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  • starr261


When tasked with writing about the future of advertising this year, my first reaction was “what else could we possibly see that is new?” There are TikToks for brands everywhere, all the time. Every streaming service has tiered plans with ads now. And I am convinced my phone is listening to me so well that I could merely mention a brand name in passing and the next time I go online, I’ll see it. It feels like we are so deep in the throws of the Information Age that it is almost…too much information. We are inundated with advertising at every turn. So how are companies, small businesses, or entrepreneurs supposed to sift through all the noise? What will this year look like in terms of real successful marketing?

I think we are going to see a lot more grassroots, localized, and focused efforts from marketers. Consumers need to see something different and specialized that truly grabs their attention, instead of just another distraction.

Less curated and more authentic-looking content

The age of the mega-influencer is coming to an end. As Gen-Z grows up and their personality takes shape, we see that these young people don’t want to feel talked down to. They see through the #BrandAmbassador B.S. Ironically enough, I think they have this in common with older generations like Gen-X and Boomers, too. These consumers are increasingly turning towards “micro-influencers” for content and entertainment - and no, I don’t necessarily think they know what they’re called. But the advertising industry sure does. Micro-influencers have a much smaller following, usually don’t create content as their full-time job or only source of income, and just generally feel much more relatable. This authenticity will be what companies need to tap into this year. Marketing dollars will go much further if they are put towards voices that may seem smaller, but have a much more reliable (and measurable) impact.

Hyper-targeted digital content

Don’t think your Facebook ads are going away just yet - digital will still hold a big piece of the pie this year. But instead of generic ads, I think there will be a shift towards pulling more people in geographically. Advertisers will use historic location information based on your unique devices to show you ads that are relevant to where you go. This is called geo-fencing, and even though it sounds Big Brother-y, I think it actually will benefit consumers on the whole. By targeting people who frequent a certain shopping center or consistently connect to the same Starbucks wifi network, businesses can actually reach those who would be readily able to visit them. Instead of sending money into the void and not knowing who exactly your ads are being shown to, smaller companies can focus their budgets on the exact zip codes they work in.

Bigger push for corporate social responsibility

Large corporations like Patagonia, Nike, and Johnson & Johnson have been signposting an internal push for CSR since 2020. Patagonia is fighting against climate change, Nike has taken serious and financially backed stands on social issues, and J&J is doing groundbreaking research on renewable energy. Now, a few years in, I think the push will begin to trickle down to small businesses. As I predict localized marketing efforts will dominate the new year, businesses will need to prove that they actually care about the communities they are in. In turn, this will establish brand loyalty and build meaningful relationships with consumers that trust them enough to give them their business.

This year will be an exciting one, and I suspect more trends along these lines will quickly make their way into our industry. When they do, you can read about them right here at


Starr Courakos

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