In 2023, it was business as usual for U.K. marketers: another year brimming with change, challenges, and opportunities.
The nation crowned a new king, cheered for a women’s football team in the World Cup final, and embraced a surge in star-studded 90s nostalgia.
Amid these cultural moments — and against a backdrop of technological, economic, and geopolitical change — these are the Think with Google articles that stood out. Our most-read and most commented-on stories highlight the themes that struck a chord with our readers and provide some lessons for 2024.
Inclusive perspectives add value for all
The broader the range of viewpoints and personal experiences within your team or organisation, the more successful the end product will be. This is especially true in marketing. This year, we explored what unique perspectives can bring to the workplace and society, from neurodivergent individuals to Gen Z apprentices.
Raja Saggi, senior director of product marketing at Google U.K., offered his view on being an introvert in an industry that often expects spontaneity and the ability to “work the room”. Raja’s advice for marketers? Embrace change by seeking a broad spectrum of voices, including the quiet ones.
Don’t just tap into big moments: drive them
From Earth Day to International Day of Persons with Disabilities, our features around awareness days this year each underlined how vital the role of marketing is in creating understanding and encouraging behaviours.
In March, coinciding with International Women’s Day, we explored how brands could break down barriers and support the Women’s World Cup. YouTube data, such as watch times for videos with “women’s football” in the title being up 75% year over year, pointed to a pivotal tournament in terms of reach, engagement, and impact.
While the end result was not quite everything England fans wanted, a record 2 billion people tuned into the 2023 tournament, up from 1.12 billion on the previous contest.
Look back to move forward
The majority of our conversations on Think with Google are future-focused, but that doesn’t mean marketers can’t draw valuable lessons from the past.
For a masterclass in leadership, we discovered that Ancient Rome can be a useful, if not unexpected, guide. This perspective came from acclaimed British professor Mary Beard when we asked her what marketing leaders might learn from the way Roman emperors ruled. Mary’s recommendation: to lead effectively, modern marketers must “get their hands dirty in people’s problems” and listen to every individual, just as the emperors did 2,000 years ago.
Act now on AI to gain a competitive edge
One aspect the Romans didn’t grapple with was AI. While marketing and advertising have long embraced automation, 2023 saw an accelerated pace of change, with great thought given to how AI might transform the industry.
In October, we invited three agency executives to share their insights on the strategies, skills, and structures that are and will be essential for success as AI becomes more integral to our working lives. The key takeaway for marketers: act now to stay ahead and amplify your competitive edge.
The future of creativity = humans + machine
Throughout 2023, we saw the emergence of a new era of marketing: one where AI and data are helping marketers do their best work. Far from replacing human creativity, these technologies can — with the right approach — support and enhance it.
Electrical retailer Currys, for example, garnered 40 million views for its YouTube campaign by digging into search data to inform its creative direction and “leave no customer question unanswered”. The campaign also benefited from AI-driven sequenced campaigns, effectively reaching more shoppers at the right moments.
For marketers, 2023 may have posed more questions than it answered. However, this uncertainty might not be a disadvantage in the months ahead. As Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of Ogilvy U.K., emphasised in our interview, why not expand your vision and seek to “ask the questions no one is asking”?