2024: The Year to Empower Your Audience to Find You

By Ben Abraham, Senior Director

At The Hatcher Group, we strive to be top-notch investigators, advocates, and changemakers. Purpose powers all our work, and this attribute is strengthened by deeply understanding not only our clients’ needs, but also the needs of the audiences they serve. We cannot live up to our firm’s values if we’re not on the cutting edge of trends and market behaviors that influence how we ideate, craft, message, and distribute our work. 2023 has been a big year of transformation, and we have seen exceptional confluence of such change in marketing and communications specifically. Here are a few of the waves that we’re riding into the new year to aid clients in reaching their audiences with hunger and curiosity.

Everything Is a Search Engine

In 2024, app usage on smartphones is expected to increase by 22%. The way that we interact with these small rectangular computers in our pockets has evolved over time. We no longer see phones as just communication devices, but as learning machines. Traditional search engines can be found in our physical environments; on our digital devices; and, more recently, across our social media applications. Search engine optimization (SEO)  now incorporates a social lens as audiences use Instagram, TikTok, and Reddit to find exactly what they’re looking for. For example, when I searched for “nonprofit advocacy” on Instagram, one of the first results was a campaign from ItGetsBetter.Org, which currently has more than 150,000 followers. By optimizing their social content through SEO best practices, they increase their visibility, expand their reach, and get their advocacy-based messaging in front of more supporters who will potentially align with their causes.

Conversational Marketing Is on the Rise

Marketing and strategic communications are a two-way street. Not only do we want audiences to receive our message, but we also want them to find meaning in our message and act as a result. Regardless of what stage they are in of the consumer journey, a win can often look like an interaction. Think of chatbots, for example. These tools allow companies to engage their audience in an authentic manner without keeping traditional channels such as phone lines or email inboxes open 24/7/365. Purpose-driven companies and nonprofits often use conversational flows as their superpower to raise awareness for their causes and allow for personal outreach at scale. Today, these conversational flows are used more frequently—and they have higher open rates. In comparison to email marketing, an SMS message garners double the response rate of a traditional email marketing push.

Lo-Fi Content Is Very Relatable

Have you ever been  listening to a podcast or scanning through your social media feed and found yourself drawn in by a piece of art and copy—only to realize about halfway through that you’re actually consuming an ad? That’s the power of low-fidelity content. Companies no longer need a $50,000 Sony VENICE 2 camera with 8K resolution to film content that converts. In fact, 44% of marketers use an iPhone as their primary camera to create video content. The famous “Shot on iPhone” campaign has taught us that not only does everyone have a story to tell, but also that current  and target audience members are more than just content consumers; they are content creators and content advocates as well.

At the end of the day, our clients have important messages to share, and we as their partners have a responsibility to effectively reach their target audiences. As we move into 2024, let’s focus on implementing these aforementioned trends in smart, strategic ways to boost our clients’ audience engagement. Along with following tactical recommendations, we should continue crafting relatable content that draws people in rather than pushes them away. This will ultimately lead to a promise of greater audience empowerment and impact for the clients we serve.