We have the lowdown on the business trends in 2024 that will impact everything from the digital experience to brand strategy and design. Hint: artificial intelligence (AI) still looms large.
Whether it’s information we’ve gleaned from our clients, priorities we’re seeing across industries, or general market trends, this year is shaping up to be more disruptive than past years.
Let’s kick off 2024 with some bold predictions that can change fortunes.
1. Executives Are under Pressure to Navigate Change
Hyper-change is no longer a buzzword. As technological innovation and market shifts occur at an ever-faster pace, 40% of global CEOs are under pressure, wondering if their businesses will survive the next decade.1 The pressure is on, and this could be the year many executives face a wake-up call in their industry.
Making the right decisions will be critical. Three-quarters of business leaders have seen the daily volume of decisions they need to make increase tenfold over the last three years.2 Not only will you be making more decisions this year, but they’ll be more impactful than ever before.
2. Tech Debt Takes on New Proportions
Becoming a digital-first company may be harder than you think. Workers worldwide aren’t equipped with the resources to learn the digital skills they need to succeed. And workers aren’t the only ones feeling left out of the digital economy. That skills gap could result in $8.5 trillion being left on the table by companies globally.3
The ever-expanding sea of digital tools presents both an opportunity and a challenge. 2024 should be earmarked as the year for rationalization, with a focus on reducing core products, eliminating peripheral ones, and maximizing the use of existing platforms.
3. You’ll Need a Product Mindset
In 2024, to compete you’ll need to develop user experiences and technologies like a product-driven organization. That means you should be looking to turn your projects into products and to focus on technological innovation as if you were a digital native.
It’s no longer just about building stuff. It’s about building the right stuff. Shifting a company culture from laying bricks to creating experiences that are customer-centered, usable, and delightful, requires a product mindset. Start by evaluating where investments are being made and get ready to transform departments, like IT and marketing, from cost centers into innovation factories.
4. Success Will Be Measured Differently
The era of reporting on dozens of key performance indicators (KPIs) divorced from company goals is rapidly ending. Businesses can no longer afford to get lost in the metrics.
Our clients are becoming laser-focused on results, and the interconnectedness of the outcomes they drive is the real game-changer. Decision-makers need to escape their metrics and silos to gain an enterprise-wide view of outcomes across stakeholders, while focusing less on self-serving KPIs and more on working in concert to generate business outcomes.
5. Generative AI Grows Up
Generative AI initiatives will experience an existential crisis as part of evolving business trends in 2024. Sequoia Capital, one of the premier US venture capital firms, revealed some insider information: they’re drowning in start-up pitches about cool AI stuff that is not particularly useful.4 Which means organizations looking to capitalize on generative AI will have to establish proof of value if they want to turn experiments into market demand.
Proof of value is made up of a trio of components—proof of opportunity, proof of concept, and proof of readiness—signaling a shift to a customer-back approach. In other words, put the customer first and extend a critical eye towards generative AI solutions that solve problems nobody has (take this excuse generator, for example).
Also, make sure to assess your timeline. Knowing whether you can prototype your generative AI product, and if the market is ready for it, will help determine how viable it is.
6. Generative AI Transforms Marketing
Unlike some areas of the business where generative AI is being met with uncertainty, marketing presents immediate use cases. Content development, campaign planning, and a growing list of practical applications are transforming the marketing landscape. The challenge lies in mitigating brand risks and addressing data privacy concerns associated with off-the-shelf generative AI tools.
The explosive growth of content, fueled by generative AI, poses a dual challenge for brands—an overwhelming quantity and a decline in quality. To cut through the noise, emphasis must be placed on authentic storytelling. Compelling narratives, visually interactive content, and a return to brand essentials become crucial tools for companies seeking to differentiate in a saturated content landscape.
7. Business Trends in 2024 Will Force You off the Sidelines
The goal posts are moving, and you can’t afford to sit on the sidelines waiting for them to return to where they were in 2023. Whether it’s generative AI or general investment in growth, 2024 is the year to get off those sidelines and actively seek the next big thing.
If relevance in the next decade is on your agenda, being a fast follower won’t cut it anymore. As interest rates settle and companies reassess their brand presence, many will be jumping back in to claim their share. The time to act is now, so go find those goal posts and bring it home.
1 “An alarming share of CEOs say their companies won’t be viable in 10 years if they stick to the ‘current path’,” Alain Murray and Claire Zillman, Fortune, January 17, 2023.
2 “How AI Can Help Leaders Make Better Decisions Under Pressure,” Mark Purdy and A. Mark Williams, Harvard Business Review, October 26, 2023.
3 “The $8.5 Trillion Talent Shortage,” Michael Franzino, Alan Guarino, and Yannick Binvel, Korn Ferry.
4 “Generative AI’s Act Two,” Sonya Huang, Pat Grady, and GPT-4, Sequoia Capital, September 20, 2023.