This article is intended to provide a brief overview of some of the latest trends and opportunities in online marketing. While the article focuses on the U.S., the concepts and techniques discussed may also apply to other countries and regions. In particular, the rise of digital nomads and the evolution of virtual assistants may be shaping the future of online marketing and how brands operate.
The Rise Of Digital Nomads
The term digital nomad refers to people who work from place to place, taking on client projects as and when they come their way.
This may mean that they operate from different cities or even different countries. They may use tools like Basecamp or Slack to coordinate their work, keeping in touch with clients and colleagues via email or over-the-phone. After each project is finished, the digital nomad will simply set up shop in another city or country, and begin working on the next one.
These individuals are commonly found in the sharing economy, where the gig economy offers the opportunity to work remotely, for some companies at least. Indeed, many sharing economy companies are structured like Amazon, where employees work remotely and are fortunate enough to be picked up by a van for their daily deliveries. Not so for Shopify, which is a full-service ecommerce platform used by brands and retailers to manage their online stores. While Shopify encourages their employees to work remotely, they may also need to be physically present at the office to help guide customers through an online store or answer customer support questions.
Further, the sharing economy has led to a rise in the nomad worker, someone who may travel the world taking on short-term contracts for international brands. In addition to having a flexible schedule, many virtual assistants work remotely for several global companies, handling customer support, sales, and marketing for designated teams in different time zones. Many virtual assistants work remotely for several global companies, handling customer support, sales, and marketing for designated teams in different time zones.
The Evolution Of Virtual Assistants
Alongside the rise of the digital nomad, the evolution of virtual assistants may also be shaping the future of online marketing and how brands operate. Simply put, a virtual assistant is a person or a software application that acts as a personal assistant to a user. This personal assistant may be structured around one to one or one to multiple support to a user, taking on a variety of tasks such as answering questions, researching topics, setting up meetings, organizing lives and workflows, and providing general administrative support.
While digital nomads and virtual assistants may be helping to reshape how brands operate online, the rise of blockchain and artificial intelligence may also be contributing to the changing nature of marketing online. Blockchain is a distributed ledger that is designed to provide verifiable and irrefutable proof of transactions. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of computer science that relates to machine learning. When AI is used to solve a particular problem, it is referred to as an expert system.
AI and blockchain are being integrated into a variety of marketing and operations approaches, including email marketing, social media marketing, and paid search. For example, email marketing platforms such as Influent and MailChimp have integrated blockchain technology into their platforms to provide additional security for email lists. Additionally, Square is using blockchain to transform the way they handle their customers’ payments. Across these cases, blockchain is being integrated to provide a single source of truth for a brand’s email marketing, social media activity, and online shopping.
Email Marketing Redefines Itself
Email marketing has always been a mainstay of marketing, and as the name would suggest, it continues to evolve to fit new technology and changing platforms. Let’s take a quick look at the major shifts occurring in email marketing and how you can get involved.
1. Personal Branding Is the New Norm
In the not too distant past, every brand’s email marketing would look the same. This brand would have a generic email signature, and they would use it for every email. While there were variations from brand to brand in the prose, the aim was to get an individual’s attention with an attention-grabber title and a desire to know more about the product or service. Because of the increasing number of people who are leaving brand messages in their companies’ wallets after every purchase, personal branding is the new norm. This style of email marketing aims to connect with and impress individuals with a brand’s content, particularly in the context of a conversation.
To demonstrate personal branding, you may want to consider unique subject lines and signature emails. Using an authoritative voice is another great way to impress individuals with your personal brand. For example, if you are writing to discuss a new product or service, you may say so in the subject line and signature.
2. Video Is the New Media
In addition to redefining the role of email as a marketing tool, social media has also impacted the way in which people interact with video content. This is reflected by the amount of time people spend on video content, particularly on YouTube. In 2019, 76.2% of all time on YouTube was spent on video content.
People are also using video for marketing purposes. According to HubSpot Blogs research, video content is increasing in popularity as a lead generation tool, and the majority of marketers (62%) use video content to engage with prospective customers.
Whether it’s a product review, a how-to video, or a brand promotion, video content can work to impress and convert potential customers into paying clients. As with any new technique, however, video is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each video will need to be tailored to the specific audience, purpose, and platform.
3. Content Is King
While personal branding, videos, and email are all formidable in their own right, the most effective marketing strategies may involve multiple platforms and multiple channels. This is because individuals use different platforms and read differently on a variety of devices. This is particularly true of the younger demographics. To gain market share, you may want to create comprehensive strategies to ensure you engage with all of your customers, potential customers, and stakeholders.