Marketers Won’t Have It Easy in 2024. But When Do They Ever?


Should you need proof of the pressures marketers are under these days, consider the example of Solo Stove. In November, this maker of sleek, aluminum firepits announced that it had signed Snoop Dogg as an endorser.

In a spot that dropped just before the holiday season, the éminence grise of hip-hop—who’s known for firing up a spliff now and again—announced that he was “giving up smoke.” Snoop was referring to the Solo’s smokeless stove, but since millions thought the man was giving up grass, the video went viral overnight.

A big marketing win, right? Well, not exactly. Granted, that 30 seconds of Snoop generated $44 million in earned media coverage and a 500% surge in organic searches for the Solo Stove brand. But because the spot “did not lead to the sales lift that we had planned,” as CFO Andrea Tarbox announced earlier this month, CEO John Merris is out of a job.

Welcome to 2024, when the expectation that advertising produce immediate financial results joins a list of challenges that marketers will be facing, including a fractious social climate and the mixed blessings of AI.

The swift retribution at Solo Stove is a sign that CMOs are not only expected to butter the company bread, but also do it quickly—preferably by the next quarter. The demands of Wall Street on public companies join with similar fist pounding from private-equity owners of private ones, and “that’s why so many [CMOs] turn to tactics as opposed to strategy,” observed Chris Kocek, founder and CEO of Gallant Branding.

The problem with these pressures in 2024 and beyond, of course, is that CMOs will find it ever more difficult to think about a brand’s viability in the long run.

“The increasing focus on short-termism as how we measure a marketer’s effectiveness is not only myopic, it’s a recipe for ultimate disaster because relationship building [with consumers] takes time,” said CMO adviser Lola Bakare. In the case of Solo and Snoop, she added, “Signing up for a projected sales lift due to this one spot is where the mistake was made. That’s not how it works. Commitment and conviction are what it takes to build brand relationships that pay off over time.”

The changing CMO role

Accountability for short-term gains isn’t the only way the CMO’s job is changing. Adweek’s own research has already charted the emergence of the “Great CMO,” a kind of super marketer who joins forces with the CEO or CTO. When they do, marketers can achieve double the revenue growth and nine times more customer satisfaction. So as performance demands increase in the coming year, it’s a safe bet that CMO collaboration will increase along with it.

Fortunately, CMOs will at least have more resources to work with. With monetary prognosticators feeling good about the economy this year—Goldman Sachs expects consumption growth to be just shy of 2% and disposable income to rise by 3%—advertising budgets are also warming up.

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