2023 Digital Marketing, Design, and Public Relations Trend Forecast

Jan 11, 2023

New year, new trends. As we enter a new year, our team is expeditiously working to identify new trends in digital marketing, graphic design, and public relations to deliver extraordinary value to our clients ad their programs. To be successful, we have to keep our fingers on the pulse and continue generating bold ideas that are on the cusp of the latest trends and research in our field.

Our three departments worked in unison to unlock the 2023 ideas that would wow our clients:

Digital Marketing

1. Zero-Party Data & Form Building

Ain’t no party like a … zero-party? Everyone is familiar with the terms first-party, second-party, and even third-party data — but what does zero-party mean, and what does it have to do with digital marketing?

Zero-party data is information from customers they voluntarily and deliberately share with you. It can be acquired through quizzes/polls, website activity, customer profiles, customer messages, and others. It can then be used to build personalized and specific product suggestions, interactive experiences, and targeted marketing for each customer at scale. This provides large opportunities for marketing agencies to help brands develop their audience database and collect the most valuable data available to businesses.

However, Apple is leading the charge to increase device privacy and reduce the amount of third-party data that can be used for targeted digital advertising campaigns. As a result, in 2023, it will become essential for brands to procure and utilize their customer data by collecting and utilizing zero-party data. This process allows for more personalized digital marketing and acts as a failsafe in a digital world, allowing less audience targeting information.

How can you start collecting? Building sophisticated contact forms on your website or app is the first step. These intuitive tools will allow you to gather valuable audience insights and information which can be used for targeting in digital marketing campaigns.

2. Voice Search & SEO Optimization

“Hey, Siri, what is voice search?”

Everyone is familiar with voice search. Whether we are talking to Siri or Alexa, this technology is changing the way consumers search for products and services. Google reports that 27% of the global population will use voice search on mobile devices in 2022, which will only increase in 2023. Research from PwC says that 61% of those aged 25–64 who already use a voice device intend to use it more in the future.

Tequila brand Patròn is an example of a company that’s seen massive success from tapping into this trend. Smart speaker users can ask their digital assistant to “ask Patròn for a cocktail recipe.” This helps increase brand awareness and visibility and enables users to buy the product directly from the recipe results.

So, how can you optimize your website for voice search? Use more extended, more conversational phrases on your website and try to answer questions directly. Combining these search engine optimization tactics can help make your website more visible to voice searches. This has the bonus of making your content more likely to be picked up as a featured snippet or found at position zero on Google.

Graphic Design

3. Inclusive Visuals

The importance of inclusive visuals continues to be at the forefront of 2023 design. From representation to accessibility, consumers are seeking brands that value diverse experiences. Inclusive visuals encompass all shapes and body sizes, skin colour, hair style and texture, clothing styles, expressions and emotions, and people who require additional accessibility support, to name a few. These visuals can be represented in many ways, such as illustration-based design, photography, and abstract shapes used to represent people. Another important aspect is ensuring brands are hiring a diverse marketing team who can share their stories authentically. Illustrator and artist Thaddeus Coats, is capturing diverse narratives through luminous and thought-provoking graphics in innovative ways to amplify Black voices. By placing diverse representation and optimism at the forefront of his work, Coates shows his viewers that they, too, belong in all facets of art.” Coates has recently worked with Kellogg’s on a cereal campaign and new characters for the Cartoon Network.

Colour is an essential part of a design that has the power to amplify a brand’s recognition, but its impact is only as strong as how people perceive the colour. Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) affects 4.5% of the world’s population, and Adobe has developed a tool for designers to ensure their colour selection is accessible and impactful for everyone. The Contrast Checker and Colour Blind Safe tool is one tool the Blue Door design team utilizes to select an accessible colour palette in which the colours are different enough from each other and have high contrast when used together. When a colour palette has little differentiation, a very colourful graphic can look monochromatic to others. 

Our team is constantly researching new tools and training material to guide Blue Door design methodologies and approaches to deliver inclusive design systems. Here are a few examples of additional resources and tools that have been useful for our team:

4. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) has changed how consumers shop online, engage on social media platforms, and appreciate art. We are only scraping the surface of AR’s capabilities. According to Market Research Future, the AR Market is projected to reach 461.25 billion USD by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.50%. 

With the spike in online shopping behaviour, AR has played a large role in bridging the gap between seeing the item online and how it would fit into the purchaser’s everyday life. According to Google's 2019 AR Survey, “66% of people are interested in using AR for help when making purchasing decisions.” Ikea has launched a "Preview" feature on its app that allows customers to virtually place furniture in their homes and visualize its scalability before making a large purchase. As Blue Door continues to develop e-commerce websites, we must consider the shopper’s virtual interaction with the product, such as including 3D product renderings and interactive spaces.

We are familiar with social media filters, but brands and creators are taking the concept to a new level utilizing AR. Miami-based artist Morel Doucet and digital artist Isabelle Udo developed an immersive learning installation about climate change utilizing AR filters. The content creator and photographer David Suh visited the installation during Art Basel 2022 and documented his experience with the immersive world in which the filter turns a flat mural into a 3D space. Tetragrammaton is another creator who uses filters to bring life to his artwork. A still painting becomes animated simply by looking through your phone camera when the filter is activated. Blue Door can incorporate this concept to add a new dimension to client events, influencer campaigns, and out-of-home advertising.

From a brand perspective, AR filters are affordable investments that lead to brand loyalty and higher engagement. Brands like Nike, Gucci, and Coach are great examples of successfully developing branded filters which will continue to be a trend in 2023.

Public Relations

5. Be Real About Social Responsibility

Nearly three years after a new wave of mass mobilization in bringing awareness to systematic social and racial justice issues, we're still working towards brands paying more than lip service to representation, EDI, and corporate social responsibility. Representation shouldn’t be a trend, it should be intrinsic to every brand’s ethos, purpose, and values. But, until it becomes ingrained without force, representation will continue to be one. 

In 2023, we can expect consumers to put even more pressure on brands to move beyond “listening and learning” and make real changes to their policies and brand purpose. Consumers want to know the brands they engage with are good corporate citizens, and being authentic and inclusive is the fastest way to build the trust required for that to happen.

Experts agree that DEI directly impacts sales and employee retention and drives better results and innovation. As marketers, our role is to ensure our clients are representative and inclusive at every touchpoint and keep them accountable for their commitments.

At Blue Door, we continue educating ourselves and our clients on being socially responsible. We’ve worked with our clients to ensure representation in advertising and collaborations with various partners, and developed integrated programs to drive awareness of DEI-focused programs.

6. There's A New Search Engine In Town

TikTok continues to dominate the social media app world. According to Bloomberg, the average TikTok user spends just shy of 30 hours per month versus eight hours on Instagram. When the app first appeared, it served as a way for Gen Z to share their lives, bring attention to social justice issues, and share beauty tips and tricks. Six years after its launch, TikTok is quickly surpassing Instagram as the social media platform (resulting in Instagram prioritizing videos to much backlash). It is set to become the go-to Search Engine in 2023. 

The New York Times says that due to the interactive nature of TikTok, searching for things such as the best travel destination or the best face cream becomes more enjoyable for the user. And, they are getting authentic assessments and reviews, which is very un-Google-like. Beyond products and destinations, Gen Z’ers are also looking to TikTok to learn how things work and explain what things mean. With short attention spans and an expectation for instant gratification among Gen Z, it is no wonder the video-based platform is becoming the go-to destination for the answers to everything for them. 

Tik Tok is a platform we continue to recommend to Blue Door clients to meet and speak to audiences where they are. We have built campaigns specifically around Tik Tok because of its reach potential and still relatively cost-per-contact. Even internally, the teams use Tik Tok to stay on top of current and emerging trends, keeping us in the know in real-time.

As brand managers and marketers, it is important to take note of Tik Tok-as-a-search-engine emerging trends as we develop our engagement plans. The stability and comfort of Instagram can often make brands hesitant to execute campaigns on a still-young TikTok. But the sophistication of TikTok creators and the increasing use of the platform as a search engine are indicators that the social media platform is where brands need to be if they want to stay top-of-mind and relevant among the most influential consumer generation.

Our team will use these trends, and others, to stress-test all our work for our clients to ensure our work is consistently optimized for success. Have questions about these trends? Reach our team today at hello@bluedoor.agency to set up a call.

Download our capabilities deck here.