Home > Marketing > Will humans have to re-write AI’s draft of history? 42 marketing and communications predictions for 2024

Will humans have to re-write AI’s draft of history? 42 marketing and communications predictions for 2024

Some marketing and communications predictions suggest AI will change the world; others see a tailspin of noise and see humanity as a path for differentiation

Most marketing and PR professionals have formed strong viewpoints on AI. That much was apparent as I compiled this year’s list of marketing and communications predictions. Yet, it’s also interesting to note there were quite a few that didn’t mention AI at all.

Against that backdrop, I’ve organized this year’s prediction roundup into the following categories:

  • Predictions that have little or nothing to do with AI;
  • Predictions that express caution about AI;
  • Predictions that are enthusiastic about AI;
  • Predictions from PR software executives; and
  • One prediction from ChatGPT.

There are some caveats to note. First, I wrote all the subheads, as I always do, so if the subhead falls short of your expectations – I own that.

Second, there is no order of merit to the presentation of these predictions. I’ve merely organized them in a way that I think serves readers best.

Third, thank you to all who participated. The thoughtfulness and passion in these predictions are an inspiration.

Onward with this year’s predictions…

 

Predictions that have little or nothing to do with AI: 

 

1. Intestinal fortitude will be required

“GUT and GRIT. With so many shifts in communications platforms and disruption in the economy, politics and social justice, communicators will be calling on their GUT to direct their counsel. There’s no written playbook for navigating the PR challenges likely to arise, and smart marketers and comms pros will trust their judgment and past experiences in guiding strategy and providing counsel.

In addition, this same disruption – led by the 2024 election, the speed of misinformation and continued economic uncertainty – will require a strong measure of GRIT. Great communicators will have the mental toughness and swift ability to pivot that is necessary to respond to this chaotic world and keep PR and marketing on course.

This combination, when successfully executed, will bring firm confidence in and deep respect for the communications function within organizations and in external client service.”

~ Hinda Mitchell, President and Founder, Inspire PR Group

2. Smart SaaS has renewed focus on customer marketing

“As we are currently in an extended macroeconomic downtown, companies will need to continue to focus more on the customer to ensure long-term retention to help bear the weight of new sales slowing down.

While traditionally companies have put more focus on customer acquisition, there is a dire need to no longer neglect retention. To fill this gap, there will be a rise in customer marketing to help customer success and account management teams orchestrate expansion, renewal, and upsell campaigns.

While the playbook for customer marketing is similar to demand-gen, teams will need to create new content and touchpoints focused on the post-sale customer journey.”

~ Cori Webb, Marketing Director, ChurnZero

3. PR still builds trust

“Authentic customer testimonials, peer and employee reviews will increase in importance in 2024. By focusing on building trust, marketing and communications pros will also raise Google search algorithm ranking.

Public relations will be pivotal in elevating trust through promotions of client wins, industry accreditations, awards, analyst remarks and influencer endorsements.

To enhance empathy and connection with their teams and clients, organizations will foster employee brand ambassadors, highlight origin stories, show behind-the-scenes videos, and encourage user-generated content.

As AI becomes ubiquitous in business, human connections, authenticity, trust and empathy will be difference makers.”

~ Grace Platon, Trust, Empathy & Employer Branding, Communicate Grace, LLC

4. Expanded brand collaboration

“Partnership Paradise: 2024 will be the year of brand partnerships. The ‘collabs’ have already started multiplying (think Barbie with just about everyone; Tiffany and Nike; Taco Bell and Doritos or even Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce).

These sometimes-surprising match-ups bring each brand new audiences, new eyeballs and new opportunities to delight old and new customers. As it becomes harder and harder to stand out and gain traction brands will continue to find new ‘cool kids’ to hang with as they navigate the increasingly challenging brand landscape.”

~ Wendy Zajack, Faculty Director & Associate Professor of the Practice, Georgetown University  

5. Startups that kept PR in place in ‘23 will ‘come out of nowhere’ in ‘24

“PR investment by tech startups will bounce back in 2024, especially in the second half.

This year, we saw in-house teams get downsized and agency budgets get reduced. There’s no point in building a reputation if the startup is facing an existential threat. Marketing investment was redirected towards demand generation (content marketing, paid media) as startups looked for deal flow.

As the market lifts, brands will need to raise awareness and will be ready to invest for the longer term as their horizons extend. The brave ones that kept the PR programs at full tilt through the downturn will suddenly ‘come out of nowhere’ and see those investments pay off.

Savvy PR teams will learn the lessons from the recession and still keep an element of their programs oriented towards demand generation so the impact can be felt.

Tactically, we feel data storytelling is going to be a key pillar in 2024 – so now is a good time to build the infrastructure to be able to pull that data, analyze and present it on a regular and timely basis.”

~ Morgan McLintic, CEO, Firebrand Communications

6. Authentic storytelling continued to excel

“For PR, authentic storytelling will continue to excel as consumers seek honest, genuine experiences and solutions.

Social media platforms Bluesky and Threads will continue to become attractive substitutions for X (formerly Twitter).”

~ Marc C. Whitt, Author, ‘PR Lessons Learned Along the Way’

7. Authenticity tops metrics bloat and hope

“The Merriam-Webster word of the year for 2023 is ‘authentic.’ Applied to our craft, authenticity needs to be at the core of a successful marketing and PR playbook for 2024. Without it, customers and partners will lose loyalty to your brand.

Authentically connecting with customers on the problems your product or service is solving. Authentically working with influencers who have actually used your product and share their true thoughts and feelings – even if they aren’t always positive. Authentically representing what your brand is and does, without fluff. Understanding the authentic KPIs over bloat metrics and hope.”

~ Stacey Miller, Vice President, Communications, Auto Care Association

8. Change and opportunity

“A few thoughts:

  • Former reporters/journalists at major media outlets creating their own paid channels.
  • Continued consolidation of media outlets.
  • Return of increased PR budgets.”

~ Jason Brown, PublicCity PR, Principal PublicCity PR

9. High demand for experienced communicators

“Corporate communications professionals will continue to advance into top organizational leadership roles as their unrivaled combination of business strategy and stakeholder insight continues to become more essential. Additionally, we expect flexible and outsourced PR talent, especially at the mid- to senior-level, to be in high demand as the need for highly experienced communicators continues to increase.”

~ Megan Paquin, APR, CPRC, Managing Director, Paquin Public Relations

10. B2B marketing relooks brand marketing and awareness

“The building of an actual pipeline doesn’t start with merely laying the pipe in the ground. There’s a whole lot of work that has to happen before that point – environmental studies, permitting, digging – and many other preparatory steps that are essential to get to the point where you can actually lay the pipe.

Something similar has happened in B2B marketing over the last 20 years. Performance marketing has led the community to this wild notion that B2B marketing should only engage in measurable tactics. That’s like trying to lay down pipe before you’ve even dug a ditch. As a result, every company is using the same set of tactics to chase the same named accounts.

Yet there is only a single-digit percentage of customers in-market at any given moment. So, more companies are chasing fewer in-market customers in B2B and doing so at the expense of brand. In 2024, savvy B2B marketers will better balance their investment to drive both awareness and pipeline.”

~ Frank Strong, Founder & President, Sword and the Script Media, LLC

 

 Predictions that are mostly cautious about AI:

 

11. Two sides of AI in communications

“Two things: first, artificial intelligence (AI) will certainly impact the practice of PR in the coming year. The question is, for good or bad? And the answer is probably a bit of both.

On the positive side, AI can be a helpful tool in terms of generating ideas and headlines. On the downside, we’re seeing an increasing risk of deep fakes; for example, the recent Greta Thunberg ‘vegan grenade’ satire.

To be clear, this is satire, it’s labeled as satire, and though the first few seconds seem somewhat plausible, it quickly becomes obvious that is, indeed, satire. But it’s easy to imagine this technology being used in more subtle but dangerous ways, such as politicians ‘saying’ things that are not totally out of character but more extreme or subversive than anything they would really say.

The second is an increase in ‘pay for play’ publishing. Traditional journalists and publishers still chafe at such practices, but as the economics of publishing become ever more challenging, particularly for niche industry trade publications, editors will increasingly turn to this practice in order to attract advertisers and pay the bills.”

~ Tom Pick, Digital Marketing Consultant, Webbiquity LLC

12. An original difference

“As AI has been all the rage in 2023, I think in 2024, we may see companies experiencing the consequences if they’ve jumped on the AI bandwagon too quickly without giving enough thought to how its use impacts their uniqueness. My hope is that companies will take a step back to consider how focusing on using their unique voice in their PR and marketing efforts will help them stand out from those utilizing generic AI-generated content and pitches. Audiences know the difference. Originality will be more of a differentiator than ever.”

~ Michelle Garrett, PR Consultant and Writer, Garrett Public Relations

13. AI loss of luster

“Two-fold:

AI fatigue is real. The prevalence of AI will increase but best, consumers and journalists will come to expect it, along the lines of having eco-friendly packaging. At worst, it will become the equivalent of saying something is ‘the Uber’ of its industry, causing eye rolls and worse.

The consumer is going to be more educated when it comes to editorial media, including bias and the use of AI. That’s a good thing for most of us.”

~ Bill Byrne, Managing Director, Remedy PR

14. A human difference

“While we’re still relatively early on when it comes to AI adoption, I think 2024 will bring a swing in the other direction: authenticity in marketing and PR.

I see some of this as a reaction to AI-generated content being less nuanced (and nowhere near original) but also because showing some humanity may differentiate a company or organization within its industry, marketplace or the audience’s consciousness.

Apple once had the famous ‘Think Different’ campaign. It’s funny to me that computers actually caused many messages to be the same – provided you gave AI all the exact same prompts.”

~ Scott Kaminski, Senior Marketing Manager, Häfele America Co

15. Re-writing the AI draft

“We’ll spend more time rewriting ChatGPT’s draft press releases, and less time finding relevant topics, reporters… thanks to it as well.”

~ Khaner Walker, Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Syneos Health

16. AI leads reporters to conduct real interviews again

“The growing use of generative AI will force media outlets to be much more careful about how they source and gather input for stories.

Many journalists have gotten used to doing written/email interviews with story sources, but many of the ‘experts’ who respond to calls for sources are simply generating commentary using ChatGPT. PR people and the clients they represent may see a return to the good old phone (or Zoom) interview.

Also, expect reporters to be much more careful about vetting their sources. They will most certainly be using AI plagiarism checkers, so warn your clients not to rely on Chat GPT when they provide input for a story. More than ever, journalists will value thought leaders and subject matter experts with distinct, unique points of view.”

~ Kathy Casciani, Founder, Azul PR + Communications

17. Fake AI content spins out of control

“2024 is the year a deep fake AI-generated video creates a social or political crisis that spins out of control. Deep fakes will spread faster than we can detect them or respond to them, creating a new battleground for PR professionals.”

~ Mark Schaefer, Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions

18. A glut of AI-generated content

“During yet another ‘year of generative AI,’ it’s going to continue to get easier for anyone to write a press release and other press materials. There will be a glut of AI-generated content as well.

The same tools that should make PR pros’ jobs easier will contribute to a barrage of noise from amateurs and spammers. That means you’ll need to rely harder than ever on two very human aspects of your job next year: being strategic about what you’re creating, and deepening the relationships you’ve forged with key contacts.”

~ David Berkowitz, Founder, AI Marketers Guild

19. AI still can’t read the room

“Over-use of AI in PR to become more productive will reveal a credibility gap. I believe that many people in PR might start the year wanting to leverage their time and skills with an over-use of AI and ultimately it will prove to be their downfall and reveal a credibility gap.

Why?

Because whilst AI can help speed up some processes like research; so help us become much more productive, it does not (yet!) have the ability to read the room like humans can. By emotionally being able to ‘read the room,’ which is at the heart of human communication and indeed PR, as it helps for example: PR pro’s discern whether a story idea is suitable to pitch to a publication or not.

And so, I believe that those PR agencies or freelancers who over-use AI like to ‘read the room,’ with a view to becoming more productive will reveal how much less credible they are compared to those who do not do this, so create a credibility gap.”

~ Carrie Eddins, Founder,  The Blondepreneur  

20. Humanity over tech

“Every B2B tech company has been chasing the clicks of performance marketing since the web went mainstream about 20 years ago. They’ve increasingly done so at the expense of investment in any aspect of marketing that’s hard to measure – like brand.

It’s not working anymore because more tech companies are chasing fewer in-market buyers. Consequently, savvy content marketers in B2B will rethink their approach in 2024 in three ways:

  • They will focus on building trust, credibility, and relationships by developing educational content that builds opt-in email subscribers to their content marketing programs.
  • They will favor high-quality content production that’s made for humans and by humans over content produced by generative AI. Generative AI slides down into the proverbial “trough of disillusionment” as content marketers in B2B will come to grips with the fact its regurgitated content merely adds to the “sea of sameness.”
  • They will break open the gates and remove the friction of registration pages – making it easy for customers and prospects to consume and share content.”

~ Frank Strong, Founder & President, Sword and the Script Media, LLC

[Note: this prediction was first published by the Content Marketing Institute: Key Trends in Content Marketing 2024: 67 Predictions]

 

Predictions that are mostly enthusiastic about AI 

 

21. Clear and present AI

“A renewed focus on and commitment to internal communications. Great leaders make clear and transparent communication a top priority. This can start with direct reports, but it should trickle down throughout the entire company. When employees are informed, this leads to trust.

Trust in leaders and the mission/vision of the company plays a big role in an employee’s decision to stay. Leaders have to care about and communicate with their internal team just as much as their external audiences.

More focus on ‘on platform’ content vs. putting off-platform links in content – especially organic content. There’s a lot of opportunity, particularly on LinkedIn, to experiment with creative, educational and interesting content that keeps people on platform.

Moving out of the ‘learning about generative AI’ phase to ‘experimenting with generative AI’ phase – beyond using ChatGPT. Particularly for my fellow agency pros, I see a lot of opportunity for building AI processes into our existing operations and committing to 1-2 tools that will increase our efficiency/productivity/creativity and remove tedious manual work.”

~ Nikki Little, Senior VP, Franco

22. AI changes how we work

“Everyone is going to say generative AI as their prediction for next year – and I agree. It’s the number one thing that is going to affect how we work in 2024 and beyond. Outside of that, though, we’ll continue to see an emphasis on organizations standing up for their values and paving the way for societal and cultural change. This has been the catalyst for many to finally have a seat at the table, and that will continue as business leaders evolve to stand up for their values.”

~ Gini Dietrich, CEO + Founder Arment Dietrich + Spin Sucks

23. Once dominant social channels give rise to niche sites

“In 2024, AI will ‘eat the world,’ to paraphrase Marc Andreessen’s famous prediction about software. But Artificial Intelligence usage will move beyond generative models to predictive intelligence, especially for marketers. AI will enable campaign planning, from segmentation and lead scoring to hyper-personalization and (most impressive to me), churn prediction, which allows for targeted messages to customers at risk of leaving a brand.

The social platform formerly known as Twitter will continue to deteriorate, which means LinkedIn will dominate for B2B marketers and TikTok will be even stronger in the B2C space. Regulatory concerns aside, marketers will increasingly prioritize Gen-Zers and Millennials, and those segments are browsing, gaming, and now, shopping on TikTok. I’m interested to see if another social platform will inherit Twitter’s status as a hub for journalists and a resource for breaking news. So far, no one social network seems up to the task.

In fact, 2024 is shaping up to be the year of new social platforms that serve a specific constituency or purpose, like Media.com, which positions itself as a ‘safe’ network requiring verification and offering reputation management tools for business leaders and celebrities.

A little like TV of old, where the once-dominant broadcast channels gave way to more narrowly targeted cable networks, social platforms will appeal to specialized audiences and those seeking like-minded social communities.

Finally, 2024 also brings another U.S. presidential election, which means misinformation and deepfake advertising will rise, putting pressure on communicators to combat false narratives. The good news is that there will be a crop of new tools to verify content authenticity (our client Copyleaks is one), improve digital monitoring, and spot misinformation. Still – 2024 will be the year for vigilance by brand gatekeepers.”

~ Dorothy Crenshaw, Founder, Crenshaw Communications, a Mod Op agency

24. More AI-generated noise

“It will be an incredibly noisy year. Over-deployment of GenAI will lead to a flood of poorly made marketing and news content that will annoy audiences and drive them toward recognizably human-crafted content.

Still, a few talented visionaries will use GenAI to create the truly novel. In the meantime, the election and all the conflict and derision it brings will dominate the news cycle.

Cleverer, GenAI-enhanced social media bots and convincing deep fakes aimed at interfering with the U.S. presidential election will drive division, sow doubt about source identity and further erode public trust in news. Audiences will prefer brands that communicate stability, unity and calm and that actively avoid being perceived as synthetic.”

~ Ian Lipner, Senior Vice President, Firebrand Communications

25. Brands get tied up in knots talking culture, politics and war

“2023 was a turbulent year for PR as it was for the US and the rest of the world. Bad news dominated the headlines, about wars, and the economy, and there continued to be polarization and mudslinging in politics.

Comms pros directly involved in these areas had to work overtime.  Others had to fight to get attention for their news. Next year, it will continue to be a wild ride, with many of the same things continuing and even escalating, as we approach the US presidential election.

PR people working on less portentous things will need to adjust their playbooks and timelines to accommodate frequent interruptions and just crazy stuff from the campaign trail. Sadly, we are becoming all too familiar with this playbook. Brands and executives will continue to get tied up in knots about taking positions on culture wars, politics and real war.

In tech, we will see good news about crypto again, after a disastrous 2023, opening the door to more spending on PR, and rekindling interest from the media and public. AI will continue to have a profound impact on creative and marketing fields, including PR.

There will be strong media interest, and healthy PR budgets on AI initiatives and product offerings.  But what goes up must come down in the hype cycle – be ready for the inevitable more bad news stories about AI.

In this and other areas of tech, regulators and lawyers will continue to seek justice and implement guardrails. E.g. Epic Games’ successful lawsuit against Google will encourage others in their efforts to reign in big tech.”

~ Bob Geller, President, Fusion PR

26. AI assistance  

“AI will continue to transform public relations as we know, including the transformation of content creation and storytelling. It will enhance brainstorming efforts among teams, as well as suggest new angles and ways to spin a story. While human judgment remains pivotal, AI will be a valuable self-editor as well as suggest fresh perspectives that may be beyond what we would ever think of as humans.”

~ Ayelet Noff, Founder and CEO, SlicedBrand 

27. Human-assisted AI

“AI will play a significant role in content generation, but it won’t be ‘rip and read’ and will still require humans to copyedit.”

~ Mike Mitchell, Fractional Marketing Leader

28. AI goes guerilla

“More AI-generated guerilla marketing tactics.”

~ Devon Dalton, Growth Marketing Manager, Lunio

29. AI expands marketing’s thinking

“In 2024, marketing teams will reorganize around AI-enabled high-throughput marketing workflows that allow marketers to test more ideas, iterate faster, and amplify their best ideas. The AI hype of 2023 will translate into full-out AI adoption as human marketers learn to enjoy their new roles as thinkers and use AI tools to expand their thinking across all of their campaigns and channels.”

~ Dale Bertrand, President, Fire&Spark

30. Proper AI use will drive efficiencies

“I think AI will have a huge impact on marketing this year through video and copy. The waters are still muddy with the way people’s sentiment is towards AI, but I think when in the right hands it can create major efficiencies.”

~ Adam B., Investment Associate/Marketing, Wela Strategies

31. A new balance in The Force

“I believe 2024 will be a year in which marketers will feel a strong tension between balancing upskilling in light of AI and staying close to the fundamentals. As fast as AI is changing and evolving in capability, it’s imperative to continue learning more in that area to stay caught up.

However, the marketing teams that don’t over-index in AI and stay strong in the fundamentals of what most normal people use today will see the most success in 2024.

Being well-versed in AI is a hot commodity and essential. However, it’s like social media was a decade ago. Being good at social during those early years gave some marketers (like myself) a competitive advantage. However, in the long term, being good at marketing fundamentals and having strong creative chops will be what pays off.”

~ Drew Hawkins, Director of Digital Marketing, Womble Bond Dickinson

32. AI as a double-edged sword

“AI has proven to be a double-edged sword though the benefits seem to far outweigh the negatives. We will see more of Snapchats, ChatGPT, et al. Harnessing AI as a tool has become indispensable in the domains of life sciences, health care, engineering, manufacturing, business, finance, cyber security, education and entertainment, so much so that human skills seem redundant in the face of AI control.

What seemed to be fiction until some time ago is now a reality with AI pervading, if not taking over, everyday life. AI-driven tools have become excitingly dynamic for social media, communication, marketing and entertainment domains.

It is not only easy for professionals to handle but even my four-year-old grandson enjoys Snapchat, being rather addicted to it! AI has become increasingly indispensable in the creation of fantasies/special effects, as also for the restoration and preservation of treasured work, hence offering endless possibilities.

The only flip side to AI is that celebrities and people in the public domain are increasingly becoming targets of deep fakes. Guarding their reputation and work also necessitates new patent/ copyright laws in place. The challenges posed to image consultants in managing reputations and firefighting are significantly complex.

As AI is here to stay and is evolving rapidly, the need of the hour is to expand the scope of law for protecting people, not only those in the public domain but also the common man from every walk of life against invasion of privacy, revenge scandals and frauds. 2024 will surely be witness to the unfolding and impacting of diverse aspects of AI in everyday lives.”

~ Prof. Maya Chakravarti V, PR Practitioner & Educationist, IKON PR

33. Marketing and PR are dominated by AI

“In 2024, the marketing and PR landscape will be dominated by AI-driven strategies. We’ll see entry-level roles evolve beyond manual tasks, focusing more on AI prompt engineering and content creation for unique brand needs. Google’s new AI-driven search will elevate the importance of genuine thought leadership and first-hand insights. This will lead to a surge in influencer marketing, especially with micro-influencers, as they drive authentic engagement. Ultimately, both PR and marketing pros are going to have to lean into AI to remain both relevant and competitive.”

~ Shalon Kerr, Founder, PR-it

 

 Predictions from PR software company executives

 

34. AI becomes the norm

“If you aren’t using AI in some capacity, then you’re behind the curve. 2023 marked the year for early AI adopters and 2024 is the year the majority steps in and starts leveraging AI tools. Leveraging AI will become the norm and those who aren’t using it in some capacity will fall behind.”

~ Jered Martin, Co-Founder & COO, OnePitch

35. AI adoption accelerates

“In 2024, the Public Relations (PR) industry is going to accelerate its use and integration of AI for in many aspects of the profession. AI-driven solutions are blossoming, and they will only accelerate their utility and effectiveness in 2024. Technological tools will increasingly drive leaps in productivity, allowing PR professionals to focus on more strategic goals and creative efforts.

Simultaneously, our profession will continue to face budget pressures – surprisingly harsh measures for an economy not in a recession. PR agencies and PR departments will be compelled to deliver more with less. This financial squeeze will only increase pressures to embrace cost-effective AI solutions.

This rapid AI adoption will prompt the industry to prioritize upskilling and retraining talent to work hand-in-hand with the new technologies.

Amidst these changes, the PR industry will continue its march to using data and analytics in new, innovative ways. The increased availability and sophistication of analytical tools will enable PR practitioners to dive deeper into influencer behaviors, sentiment trends, and campaign metrics. Leveraging this analysis will help them make more informed decisions, optimize strategies in real-time, and demonstrate the tangible impact of PR efforts to stakeholders like never before.”

~ Eric Koefoot, President & CEO, PublicRelay

36. AI in PR is here to stay

“It seems all we’ve been hearing about this year is AI this and AI that. What we’ve forgotten is that nearly everyone uses AI in some form daily – and has for a couple of decades. Remember when Google Autocomplete began helping you complete your searches? That’s an AI application.

This is not to say integrating newer artificial intelligence, large language models, and machine learning into our workflows isn’t important – it is. Like Burrelles, most media monitoring companies already built some form of AI into their systems. This past year, we saw the addition of numerous generative AI integrations into media outreach tools, and I think that’s only the beginning.

Where we end up is anyone’s guess, but as we all look to implement more AI-related time-saving tools in PR, media relations, email, content and communications, it’s a sure bet that AI in PR is here to stay.”

~ Tressa Robbins, Customer Onboarding VP / Content & Social Media Manager, Burrelles

37. Verifying veracity

“Now that information can be AI-generated without proper oversight or labeling, the ability to verify the legitimacy of a journalist or outlet will only become more critical to ensuring transparency and truth in journalism and content creation. We may see more companies emerge in 2024 on a mission to provide the verification and journalist forum Twitter once offered.”

~ Gregory Galant, cofounder and CEO, Muck Rack

38. AI takes out the grunt work

“Generative AI has already changed the face of PR, enabling communicators to save a tremendous amount of time in finding the right journalists and creating content. However, going into next year, this technology will also change the way crisis communication and reputation management is done.

PR professionals will have more tools at their disposal to understand what the public’s perception of their organizations are and mitigate reputational crises before they happen. If a crisis does occur, genAI tools will enable these communicators to both effectively defend their organizations by understanding the ‘detractor’ coverage and journalists, as well as the ‘promoter’ coverage and journalists.

Technology will allow PR pros to go on the offensive in restoring public confidence in them by taking proactive action vis-a-vis both the detractors and promoters. In addition, by taking out a lot of the grunt work required in reputation management, genAI will enable people in crisis comms to focus more time on strategizing, ultimately leading to better outcomes for their organizations.”

~ Zach Cutler, Co-Founder, CEO & Chairman, Propel PRM

39. Next comes AI policies and training

“In 2024, the next phase of AI adoption will take center stage as PR & comms pros begin to implement the policies, training and infrastructure needed to securely embrace the use of generative AI.

To ensure the ethical use of this technology, communicators and organizations will increasingly establish controls including safe use policies, AI oversight committees and budget and procurement guidelines.

With these guardrails in place, PR pros will gain a more solid foothold on the technology in the coming year, and increased exploration of these tools will occur across the industry.

We’re still in the early stages of AI adoption, as we’re only beginning to understand its power to change how we work. However, as we have seen how this technology can change workflows over the past year, we will see exponential rates of innovation and experimentation – with the proper guidelines in place – from this point forward.”

~ Jeff Stacey, Head of PR Product Management & Strategy, Notified

40. Building trust becomes more important

“Anticipate a significant surge in the adoption of AI detection software within news publications and journalism in the coming year. The sophistication and human-like qualities of videos, images, and content are progressing rapidly.

Notably, there is a growing concern as we encounter videos featuring celebrities and politicians that blur the lines between authenticity and manipulation, making it increasingly challenging to discern what is genuine. This emerging trend poses worrisome implications for journalists, PR professionals, and publishers alike.

How public relations & marketing professionals build trust with journalists will be even more important. The landscape resembles the drastic issues faced by Google search this year, where mass-generated AI content spun up on niche websites flooded the search results which prompted a rollback to pre-AI which gave more authority to publications that are very well known.”

~ Alison Lancaster, CEO, Pressat

41. Truly assisted by AI

“While many PR software providers have raced to embed generative AI into their platforms, I think a lot of them are repeating past mistakes.

For example, when PR software tools added the capacity to send emails 20 years ago, they designed the products as if PR professionals would switch. In other words, you had to stop using Gmail or Outlook and instead start sending emails through their systems.

But when you got into the UI, it was a tiny little box rather than a full page of word processor. And they lacked basic editing formats – fonts, bold, bullets, etc. If you copied-and-pasted text from Word, the formatting would be all jacked up and you’d have to fix it. And so adoption lagged.

They are doing the same thing with generative AI. To use their generative AI, you have to give up the tools you like to work in. You have to give up Word, or Docs. You have to stop using Outlook or Gmail. Any executive who’s been in the space for more than a year knows selling software to PR people is hard enough with engineering sales objections to your product.

The word “disruption” does not have the same effect on prospective customers that it does on investors. Technology that sells works how we work. It’s integrated into our way of doing things – rather than trying for a habit change.

As I type these words, I’m typing in Microsoft Word. There’s a little plugin for Grammarly in the top right corner of my screen checking for typos as I go, and that’s a better way to solve the problem. When Microsoft adds ChatGPT to Word – and I bet they do it seamlessly in 2024 – it will all but eliminate any competitive advantage PR software providers think they have with generative AI for composition.”

~ Frank Strong, Founder & President, Sword and the Script Media, LLC

 

A prediction from ChatGPT 

 

42. B2B marketing and PR will continue to evolve

“In 2024, B2B marketing and PR will continue to evolve rapidly, with an increased emphasis on data-driven decision-making and personalized customer experiences. The integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning into marketing strategies will enable more sophisticated targeting and automation, allowing professionals to optimize campaigns in real-time. Furthermore, the growing importance of sustainability and social responsibility will drive companies to authentically communicate their values, fostering stronger connections with customers and partners.”

~ ChatGPT by OpenAI

[Prompt: You are a veteran B2b marketing and PR executive with 20 years of experience. Write a 2-4 sentence prediction for marketing and PR in 2024.]

(click image for higher resolution)

* * *

Thank you for reading. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season.

10 year’s worth of prediction posts on Sword and the Script:

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A quick look back at 18 PR statistics summarizing the profession in 2023

Image credit: DALL-E

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Pitching media remains a challenge; Twitter is still a journalist favorite; PR dabbled with generative AI as businesses worried about...

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