The Current State of Digital Marketing – Takeaways for 2024

Introduction – Economic uncertainty has impacted marketing spend in 2023.

Economists are predicting that the US will skirt recession in 2024 – although the arguments for/against have flipped about eight times since the beginning of the year.

Either way you see it, there are economic uncertainties going into 2024, including:

  • Surging oil prices,
  • Millions of Americans starting to repay their student loans,
  • A potential government shutdown,
  • Ongoing inflationary pressures that continue to eat away at consumers’ savings levels,
  • and the 525-basis point hike in the Federal Funds Rate since early 2022.

Source:  Fortune, “A recession is still likely—and coming soon. Here are 6 reasons why”, October 1, 2023

When asked about how inflation has impacted their marketing budgets in 2023, 54% of CMO’s stated that it has caused a decline –up from 43% in 2022.

Source: Deloitte CMO Survey, March 2023

Marketing’s share of the total company budget will continue to hover around 12%.

According to Deloitte’s March 2023 CMO Survey, marketing’s share of the total company budget was at 12.3% in March 2023.  While that is down from 13.8% in September 2022, it is well above its low of 9.8% in August 2021 and about equivalent to its three-year average of 12%.

As a percentage of company revenues, marketing’s share increased from 8.6% to 10.9% over the past year.  That increase is not due to any jump in marketing spending, but to a decline in overall revenues.


Marketing’s share of Company Budget & Revenues – Feb 2020 – Mar 2023

Source: Deloitte CMO Survey, March 2023

With the uncertainties heading into 2024, gross marketing dollars could decline.  With less marketing dollars, businesses will need to zero in on generating the highest ROI for every dollar spent.

Businesses are returning to face-to-face marketing channels.  B2C product companies are doubling down on DTC and social selling. 

Marketers across all types of businesses are increasing the number of marketing channels they use, especially in B2B Services.  Except for B2C product companies, marketers are returning or have already returned to face-to-face channels like in-person events.  B2C product businesses are instead focusing on direct-to-consumer, typically through their own website or an e-marketplace like Amazon and/or Walmart.  And the biggest hype this past year has been around social selling.  B2C companies, whether product or service-based, are creating stores on Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok to sell their solutions.

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