As technological advancements grow and attention spans shrink, customer experience and ethics are emerging as key priorities for businesses and marketers determining their approach to technology adoption.

Growing ownership of and dependence on multiple devices have resulted in shrinking attention spans among consumers. For businesses, declining attention spans mean that they only have one shot at retaining that attention and leaving a good impression at the same time. 

At a time of talent shortages and reduced budgets, technology plays an important role as the first touch point in providing positive brand experiences. MartechAsia culls some perspectives experts as we stare into the crystal ball to determine what’s brewing in the New Year of 2024:

1. Artificial intelligence (of course, why not?) 

Simon Stone, GM International at LoopMe:

Consumers are using a wider selection of platforms than ever, and when exposed to more advertising, they tend to zone out. So, attention fragmentation and measurement will continue to be a hot topic in 2024 and beyond.

The rise of ‘second screening’, where consumers split their attention between multiple channels, will prompt the need for predictive audience modeling to select the right advertising creative, platform, and timing to maximise consumer engagement — that’s where AI comes in.

AI is a potent tool that can supercharge our industry, and APAC is the fastest-growing AI market in the world. So, instead of using lookalike data based on past user behaviour, AI can predict what audience groups will likely do next.

Angie Tay, EVP and Group COO, TDCX:

Sentiment analytics empowers businesses to track and to react to the emotional state of customers at each stage of their journey. While this is not new, the progress in technologies such as AI is making it easier to detect such emotions in real-time. 

The insight can be used to provide tailored responses to individual customers, such as whether to channel them to automated channels or a human agent. Being aware of whether a customer is enthusiastic about a recent purchase or frustrated due to poor customer service allows for more informed choices, such as determining whether it’s the right time to ask them to leave a review or reach out to make amends. 

A deeper understanding of how sentiment affects loyalty, satisfaction and advocacy scores will be core to business growth strategies in 2024, helping to build brand preference and loyalty.

2. Talent and budget crunch

Simon Stone, GM International at LoopMe:

On the other side of a slow post-pandemic economy, expect to see the focus switching from performance marketing to brand building. Brands are more confident about working with creators and being authentic on social media to deliver content that doesn’t resemble traditional ads.

Ultimately, the main challenge for brands in APAC right now is budget, as the region still tends to get sidelined in terms of global marketing spend. The key to encouraging advertisers to put money back into brand advertising is giving them accountability and showing true ROI.

Angie Tay, EVP and Group COO, TDCX:

The age of having AI as colleagues is dawning upon us. As companies embrace AI, a key question remains – how do they see the role of humans and why is this important? A question that is particularly relevant in CX where it is fundamentally about connecting with customers and keeping them happy.

Think of an anxious customer who needs to visit a sick relative abroad but cannot find an available flight, or an e-commerce business owner who is facing issues with their payment gateway. These are high-tension moments which make or break the brand promise. In such situations, a chatbot will struggle to empathize with the urgency of the situation. Hence, we believe strongly in a human-led collaboration with AI for greater outcomes. 

One of the ways we use AI is to create tailored CX journeys and targeted marketing strategies that are based on comprehensive analysis of customer data.

3. Responsible, ethical, and sustainable practices

Jason Barnes, Chief Revenue Officer, APAC at PubMatic:

Responsible media practices need to be top of the agenda for the media industry across APAC next year. Not only do we need to focus on journalistic integrity, ethical reporting, and squashing misinformation, but we must continue to fight for increased diversity of voices by ensuring that inclusive publications receive their fair share of ad revenue. 

To make this a reality and truly commit to change, brands and agencies must align their buying strategies with their values.

Cutting waste must also be a priority in the coming year, especially as many look to reduce emissions. While close collaboration between buyers and publishers to increase transparency is vital, many are looking towards AI as the magic wand that allows us to do more with less. But we need to be wary of this double-edged sword. 

Yes, AI can provide a massive boost to productivity, but it also increases threats such as misinformation. Caution will be vital to ensuring these tools contribute to a safer open web for consumers, publishers, and brands.