10 Digital Marketing Trends to Look out for in 2023 [LIST]

Digital marketing trends

2023 is here, and I want to start the year with a few thoughts about where digital marketing is going, and a few trends we see emerging that should be on your radar.

My goal is to keep things practical and not too theoretical because we are here to make your life easier.

Last year, I shared digital marketing trends to look out for, and the year before, and the year before that. Take a look if you’re curious to see how things are evolving in this space and in general.

Let’s kick things off with the first trend.

Digital Marketing Trend No. 1: AI, Big Data, and BI in Marketing

If you haven’t heard about ChatGPT then perhaps you’ve been offline for the last few months. ChatGPT has revolutionised the way we write and design since it launched in November 2022, garnering over a million users in the first week. Using this AI writing tool you can generate keywords, article ideas, strategies, article content, social media plans, and so much more. Find out how we think AI is impacing the world of digital agencies in one of our latest blogs. If you want to know more about AI in Marketing be sure to join us for our Marketing Masterclassess – free monthly webinar series where we dive into top relevant topics like this and more. Next let’s talk about Big Data in Marketing.

Big Data has been around for years, but few companies are actually doing it, and even fewer are doing it properly, as per Dan Ariely’s well know quote:

Den Ariely - Digital Marketing Trends

A few of the big data challenges facing marketers is the following:

  1. I don’t have any data that I can use
  2. The data I have is in a mess and can’t be turned into insights
  3. I don’t get real-time information from my data
  4. I have too much data
  5. I don’t know where to start
  6. It’s expensive for me to request reports
  7. I don’t know how to interpret the data
  8. It takes too long to pull reports

You might have a lot of data, but making sense of it is challenging as well.

We use SEDGE to turn data into insights – it’s a predictive and prescriptive analytics tool that is cloud-based and inexpensive. They also offer consulting services for our clients whose data needs cleaning up or custom report building.

These insights get used in driving unique campaigns forward.

But you don’t have to overcook it – data can be as simple as using Google Analytics to interpret your website traffic, or Facebook Insights – getting started with data is what’s key.

We recommend creating a custom-build Customer Journey Map with CRM integration if you’re looking at creating a high-performing sales funnel.

Other simple AI tools that can add value to your life are automated writing tools like Jarvis or Weebly.

The world of marketing technology is massive, so I suggest you start by asking, which problem do I have, and can it be automated?

Watch my talk with Katie King here for a few insights on the subject of AI in Marketing.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJSj5RL1riQ&t=1s

Digital Marketing Trend No. 2: Video in Marketing

As with previous articles, video continues to dominate digital marketing. This is because video communicates personality, vision, and values faster than any other medium.

This article states that X percentage of people prefer watching a video to reading an article. Since you’re reading this, there are, happily, still some who prefer reading.

We suggest doing both, which is why we usually embed a video summarising each article, into each article, example here.

Video doesn’t have to be overcooked. At a minimum, just pick up your phone and click record. Otherwise, reach out to professionals like us, and we can send our pro photography and videography crew in to film your thought leaders and create a top-rate production depending on your needs.

Live video takes this to a whole new level and definitely needs to be a part of your strategy.

Most platforms offer live events, including LinkedIn – people want to connect in an authentic way with you and your brand.

Digital Marketing Trend No. 3: Marketing Automation and  Customer Journey Mapping

Marketing automation can be complex or simple, depending on your organisation’s level and needs.

Simple marketing automation involves first creating a strategy and a customer journey plan.

Then go ahead and set up your database and CRM. We recommend using Zoho One. This can take some time, so work with a specialised B2B marketing technology agency like ours to help you with this process.

You’ll need to use tracking variables on all your assets to pull everything together.

Once that’s done, start creating your assets, including landing pages, paid media ads, and auto mailers to guide customers down the funnel.

True marketing automation involves pulling in unique variables for each customer based on gender, preferences, location, language, buying behavior, and that’s where the science really comes into play.

Then optimise, manage and improve.

Basically, you’re looking at setting up click funnels that convert and continue to bring you, customers.

Digital Marketing Trend No. 4: B2B and Saas Marketing Agencies

Another big trend we see is the rise of fully focused SaaS and B2B Marketing Agencies like Shift ONE digital.

Companies with services and products in this space want to work with agencies that have the track record and knowledge that can drive sales, brand awareness, and uptake, unlike traditional agencies that are only just catching up with digital marketing.

When selecting a B2B Marketing and Saas Marketing Agency, I’d suggest you look for:

  1. Proven track record with companies in a similar space, but not direct competitors
  2. Case Studies showcasing successes and wins
  3. Marketing technology backbone
  4. A deep passion for conversions

And then choose the company that has the right culture and values, you want an agency where you deal with the management, not just junior delegating to managing the day-to-day operations.

Digital Marketing Trend No. 5: Podcasting

Podcast growth from 2006 to 2021

Podcasting will continue to grow, why? Because people love multitasking – jogging and listening or driving and learning audiences are just going to continue to grow.

Podcasting is a great way to have your camera-shy subject matter experts share their knowledge in an informal session. Having a few experts chatting is a lot more dynamic than one person speaking to the camera.

Grab your phone, record yourself speaking, and voila. Or set up a Zoom meeting, invite participants and record it. Just use the audio file.

Otherwise, we can set up a professional podcast for you using our studio facilities, professional audio engineers and assist with script and dialogue planning and preparation for a professional result.

Just be clear on goals before you start, and perhaps plan out your episodes, so there’s some structure! The ASK DK podcast started with Season 1 being about answering questions, Season 2 was me interviewing successful entrepreneurs, Season 3 was interviews with digital marketing channel experts, and Season 5 has me interviewing top CEOs about their global success.

Having a strategy is always better than just shooting from the hip.

Digital Marketing Trend No. 6: Webinars

Webinars have been flogged to death since Covid, but I still feel there’s space for webinars in 2022, just please, try to think of a topic that’s of interest to your customers, not just to you.

I suggest running a poll or survey with your clients to find out what their key bugbears are.

Keep it light, interesting, almost like a podcast, but with an audience.

Also, check out the Clubhouse app, basically webinars without visuals. Or live podcasts.

Explore micro topics – topics that are very niche and specific to your customer’s needs.

Digital Marketing Trend No. 7: Thought Leadership & Employee Advocacy

Thought Leadership and Personal Branding will continue to grow in 2022, so if you’re not yet practicing employee advocacy and personal branding, then it’s time to look into getting started.

Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs…all are or were the face of their brands, and their activities on social media influences stock prices.

People buy from people.

People buy into the values of you or your staff and management.

Microsoft started using the LinkedIn “My Company” tab to engage their employees and drive authentic advocacy just last year. Since April 2021, they’ve already used it to influence 630K views on open jobs, 84K job applications, and 3.5 new hires, all from employees resharing organic content.

Influencer marketing took off because customers were sharing their experiences – but influencer marketing has become tainted by unethical businesses and influencers who have lost sight of their authenticity. But for a brief, shining moment, it was wonderful because customers were selling to customers.


We are talking about E2C – employees marketing or speaking to customers – sharing their authentic stories.

Digital Marketing Trend No. 8: Authenticity

As with other years, authenticity is still a trend to be adopted.

How to be authentic?

  1. Stop selling10 Digital Marketing Trends to Look out for in 2022
  2. Tell stories instead of pushing products
  3. Let your customers share their stories and experiences
  4. Be honest
  5. Look at customers as a long term relationship – a marriage and not a one night stand.

Not all your videography has to be super slick – have your CEO take a selfie video and share that with your followers.

Digital Marketing Trend No. 9: Have a Clear Marketing Strategy

Sounds obvious, but many marketers and businesses don’t have a clear marketing strategy. A marketing strategy should be simple, clear, and practical.

Everything you do should start with a strategy…I like to helicopter up and zoom out, look at the landscape from on high and then start to drop down lower and lower to more detail from there.

A simple marketing strategy – and you can even fit this onto one page, should include:

  1. Business goals 2022
  2. Marketing goals 2022
  3. Who are we
  4. What do we sell
  5. What makes us unique
  6. What does the marketplace look like
  7. Who are our customers or Personas – check out our awesome Target Market template that I swear by
    1. What are their demographics
    2. What are their needs
    3. What are their emotions
    4. Which products solve their needs
    5. What is our messaging
    6. Which channels are they using
  8. Who are our competitors
  9. What gap do we fill
  10. Where do we want to be
  11. What’s our brand
    1. What is our logo and slogan
    2. What are our colours
    3. What does our brand stand for
    4. What is our archetype
    5. Is all of the above still relevant
  12. What’s our pricing strategy
  13. What are our distribution channels – who can we partner with
  14. What’s our Channel mix
    1. Traditional channels
    2. Digital channels
  15. What are our KPI’s
  16. What’s our budget
  17. Etc

Call me for a facilitated workshop around this – there are always nuggets and insights that are quite profound when I run one of these workshops.

Sometimes the real value lies in just getting everyone onto the same page.

Digital Marketing Trend No. 10: Customer Centric Integrated Digital Marketing

And lastly, I believe that Integrated Digital Marketing will continue to grow – understanding that prospects have a highly varied and unique path they take before converting, and reaching them with the right message on the right medium at the right time, with content that is relevant … that is what gets results.

All the R’s.

How do you integrate your digital marketing?

Start with the customer. Which channels are they using? Which content do they want? Right there, you will find that your channel mix widens to accommodate your 4-5 different customer segments or personas.

Your CRM and tracking will keep track of their journey and serve them the next piece of content to draw them down the funnel.

So always keep your customer at the centre of everything you do.

Read Brand Story, by [Donald Miller], that’s a good start.

And underpin everything with Marketing Technology.

And you’ll be great!

Good luck.

About Dylan Kohlstädt

Dylan Kohlstädt started Shift ONE digital in 2011 and now has a team of top subject matter experts working with her from her offices in Cape Town and Jo’burg, and clients based all over the world.

Shift ONE specialises in getting you customers through authenticity: creating authentic content that builds communities and turns customers into fans. We create believable top-converting websites, that rank on page one of Google SEO, and next level social media, online advertising, email marketing, graphic design, blogging, press and PR, lead generation, writing, video, animations, and more.

Dylan also founded the Digital Marketing Academy in 2013 in order to pass on what she knows, upskilling marketers and entrepreneurs in digital marketing skills, in a fun, face-to-face or online environment.

Dylan Kohlstädt has worked in advertising, marketing and online in South Africa, UK and Australia and attended a Google for Entrepreneurs immersion program in Silicon Valley where she learned about going from garage to global.

Dylan Kohlstädt, CEO and founder, is a subject matter expert on digital marketing whose articles are regularly featured in entrepreneur and business magazines, TV and radio. Dylan has 20 years of marketing management experience, eight of which are in digital marketing. She also has an MBA through UNISA.

You can reach Dylan at:

Email: Dylan@shiftone.co.za

Social media: @dylankohlstadt

Web: www.shiftone.co.za

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