Only one thing is certain about the business forecast for 2023: uncertainty. From customer behavior to workplace dynamics, an unpredictable environment will likely persist. But marketing leaders can’t afford to ride out the year without a plan.
Recent research sponsored by Grammarly with market intelligence firm IDC explores how organizations are leveraging technology and AI to bear the challenges of the moment. I predict three areas where marketing leaders will lean into AI to uplevel their teams, increase productivity and drive alignment across marketing channels.
1. Marketers will leverage AI to replace cost-intensive training and deliver the right message
Macroeconomic factors are putting pressure on sales in B2B and B2C organizations. The shift toward millennials in corporate purchasing roles has extended an already lengthy B2B sales cycle. For B2C organizations, inflation has slowed somewhat but remains historically high, putting pressure on consumers to be selective in their spending.
An increasingly discerning audience means marketers must pay attention to the delivery of their message at every touchpoint. Grammarly and IDC’s research found that 74% of executives value professionally written (i.e., clear, concise and tone-aware) business communications, yet a majority (54%) have not taken action to operationalize improvements to communication.
Marketers must train their teams to deliver messages that strike the right tone. Traditional, resource-heavy training programs will be unsustainable in the current macroeconomic environment. Marketers should leverage augmentative solutions that integrate across applications and offer employees real-time guidance as they work. This approach delivers ongoing support rather than one-time courses so employees can apply the learnings in their day-to-day work.
2. Marketing leaders will boost productivity by empowering teams however they work
Research shows the staying power of hybrid work. Grammarly and IDC found that 74% of organizations are making operational changes to accommodate shifting employee preferences and support flexible work.
Teams have more tools available than ever to fuel effective collaboration; however, too much of a good thing can be a problem. The IDC and Grammarly study found that over half (56%) of organizations are concerned they have too many tools. Despite the growing number of tools designed to increase efficiency, productivity is on a historic decline: 2022 marked the first consecutive four-quarter decline in US worker productivity since 1982.
Leaders need to reorient their approach to productivity by replacing outdated “systems and process” mentalities with more agile solutions like AI. For example, real-time communication assistance tools can eliminate the need for multiple reviewers or self-checks to identify brand and tone inconsistencies.
3. Strong cross-functional relationships, supported by technology, will drive marketing performance
Marketing performance relies on strong work relationships across functions, particularly sales and customer experience. Each of these departments has a fundamental role in shaping customers’ journeys through the marketing funnel. However, today’s increasingly fragmented workplace presents a challenge to these relationships.
The mix of hybrid, remote and on-site teams can deteriorate interpersonal relationships and exacerbate cross-functional misalignment. More than two out of five (41%) organizations rated collaboration as a top challenge, in the IDC and Grammarly study. When it comes to collaboration, communication is essential. Marketing leaders must focus on solutions that help teams connect more meaningfully and communicate more clearly.
AI solutions augment human potential by enhancing their abilities rather than replacing them. For example, Grammarly Business integrates across systems and offers real-time writing suggestions to help the communicator improve the clarity of their message and the tone of their delivery. In this way, an individual’s unique voice is maintained, but they can share their ideas more clearly and confidently. When communicators can express their ideas more effectively, the organization is more aligned, which then reflects outward.
The actions today’s leaders take will create the workplace of tomorrow
Marketing leaders have a valuable opportunity right now. Uncertain times can quickly become the proving ground for bold strategies and new solutions. Turning to new technology, such as AI-powered tools, can help leaders succeed amid instability by increasing team confidence and company performance.