What will be the pre-eminent tech trends for 2023 – and how are marketers going to respond? / Marvin Meyer
Tech – particularly within certain sectors – is often written off as among the first things to be cut from consumers’ budgets in the face of a recession. It’s no surprise that, heading into 2023 and the significant increase in consumer-facing prices, that some tech providers are adjusting their plans to accommodate that fact.
Annika Bizon is marketing and omnichannel director at Samsung UK and Ireland. She says: “Looking ahead, we cannot think about marketing trends for next year without considering the wider economic backdrop. Campaigns in the coming year will have to work harder than ever before, with clear metrics underpinning a strategy for delivering a return on investment. Critical to delivering on these will be making genuine connections with customers so that they get a more authentic understanding of what a business stands for.”
Despite that, marketers’ newfound focus on community is paradoxically increasing their own spend on tech. Buoyed by their resilience during the pandemic, marketers are investing in their own tech stacks to see them through the bext few years of uncertainty.
Sujith Abraham, senior vice president and general manager at Salesforce, explains: “The current economic uncertainty has cast a dark long shadow over companies’ business outlook for the year ahead. Yet while 74% of CEOs expect economic conditions to worsen in the short term, 83% of CEOs express confidence in the resilience of their companies to withstand economic jolts.
“This confidence may have stemmed from their trust in their technology investments. Just like how automation and cloud technology has helped them to pivot quickly and come out stronger during the pandemic, they are applying the same lessons to this new phase of global uncertainty.”
It speaks to the need for marketers to maintain investment into catering to consumer expectations, even as purchases potentially slow down. To that end, brands are also expecting to see a rise in alternative payment options: 46% of consumers are currently making a payment via a Buy Now Pay Later scheme, according to research from event discovery platform Skiddle. In 2023 expect more flexible payment options to come into effect – for better and worse.
2023 will likely see many new iterations on existing consumer technology. While VR has yet to set the world alight, with only a few million headsets sold in total, investment in new versions of headsets is set to continue. Sony, for instance, is set to release the PSVR2 in February, while HTC is set to take on the Meta Quest 2 with a new lightweight headset.
Similarly, with the metaverse and web3 having been in an experimental phase throughout 2022, we will see further brand experimentation within those spaces – though most will be on familiar platforms like Roblox. Despite that, 2023 will more-than-likely see the deployment of more branded NFTs that add utility to tokens.
AI will also continue to develop, with creative tools like Stable Diffusion and ChatGTP becoming much more widely available to consumers.
TikTok’s growth has continued unabated throughout 2022, and the shortform video platform is undoubtedly set to grow further in 2023 (bar a potential ban in the US). Much of the predicted rise of the platform’s commerce play is predicated on its creator economy. Its 2023 Trends report states: “In 2023, knowing the platform’s storytelling culture and how users best consume TikTok content will be key to create content that inspires an off-platform action.”
In other words, while the influencer economy seems to have taken a back seat in much of the industry, the role of the influencer is still at the heart of many platforms’ revenue strategies. “Among people who took an off-platform action as a result of a TikTok, 72% say they obtained reviews from Creators they trust on TikTok, more than any other platform”.
We also saw this with larger publishers, particularly around tech ecommerce. Simon Rawle, ecommerce director of retail at Future Publishing, states: “Our data shows that consumers are more willing than ever to consider lesser known brands in order to save money. We add value in this scenario by testing products at a wide range of price points, helping shoppers to see beyond a discount and identify which deals offer true value. This combination of editorial and tech underpins the value that we add to both consumers and retailers during key shopping periods.”
Sprout Social’s senior market research manager, Mike Blight, also argues that social media success for brands is less about broadcast and far more about communication: “What we’ve learned in the past year is that success on social isn’t about the platform – it’s about authenticity.
“People crave genuine stories that can spark new ideas and foster creativity rather than direct selling points. Whether taking a people-first approach to native content or tapping into creators to share their personal experiences with brands, creating an authentic story should be the clear north star for brands as they navigate the future of social media.”
Beyond social media, 2023 will see a renewed focus among using tech that empowers community. It is the natural endpoint of the focus on authenticity among brands over the past few years.
It is that focus on community that is spurring the development of new tech platforms and tools. Reddit’s general manager Laurelle Potter notes that community is at the heart of that platforms’ priorities for 2023: “We see that fan communities is a space that’s ripe for growth, in almost every market. I’ll give you an example – when Love Island was happening, during the hour or two of the episode they had a discussion thread, where almost 75,000 people came together in real time to discuss the show in real, real moments, and then a post discussion thread. That’s a really great use case of Reddit providing community belonging and empowerment over something people are quite passionate about.”
As a result platforms like Discord are attempting to make the most of tech-enabled community. Swipeback co-founder Nikhil Roy explains: “People are fed up with the highly-curated aesthetic of Instagram and even TikTok. I think people are just looking for the next thing. They’re looking for some honest conversations, to be a bit looser with their relationships with brands.”
Bizon further explains: “This year alone, we’ve seen a stronger sense of community forming around, and inspired by, brands, which in turn is altering their behaviour and deepening interactions with their customers. This is something we’re really focused on at Samsung UK – asking ourselves how we talk and act differently to engage with a younger audience”.
2023, then, will see tech companies and the marketers that work on their behalf adjusting to a harsher market. In the face of likely slowing propensity to pay for consumer tech, those brands will focus on speaking to communities in order to create long-term relationships that will outlast the cost of living crisis.
| The Drum