Forrester 2023 predictions: Marketers expected to overcorrect to performance marketing again

2023 prediction series warns B2C marketing could swing away from brand building to safe methods due to volatile market conditions, while metaverse interest flags

A doubling down on growth in 2023 in the face of tough economic conditions could result in too many marketing leaders trying to rack up quick performance hits at the expense of building brand equity, Forrester warns.

The analyst firm made the prediction as part of its annual Predictions series, released last week and encompassing a range of marketing, CX and broader market forecasts for 2023.

When it comes to B2C marketing, Forrester said it’s expecting market volatility in 2023 to force marketers to play it safe. As a result, it’s predicting CMOs will ‘overcorrect’, diverting test-and-learn budgets focused on improving brand experiences to performance media channels. At the same time, martech costs are expected to go up, taking up more of the budget.  

In its B2C marketing predictions, Forrester said it expected marketers to be paying up to 20 per cent more for martech in 2023, a direct consequence of increased costs, fundraising struggles and intensifying competition across the marketing technology lumascape.

“Martech vendors across categories will scramble to differentiate — whether through focused functionality such as a customer data platform, mobile-specific solutions, or industry concentration like hospitality or healthcare,” the analyst firm continued. “Vendors in the enterprise marketing suite category are already breaking into specialised segments. With fewer vendors attempting to meet [and message] end-to-end marketing needs, marketers will have an easier time matching solutions to their capability gaps.

“But this comes at a cost: For most buyers, rising licensing fees, a fragmented vendor ecosystem, and more integrations will equate to higher martech expenditures.”

While higher costs are one outcome of a volatile market, another is politics. The analyst group is predicting political as well as economic volatility could see marketers playing down brand values, again in the name of playing it safe.

For Forrester, a shift to ‘anti-woke’ political platforms in the US, as well as crackdowns in the EU around political advertising, could inadvertently impact marketing communications. As a result, it’s predicting most mainstream brands will retreat from public political stances.

“While brands won’t abandon acting on their values, they will be more subtle about it — gone will be the days of vacuous virtue signalling,” Forrester B2C marketing predictions authors, Mike Proulx and Emily Collins, stated. “Procter & Gamble already transposed its marketing purpose statement from ‘Force for Good. Force for Growth’ to ‘Force for Growth. Force for Good’.”  

Metaverse enthusiasm wanes

In addition, Forrester expected brands to step back from the metaverse in favour of more tried and tested channels. For those who do push ahead in the metaverse, the analyst firm expected a pivot away from brand experimentation and superficial ‘one and done’ headline-grabbers towards efforts delivering employee and consumer utility.

“Expect a sober 2023, where the industry focuses on function over form to prove the metaverse’s value to a sceptical potential customer base,” Forrester stated in a second 2023 predictions report on the metaverse and NFTs.

Forrester has already suggested the ‘metaverse’ in its true form doesn’t yet exist. Instead, the analyst firm has claimed what currently exists in market are ‘metaverse precursors’, or standalone immersive platforms.

“The as-yet non-existent metaverse became the ‘next big thing’ in 2021 and 2022. But the end of lockdowns outside of China has reduced consumers’ appetite for spending time in online spaces, and economic headwinds have already exposed the vulnerabilities of a supposed experience revolution that has yet to garner mass consumer interest,” Forrester stated in its Predictions 2023 report.

For example, job ads with ‘metaverse’ in the description between April and June 2022 dropped by 81 per cent. Exacerbating the issue is the fact metaverse players haven’t yet agreed on standards. Despite the Metaverse Standards Forum asking 1500-plus member organisations to vote on what to prioritise in terms of standardisation, none will see a viable standard emerge in 2023 due to a ‘spinternet’ of competing approaches.

“This will inhibit growth,” Forrester stated. “As a result, brands that do want to experiment will lean into large, single platforms such as Meta’s Horizon Worlds or Roblox that offer audience scale and interoperability within their platforms

“As economies slow further in 2023, irrational metaverse exuberance will give way to a focus on core infrastructure, overdue product features, and improving immersive experiences on existing platforms, which will lay the groundwork for the future metaverse.”

Don’t miss out on the wealth of insight and content provided by CMO A/NZ and sign up to our weekly CMO Digest newsletters and information services here.  

You can also follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page


Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

More Brand Posts



CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 9 June

Read more

Great e-commerce article!

Vadim Frost

CMO’s State of CX Leadership 2022 report finds the CX striving to align to business outcomes

Read more

Are you searching something related to Lottery and Lottery App then Agnito Technologies can be a help for you Agnito comes out as a true ...


The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Thorough testing and quality assurance are required for a bug-free Lottery Platform. I'm looking forward to dependability.

Ella Hall

The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Great Sharing thoughts.It is really helps to define marketing strategies. After all good digital marketing plan leads to brand awareness...

Paul F

Driving digital marketing effectiveness

Read more

Blog Posts

Marketing prowess versus the enigma of the metaverse

Flash back to the classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Television-obsessed Mike insists on becoming the first person to be ‘sent by Wonkavision’, dematerialising on one end, pixel by pixel, and materialising in another space. His cinematic dreams are realised thanks to rash decisions as he is shrunken down to fit the digital universe, followed by a trip to the taffy puller to return to normal size.

Liz Miller

VP, Constellation Research

Why Excellent Leadership Begins with Vertical Growth

Why is it there is no shortage of leadership development materials, yet outstanding leadership is so rare? Despite having access to so many leadership principles, tools, systems and processes, why is it so hard to develop and improve as a leader?

Michael Bunting

Author, leadership expert

More than money talks in sports sponsorship

As a nation united by sport, brands are beginning to learn money alone won’t talk without aligned values and action. If recent events with major leagues and their players have shown us anything, it’s the next generation of athletes are standing by what they believe in – and they won’t let their values be superseded by money.

Simone Waugh

Managing Director, Publicis Queensland

Sign in