become drivers of strategy across businesses.
- Continued Addition of Green Jobs + Chief Impact Officers: PwC reports that global companies appointed almost as many CSOs in 2020 and 2021 as they did in the previous eight years combined, and Chief Sustainability Officer Barbie made her debut in 2023. The spotlight on green jobs will continue in 2024, and we are likely to see more Chief Impact Officers (a role that has roots in the nonprofit space) join major corporations. As these roles become more specialized and embedded into corporations’ fabric—or corporate purpose—they will become drivers of strategy across critical business levers, including marketing and communications.
By Keri Toomey, Ken Kerrigan, Reed Handley, Greg Hassel, Alexis Odesser and Megan Tuck
Photo by Pixabay via Pexels