Ciesco Market Intelligence 18 March 2024

“Decoding the 2024 Marketing: Insights into a Paradox of Optimism and Caution” – Serviceplan for Ciesco


In Ciesco’s 2023 Global M&A Review & 2024 Outlook, Florian Haller, Global CEO of Serviceplan, contributed an editorial that reveals key trends and challenges within marketing in 2024, including the growing influence of AI, emotional branding, and the importance of a balanced skill set for navigating the evolving landscape.


The Guest Editorial by Florian Haller, Serviceplan.

In an era of rapid digital transformation, where the marketing landscape is in constant flux, understanding future trends becomes crucial. The 2024 CMO Barometer, an annual international study between Serviceplan Group and the University of St. Gallen, provides a forecast of the future trends and challenges expected to shape this dynamic field.

While the outlook for 2024 portrays a blend of caution and optimism, the emerging sense of positivity is undeniable. Approximately half of the surveyed CMOs across 11 international markets(1) predict stability in the economic climate, with a hopeful 36% anticipating some degree of improvement. This optimism trickles down to budget planning, with one-third foreseeing a potential budget escalation.

Artificial Intelligence, Emotional Branding, and Content Creation are set to command the marketing agenda in 2024. The rising influence of AI indicates a broader shift towards data-driven strategies. However, the enduring value of emotional resonance in branding underscores the need for a human touch in our increasingly digital world.

The study also reveals an interesting transformation in trend perception. AI has leapt from fifth to first place within a year, replacing sustainability as the trend of the moment. However, the adoption rate of AI varies significantly across countries, reflecting the diverse priorities and marketing cultures worldwide.

Looking at the skillsets essential for successful marketing in 2024, a blend of analytical skills, strategic thinking, and creative innovation tops the list. Yet, the significance of soft skills, such as open-mindedness, cannot be understated. As in-house expertise grows, agencies also need to adapt beyond being mere creative hubs and act as equal partners.

This paradox of optimism and caution underlines the complexity of the challenges ahead, but with the right blend of innovation, adaptability, and vision, I am confident we can navigate these successfully. As Prof. Sven Reinecke from the University of St. Gallen aptly puts it, ‘Marketing excellence = marketing strategy x craft x creativity.’ We must strive for this excellence as we forge a path into the future of marketing.

(1) The study is based on an online survey conducted in September 2023, during which we collected 767 responses from international CMOs and other marketing decision-makers across 11 markets.


Florian, a luminary in the communications industry, has helmed the Serviceplan group for over three decades, taking the reins as CEO in 2002 from Peter Haller, the agency’s founder. Under his leadership, the group has evolved into one of the world’s largest independent agency conglomerates, reporting €740 million in revenue in 2023, and servicing some of the biggest global brands. Florian’s strategic vision has fueled the group’s growth and international expansion to 34 countries. Florian is recognised as one of the industry’s most influential personalities.


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