Change is constant – particularly in the digital space – and is a key process shaping our future.

Preparing for and managing ever-present change is a challenge that separates marketers and organisations from their competitors.

In June 2023, NZ Marketing Association brought together over 500 of the country's top marketers for Digital Day Out 2023. This annual event aims to bring the marketing community together to share knowledge, gain inspiration, and set themselves up for success. Salt is a proud sponsor of DDO, and our talented team of creative and marketing recruiters were on-hand to immerse themselves in the day's programming. Read on for some of the team's key takeaways for creating the future.

The digital economy is fast evolving.

Society is becoming increasingly connected.

A recent study found that people will spend up to 44 years of their lives staring at screens, be it phone, laptop, desktop, TV, gaming device, or e-reader screens. Society is becoming ever more connected, and the evolution of society towards greater connectivity is inevitable. Today, digital technology is ubiquitous in our lives. In the future, digital channels and platforms will work together seamlessly, and the bounds between our online and offline lives will blur further.

Data is driving the digital economy.

As digitalisation becomes more omnipresent, consumers are becoming more careful about how and where their data is being shared. Subsequently, leading global organisations are learning that data protection and privacy can create a business advantage. To maximise this advantage and grow their brands in the right direction, marketers must learn how to leverage the accelerating evolution of digital technologies to design customer-relevant experiences and build consumer trust.  

Here are some trends, ideas, and strategies worth considering for staying ahead of the curve and making the most of the digital economy's opportunities.

Content builds brands and consumer trust.

Customers value trust and connection, and they want to be taught something.

Multiple DDO panellists spoke about the value customers place on trust and connection. We heard how brands that break consumer trust could lose up to 57% of their customer base. Equally, 67% of customers will pay more for brands they trust. Thus, the critical need for trust when engaging with customers online is clear and unchanging.

During DDO's keynote presentation, Google's Hannah Weir emphasised the importance of cultivating consumer trust online. This notion resonated with our team as it reinforces what we're experiencing in the market daily. As recruitment consultants, we know first-hand how critical trust is to the relationships we build with our clients and candidates offline and, increasingly, online.

Following DDO, we've had a chance to read the article Hannah – and Google – recommended about leveraging behavioural science to aid customer decision-making. The Social Proof and Authority Bias principles are, in our experience, key differentiators – especially in our industry. However, we agree with Hannah that the organisations that deliver on their promises will ultimately garner the most loyalty.

Bridging the loyalty gap between your organisation and your customers.

Another highlight was the concept that the content organisations create and publish essentially defines their relationship with their customers. Furthermore, a growing trend towards creating purpose-driven content enables brands to connect with target audiences based on shared interests, specifically a cause or belief.

One of the critical issues confronting New Zealand consumers – and, indeed, global consumers – over the next 12 months will be the growing cost of living. Thus, customers increasingly seek advice or guidance to help them make informed decisions about where and how to spend their money.

This presents an opportunity for marketers to focus on the features and benefits of their product or service to attract customers, educate their existing customer base, and strengthen brand loyalty. However, customers are becoming increasingly savvy towards empty promises, greenwashing, and social washing – and unafraid of sounding an alarm when they suspect organisations of behaving dishonestly. So, as Hannah highlighted, organisations must act with integrity to drive loyalty.

Intelligence and AI models can streamline and scale your processes.

AI will change the world.

Although Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been shaping our Google queries for years, we're only seeing a glimpse of its full power. An excellent enabler, AI is a great way to fill up a whiteboard with inspiring thoughts and ideas for a human to latch onto and explore, provide content generation ideas, or digitise and expedite long-winded manual processes.

Aaron McDonald from Futureverse, a Māori-led business making waves globally with AI and Metaverse technologies, highlighted some opportunities both technologies offer. Under the theme, "How AI is Blurring the Digital and Physical Worlds", Aaron talked about the 'immersive convergence' of platforms where we can live, play, and get things done online. Through Aaron's vision, we saw the sheer scale of opportunity this technology presents. However, as we mentioned earlier, the challenge for marketers is translating how organisations can take advantage of the latest chapter in the digital economy to continue brand-building.

But AI is not without its risks.

AI has enormous potential, but it is also vital to be sceptical of it. International keynote speaker, writer, and SEO consultant Britney Muller drew the analogy between AI and a double-edged sword. Whilst AI presents many exciting possibilities, it's also foolish in both known and unknown ways. It can perform poorly and may learn from past errors. Furthermore, like the internet, AI will reflect how society uses it and depends on the quality of inputted data.

AI will continue to evolve quickly. As marketers, we should proceed cautiously but continue to engage with the technology and evaluate its utility. It is not a technology we want to be left behind. While the concept of AI reflecting the society that uses it may be sobering, it doesn't change the fact that AI and automation will impact many aspects of our jobs in the future.

Key skills in demand in the New Zealand job market.

At Salt, we're witnessing uncertainty and anxiety about how the acceleration of digital technologies will impact the job market. However, these changes also present opportunities for those who embrace continuous learning and adopt a growth mindset.

This sentiment was echoed by DDO attendees, with senior marketing leaders highlighting some critical digital skills gaps they'll be looking to proactively close within their in-house teams in the short- to medium-term.

These skills include:

  • Data analysis and presentation.
  • Defining, setting, and achieving KPIs and metrics.
  • Translating business and industry trends into insights.
  • Creating purpose-based marketing content and campaigns.

Addressing these skills gaps will enable marketers and organisations to maximise the possibilities future technological developments will bring. Furthermore, we note these are skills that – as far as we're aware – will be difficult for AI or digitalisation to replicate effectively.

Technology is driving rapid change in the marketing industry, yet there will always be a need for talented individuals who see the potential of technological advancements.

Our team at Salt are specialists in every aspect of digital recruitment. We partner with our clients to place the best individual talent and create some of the most exciting digital futures globally. Upload your CV, search for jobs, or contact us for a confidential conversation.