This Month In Marketing: Retail Media, Marketing Metrics, and AI’s Potential (March 2024)


This Month In Marketing: Retail Media, Marketing Metrics, and AI’s Potential (March 2024)

Every month, the Marketing Manager blog compiles the latest marketing news, trends, and projections that will keep you on top of your game and your business moving forward.

B2C Priorities

Deloitte Digital’s latest research delves into the disparity between brands’ perceptions of their B2C efforts and consumers’ actual experiences. While 8 in 10 brands believe their online shopping experiences impress consumers, less than half of consumers agree. This divide extends to in-store experiences, highlighting a significant gap that needs addressing. Consumers value tailored online experiences, customized products, and location-based personalization, which brands need to prioritize for improved satisfaction and increased spending. Additionally, changing consumer behaviors, such as increased product returns, underscore the importance of adaptable strategies. Brands can leverage returns as an opportunity, with over half of consumers willing to join loyalty programs for free-return shipping. The report provides four essential questions for brands to consider as they navigate modern commerce challenges, emphasizing the need for deep understanding of target customers, aligned technology investments, data-driven personalization, and rewarding loyalty programs. Mastering commerce in 2024 will be pivotal for sustained growth amid heightened competition and evolving consumer expectations.

Growth Gains

Insider Intelligence forecasts robust growth in worldwide digital, traditional, and total media ad spending in 2024, signaling optimism after two years of relative stagnation. The projected 9.7% total global ad spending growth represents the fastest rate since 2011, driven by various factors including improved macroeconomic conditions and major events like the Summer Olympics. Traditional ad spending will benefit from these events, while digital ad spending continues to dominate, comprising 70% of total spending and expected to rise further. This shift reflects the increasing significance of digital platforms in advertising. 

AI Shopping Assistance

IBM’s study on retail AI highlights consumers’ growing demand for AI-powered assistance in product research, issue resolution, and deals/promotions. However, while companies anticipate offering such solutions, current offerings often fall short of consumer expectations, leading to dissatisfaction. Despite this, consumers remain open to AI applications, particularly virtual assistants and augmented reality experiences. Successful implementation requires responsible use of customer data to deliver relevant and personalized interactions. Moreover, consumers’ desire for improved online and in-store experiences underscores the importance of AI-driven solutions in retail. Brands must focus on enhancing customer engagement through AI while addressing privacy concerns and delivering seamless, intuitive experiences across channels.

Attention, Please!

Integral Ad Science’s latest study explores attention measurement in digital marketing, revealing disparities in approaches between ad buyers and publishers. While both prioritize visibility, situation, and interaction metrics, their methodologies differ, highlighting the need for standardized measurement practices. Social media emerges as the preferred platform for attention metrics, emphasizing its importance in digital advertising strategies.

What Fans Want

Infillion’s research sheds light on shifting sports fan behaviors, with a significant rise in streaming sports content observed since 2020. This trend poses challenges for advertisers amidst the fragmentation of sports rights and changing viewer preferences. While TV remains the preferred viewing platform, streaming services are gaining traction, especially among younger demographics. Marketers must adapt strategies to reach audiences across various platforms effectively. Furthermore, understanding gender differences in fan engagement and preferences can inform targeted advertising efforts. By integrating brands seamlessly into sports experiences and leveraging relevant partnerships, marketers can enhance engagement and drive brand affinity among sports fans.

AI Meeting Marketing Needs

PhotoShelter’s survey highlights the mounting pressure on marketing professionals to produce content rapidly amid economic fluctuations and budget constraints. AI tools and digital asset management platforms offer promising solutions to streamline content creation processes and enhance productivity. By leveraging AI-driven insights, marketers can deliver more engaging and relevant content while optimizing resource allocation. The integration of AI technologies with digital asset management platforms presents new opportunities for brands to innovate and stay competitive in an evolving landscape.

Getting The Message

Studies from Sinch Mailgun and Netcore underscore the enduring importance of email marketing in the digital landscape. Despite the rise of alternative communication channels, consumers still prefer email for promotional and transactional messages. However, excessive messaging can lead to consumer fatigue and dissatisfaction, emphasizing the need for targeted and relevant content. Effective email marketing strategies should prioritize list segmentation, personalization, and value-driven communication to engage audiences effectively and drive conversions. Additionally, brands must balance email outreach with other communication channels to deliver holistic and impactful customer experiences.

AI Spending Spree

New data reveals a significant surge in enterprise spending on generative AI solutions, driven by businesses’ growing reliance on AI technologies for innovation and efficiency. The projected exponential growth underscores AI’s transformative potential across industries, with businesses expected to prioritize AI investments to drive business transformation and enhance customer experiences. As AI adoption becomes ubiquitous, companies must harness AI’s capabilities effectively to gain a competitive edge and capitalize on emerging opportunities in the AI-driven landscape.

Human Touch

Merkle’s study, “Engagement to Empowerment,” underscores the growing apprehension among consumers regarding data privacy and identity protection in the era of AI-driven marketing. Concerns about data security and potential misuse of AI technology are prevalent among 58% of consumers surveyed. To address these worries, Merkle advocates for transparency and ethical use of AI by brands. The study suggests a balanced approach that combines digital experiences with human interaction. It outlines six key imperatives for brand marketing professionals, emphasizing understanding customer experience fundamentals and leveraging AI ethically to build trust.

Spend Trends

Insider Intelligence predicts significant growth in retail media ad spend. Retail media is expected to lead the growth in search ad spending and dominate the advertising landscape. Despite potential challenges, the report anticipates a thriving future for retail media, particularly in the context of generative AI’s influence on search marketing.

Direct Hit

Insider Intelligence’s analysis reveals the enduring dominance of programmatic direct as the preferred transaction method, especially amidst the transition to a cookieless environment. The decline of open exchanges underscores the industry’s shift towards first-party data usage and the growing importance of privacy-conscious advertising strategies.

First-Party Data Considerations

Attest’s study sheds light on consumers’ mounting concerns about data privacy, particularly in email marketing and cookie usage. The research emphasizes the rising significance of zero-party data and interactive surveys in building consumer trust and optimizing marketing strategies. As consumers become more discerning about data sharing, brands are urged to adopt transparent and ethical data practices to maintain consumer trust.

Measurement Priorities

Recent research underscores the increasing importance of retail media networks in meeting advertising goals. Despite challenges in analytics and reporting, retail media is perceived as indispensable for measuring ROI and upper-funnel impact accurately. The study highlights the potential for retail media to deliver higher ROI compared to other channels, driving further investment in the future.

Money Isn’t Everything

ebbo’s study emphasizes the value of experience-based benefits, such as extended returns, in apparel brand loyalty programs. Consumers prioritize these benefits, which not only enhance their shopping experience but also elevate brands in their perception. By offering tailored rewards and benefits, brands can foster deeper engagement and loyalty among consumers.

Leap Forward

On Leap Day, attention turned to the potential of generative AI in optimizing productivity and time management. With AI tools facilitating tasks like email drafting and landing page creation, humans can leverage technology to streamline workflows and focus on higher-value activities. As businesses embrace AI-driven solutions, they unlock new opportunities for efficiency and innovation, ultimately driving growth and competitiveness in the digital era.


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