2023’s Hottest Marketing Trends: The Common Ground of Barbie, AI, and Influencers

2023, The Year of Barbie

Let’s reflect for a moment on one of the biggest marketing successes of 2023: the immense success of the movie, Barbie. Leading up to its July release, Barbie’s signature pink color made waves, garnering collaborations with brands like Crocs, Beis luggage, Xbox, and many more. The results of Barbie fever sustained excitement and anticipation for the movie which, according to Fortune, earned a record-breaking $1.4 billion in global ticket sales.

So how did this marketing phenomenon take place? In a nutshell, it’s all about the feeling of nostalgia. According to Time Magazine, more than one billion dolls have been sold since Barbie’s creation in 1959–that’s millions of dolls a year in the hands of millions of children.

According to a study by Frontiers in Psychology, “Nostalgia contributes to emotional regulatory capabilities that may support healthy aging. Among adults, nostalgia provides a safe haven in the face of adversity.” As we mature and the world grapples with ongoing challenges, consumers will gravitate towards acquiring items and seeking experiences that evoke memories of their childhood, providing a sense of security and a rejuvenated sense of youth.

Influencer Marketing Continued Growing Like a Weed

A typical American scrolls through their phone at least five hours a day, according to the “Mobile State of 2022.” In that time, studies show that each person is exposed to 4,000-10,000 ads. That’s a lot of influence, whether we realize we are seeing ads or not. But what about the non-traditional advertisements that come in the form of influencers we love to follow authentically fawning over a newly discovered product or service? A study from Morning Consult shows social media influencers’ recommendations hold the trust of 50% of Millennials, exceeding the level of trust placed in their favorite celebrities, which tops off at 38%.

If you’re curious as to the platform where influencer marketing proves to be the most lucrative for brands, it’s TikTok. According to 2023 statistics from Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok is utilized by 56% of brands that have adopted influencer marketing and is now the most popular influencer marketing channel, jumping ahead of Instagram (51%) for the first time, and well ahead of Facebook (42%) and YouTube (38%).

Is AI Taking Over the World?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has remained a prominent subject in 2023, even growing in popularity. Some of the most notable statistics that came out of 2023’s Influencer Marketing Hub Benchmark Report that shows 61% of marketers have used AI in their marketing activities. But have no fear, because 42% believe that if AI took over in terms of marketing operations, high-level strategy and decision-making tasks would remain in the hands of human marketers.

According to a study by McKinsey, researchers predict that artificial intelligence will generate 133 million new employment opportunities by the year 2030. Even a 2023 Statista report provides stats that show AI has the potential to make work more efficient in the U.S. by changing how we work.

So how do marketers feel about AI? Mailchimp reported 50% of marketers believe inadequate AI adoption is holding them back from achieving their goals and 88% of marketers believe their organization must increase its use of automation and AI to meet customer expectations and stay competitive.

Goodbye 2023, Hello 2024

What lies in store for us in 2024? Marketing professionals, according to Forbes, can expect an uptick in AI when it comes to customer response and engagement. Modern consumers crave instant gratification and communication, and AI is increasing customer satisfaction with virtual assistants. This helps brands engage with their customers in real-time by answering questions and helping guide purchasing decisions.

Short-form videos will continue to reign supreme. With the diminishing attention spans of contemporary audiences, brands are increasingly utilizing brief video formats not only for advertising but also for narrative storytelling, product debuts, and even customer testimonials.