The old, the new and the unexpected

It’s that time of year again when we look into the crystal ball and spot the shiny new things that are trending in marketing, to spice up our annual planning process and set some lofty goals for 2023. But many of the priorities and challenges for NZ Marketers, still reside in the known realms of marketing, and global data is starting to show how we are falling behind in what has become table stakes.

Marketing Technology generally sits at around 25% of a marketing budget globally (Gartner, 2022) and the latest research from Salesforce (Salesforce , 2022) indicates that NZ’ Marketers are a step behind the world in getting their marketing tools and technology modernised as this is the #1 priority for NZ Marketers, while globally the focus is on improving the use of these tools and technology.

Again, the research indicates that NZ marketers are a step behind in experimenting with new strategies and tactics, as this ranks as the #2 priority globally but NZ’ Marketers cite resistance to new strategies and tactics as #3 in their list of challenges this year (Salesforce , 2022).

The #1 challenge for NZ marketers (Salesforce , 2022) sheds some light on what may be driving this, a lack of collaboration. This is backed up by what I have seen play out over the past 5 years in major organisations across NZ, as marketing fights to be seen as more than just the advertising team and the true curator of the customer experience.



The dilution of marketing teams standing and responsibility in organisations is a rant for another blog, but at this key time in the annual planning cycle let’s look at some of the other trends shaping marketing in 2023 and how marketing teams can make the most of them.

In November, pre Chat GPT, I scoured the world for a couple of days looking at the big challenges and trends for marketing in 2023 and here’s the list I came up with.

  1. The CX agenda and bedding in cross functional teams
  2. AI: how can it help and are we behind already?
  3. Privacy and peace of mind in personalisation
  4. Moving on from generational segmentation
  5. Changing media landscape across channels and segments
  6. Employee activation: an untouched channel
  7. Responsible consumerism: more than woke washing
  8. Influencers balancing the risk and reward
  9. First party data: the clock is ticking on the last half of cookies

Let’s dig into the first 4 trends…….

The CX agenda and bedding in cross functional teams

Driving a shared CX vision across the organisation does seem to be a key theme for 2023, and whilst 72% of NZ Marketers say their organisation leads the customer experience (what about the other 28% ☹), only 27% of execs in the region believe their marketing and tech teams collaborate successfully.

Why do we still have such a disconnect in collaboration? Is it the shadow tech budget that marketing controls or is there still a major lack of understanding of MarTech in IT teams?

I think there is a large lack of understanding, and we need to bring our tech friends along an the journey with us, and at pace. Your company IT architects should know what a CDP, DMP, DAM, clouds CMS and core API end points can do for marketing and CX and be open to looking at these solutions instead of trying to build another lite custom CDP in Power BI.

Make 2023 the year you bring marketers, product managers / owners and IT teams onto the same page around what technology is available and what it can do, and then drive the vision together with this shared understanding on what is possible, because in 1 year the possibilities will have grown exponentially.

Shared CX Vision

AI is making an impact

AI has been the talk of marketing tech circles for the past few years, but I hadn’t really seen it flowing into core parts of marketing solutions or everyday usage yet, so I was surprised to see the research from Salesforce that 68% of marketers globally say they have a fully defined AI strategy and 62% say they have invested in AI.

Truth is, I don’t think automated campaign optimisation in Facebook really counts as investment in AI, so how else can AI help in marketing?

Here's what Chat GPT thinks:

  • Predictive customer analytics and personalization
  • Chatbots for customer service and engagement
  • AI-powered advertising and ad targeting
  • Voice search optimization and natural language processing
  • Image and video recognition for visual search and marketing
  • Influencer marketing through AI-powered sentiment analysis
  • Predictive sales and lead scoring
  • Real-time insights and market trend analysis
  • AI-powered email marketing and automation
  • Predictive inventory management and supply chain optimization.

This is remarkably like the list I wrote in November 2022 when researching this blog, so top of your list of trends to take notice of in 2023 is AI, start the conversation in your organisation on developing an AI strategy and having marketing playing a part in this.

What should the strategy cover you say? Here is what Chat GPT thinks:

  1. Business goals: AI should be aligned with the overall business strategy and help achieve specific goals such as improved customer experience, increased efficiency, or new revenue streams.
  2. Data governance: Organizations should have clear policies for collecting, storing, and using data to ensure compliance with data privacy laws and ethical standards.
  3. Technical infrastructure: AI requires significant computing power and data storage capacity, so organizations should have a plan for acquiring and maintaining the necessary technology.
  4. Talent and skills: Companies need to have a mix of technical and non-technical staff with the skills to develop and implement AI solutions, as well as the ability to interpret results and make data-driven decisions.
  5. Use cases: Companies should identify specific use cases where AI can provide the most value and prioritize them based on impact and feasibility.
  6. Ethical considerations: AI can raise ethical and social issues such as bias, accountability, and transparency, so companies should have a clear set of principles and guidelines to address these concerns.
  7. Continuous learning and adaptation: AI is a rapidly evolving field, and companies should continuously monitor its advancements and adapt their strategies accordingly.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the next generation of Chat GPT and other AI tech looks like and how it frees us up to be creators and curators for our customers.

Gabby’s dogs in her garden by Dall – E 2
Gabby’s dogs in her garden by Dall – E 2

The Personalisation Paradox

We’ve been hearing about personalisation for years (decades even!), and I have been using personalisation strategies since my first marketing role in 2005 with Colgate – Palmolive. The challenge seems to be that the technology has only just caught up to the dream in the past few years with more interconnected channels. Many marketers have also only seen the results of the false personalisation prophet, Programmatic advertising and are now ready to give up.

Conflicting sentiment from customers is also giving companies pause on their personalisation roadmaps, when we see stats like 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences (Epsilon, 2018) and 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen (McKinsey & Co, 2021), up against 46% of Kiwi’s were either concerned or very concerned about individual privacy and protection of personal information (NZ Privacy Commissioner, 2022).


True personalisation is a mid and low funnel activity, and must be done with the maximum of honesty, transparency, and collaboration with the customer to be successful. You overcome the “Personalisation Paradox” by building trust and insight for the customer, into what data is being used, by whom and for what purpose.

We are only just starting to see full personalisation programs being built out by our major organisations and many are still at ground zero. They currently have large performance marketing budgets and teams, but no cohesive 1st and Zero party data strategy or full understanding of what can be achieved with modern DXP’s (Digital Experience Platforms).

I believe personalisation and its roadmap for your communications strategy should be a core tenant of your plan in 2023, as it has a part to play in every business model and at its core is about delivering a great CX.

Moving on from generational segmentation

The perennial fight over generational cohorts and their differences is getting tired. This elder millennial would like to be seen as a person, not an avo on toast consuming unit.

Generational segmentation, which divides customers into demographic groups based on their birth year, has been a popular marketing strategy for decades. However, it is increasingly becoming less effective and relevant as a sole determinant for marketing decisions. Marketers are moving on from using it because it oversimplifies and stereotypes customers, leading to ineffective and even damaging campaigns.

Moreover, people within the same generation can have vastly different values, attitudes, and behaviours, making it more important to focus on individual preferences and motivations. Instead, marketers should adopt a more nuanced approach that considers multiple factors, such as life stage, interests, and behaviours, and jobs to be done, to create more personalized and relevant marketing strategies. By doing so, they can build stronger relationships with their customers and drive better business outcomes.

Make 2023 the year you start to explore the “Jobs to be done” that your customers come to you for and how you use this to segment your consumers. Also don’t forget, segmentation does not need to be a singular and mutually exclusive in its structure, a good segmentation model may have hundreds of different segments across 20 or more segmentations that can be used to drive targeting, messaging, content choice or timing.

Join the debate on the next 5 trends

Have I riled you up because I haven’t talked about brand or influencers yet, have I over estimated the importance of technology over story and brand salience?

Yes? Great then come along to our new in person series, the marketing monthly meetup on Tuesday 21st February at the Marketing Association offices in Auckland, where we’ll discuss these trends and dig into the trends above plus the changing media landscape, employee activation, woke washing, influencers and first party data in more detail alongside drinks and nibbles.

Book your spot here now.

If you want to discuss how to approach the next stage of your personalisation journey and transformation strategy then let’s catch up for a coffee. Check out Maven Loyalty and our services today.


Epsilon. 2018. The power of me: The impact of personalization on marketing performance.

Gartner. 2022. The State of Marketing Budget and Strategy.

McKinsey & Co. 2021. The value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying.

NZ Privacy Commissioner. 2022. Privacy concerns and sharing data.

Salesforce. 2022. State of Marketing Report.

Adobe. 2022. Digital Trends APAC