17 February 2016

A Glimpse Of The Future Of Internet Marketing


Welcome, once again, to our Internet Income Course. This is lesson fifteen aimed at bringing out the ins and outs of starting and running a profitable online business in today's fluid global market by breaking down important principles using simple English. Course author, George Little, continues to reveal tips, real-world advice, and in-depth, step-by-step instructions on setting up your Internet-based business. Read the 14th lesson here.

In Lesson 3, we enumerated the five main goals of Internet traffic building.

In Lessons 4-14, we provided a brief overview of each of the five goals. In this lesson, we will take a brief glimpse into the future of the Internet and Internet Marketing.

We spent much time in the original Internet Income Course searching the past and present for principles of Internet Marketing that have withstood the test of time. We can also look, though, at those trends arising anew in the present that appear suited for our present and future needs. In this lesson, we will look at the relationship between lasting principles and rising trends, with an eye toward the future.

Lasting Principles vs. Trends

We have emphasized in this course the importance of identifying and understanding the lasting principles of Internet Marketing. Employing lasting principles gives you a solid foundation. Real success may also depend, however, on an ability to look to the future and see what new concepts and principles may be on the horizon.

The lasting principles we have discussed were at one time a new idea. At some point in time, they were just new trends. They were trends that took hold and eventually passed the test of time. Internet Marketers need to keep their eye on new trends as they arise, hopefully identifying early those trends that will become the lasting principles of the future. This ability, if we can acquire it, will give us a leg up on the competition.

Whenever you read about Internet Marketing, you should make two lists in your mind. One list records the known, lasting principles discussed in the article. The other list records any new trend mentioned that is worthy of consideration. Writers will not always sort these out for you. Even worse, some writers will deliberately confuse them in an attempt to impress you. Often an old concept is given a new name. The writer may want to make you think he or she is revealing something new (and they may even believe that they are), when, in fact, the writer is just rehashing an old concept.

Many of the recent articles on Internet Marketing are little more than taking old concepts and giving them new names. Here's an example. For well over a decade, everyone writing about Internet Marketing has acknowledged that "Content is King." Most everyone has also advised that the backbone of your content needs to have lasting value. That is, rather than only covering some currently trending event or idea that will be soon forgotten, the content must also include subjects of lasting interest. There is a new buzzword over the last couple of years to describe this content of lasting value--"Evergreen Content."

"Evergreen Content" is a nice phrase. I like it. The rising use of that term is a pleasant evolution of the language. But, the point here is that the phrase does not describe anything new. We have long known that the backbone of your Internet content must appeal to a lasting interest. We have long discussed that your content must be just as relevant next year, and the year after, as it is today. So, the new term "Evergreen Content," is just that--a new term--and not a new concept or a new trend. Writers who tout it as something new and exciting are seeking to impress you more than they are seeking to inform you.

There are many other examples of this tendency to conflate old principles with new labels. I recently read a news release from an up and coming cloud software company. They used the latest and greatest buzzwords to describe their organizational structure, their work methods, their work flow, and their marketing strategy. I was required to repeatedly use Google to sort out and give meaning to all the new buzzwords they used. When I had it all translated, I discovered that there was really very little new in what they said. They were just using new buzzwords to describe old concepts.

Perhaps I have belabored this point, but I want you to stay on the alert to distinguish new buzzwords from new ideas and new trends. There is an important difference. We need to be alert and critical as we read so we can truly recognize the important new trends as they emerge.

Preparing to write this lesson, I read several recent articles discussing the future of Internet Marketing. In my discussion below of the concepts encountered, I will point out what is really new and what is old, but just has new packaging.

Your Track Record

One article I read started out discussing the importance of building trust within your target market and your cultivated community. While this idea is as old as time, I will give them credit for putting a new emphasis on its importance in the future.

The argument made was a good one. Due to the sheer numbers of people publishing on the Internet and doing so with such ease, it has become difficult to trust what we read. Traditionally, when we read something in print we could assume, if it was a known, legitimate publication, that what we read was somewhat trustworthy. With the rise of easy publication on the Internet--where there are often no fact-checkers and editors behind the scenes ensuring the accuracy of the content--trust is not a given. It has to be earned. The conclusion was this trust will become more and more important in the future. I agree and think they made a good point. I would have preferred if the writer had not called this a 'trend of the future', however. Trust has been crucially important from the earliest days of human commerce. Nothing new here. But, we can be assured from the well-stated argument that trust will not only continue to be important but become more and more important in the future.

Cultivated Communities

The concept of cultivated communities also is not new, but is discussed as a rising trend in the future of Internet Marketing, along with the rise of "Niche Specific Tools." Both of these are discussed as new trends because the tools and strategies one needs to use them effectively are new. Plus, the ever-increasing popularity of Social Media is constantly opening doors for new tools and strategies to cultivate a large community of followers. The best way to describe what's new here is to focus on the new tools and strategies that are becoming available. We will do a great deal of that later in this course.

Dying Tools and Strategies

Much of the recent discussion of new trends is devoted to identifying old tools and strategies that are no longer working. Instructional (training) Ebooks are now dead. There are now new technologies and new approaches to content delivery. Content delivery is progressively becoming more personalized and dynamic. A static ebook no longer fills the bill.

The same is true for DVD training courses. With the rise in streaming content, the use of DVD technology is declining. Most new equipment sales consist of tablets and PCs without built-in DVD players. Like many of its predecessors (CDs, VHS, etc.), DVD technology will eventually disappear.

Our Heads in the Clouds

While surveying recent materials on the future of Internet Marketing, I also saw frequent mention of cloud technology. Cloud technology is greatly changing the way individuals process and manage their data. While I'm not sure that has a huge direct effect on Internet Marketing per se (and I'm not sure anyone else does either), writers on the future of Internet Marketing can't help but mention it.

Mostly what cloud computing changes is the technology that Internet Marketers will use to keep track of, measure, and focus their marketing. Cloud computing will bring more advanced tools and more refined data to Internet Marketers to manage their marketing strategies.

It is also often mentioned that cloud technology will speed convergence and open more venues for marketing. Examples given are links on content delivered through a smart phone, tablet, or TV that connect the public to your cloud-based marketing apps--the apps you will use to manage your "cultivated community."

The Rise of Mobile

Related to, and advanced by, cloud technology, more and more time will be spent on mobile devices. This is not a new trend either, however, as it has been occurring for some time now. The latest statistics suggest that mobile is undoubtedly the primary platform of the future. But, we already knew that.

User Generated Content

As a somewhat new concept, some are suggesting that brands will need to turn over content generation to their communities. Driven by Social Media, marketers will need to make an impact on the minds of their followers and prompt them to provide the content that can then be shared to promote the brand. For example, imagine there is a new soft drink called "Super Soda." Rather than generating TV commercial type videos to promote it, the marketers for Super Soda find videos posted on social media of people dancing while drinking the product. They then share these videos with their target audience using captions like, "Super Soda drinkers get their dance on better than anyone." More on this later in the course.

Virtual Reality Marketing

Another phenomena on the horizon that has a new sound to it is Virtual Reality Marketing. Your brand can be included in a virtual experience made possible by new technology. Again, though, this is in essence just a new delivery method and not a fundamental change in marketing principles. It will likely be priced out of range for the independent entrepreneur until far in the future in any event.

The Good News

The good news is that the lasting, fundamental principles of Internet Marketing that we have learned will continue full force into the future. Discussions of the future mostly build upon and expand these principles to new technologies. The things that are changing are the technology used and the delivery methods--the principles remain the same. Success comes to those who can interpret the lasting principles and integrate them into new technologies as they arise, applying them appropriately to new situations.

Certain of the older principles apply now with renewed force due to recent changes. The sheer size of Internet content now requires a renewed effort to establish a community--much as was required before the Internet came along. Without a community, your voice is lost in the noise. The lack of content safeguards that naturally flows from a universal publishing platform requires a renewed effort to establish trust within your community. You must give them reliable content and they must trust what you tell them. The rise of personalization technology requires us more and more to get to know the members of our community--just like the old days. The need for actual conversations rather than just automated blastings becomes more and more necessary.

More good news comes from the fact that while the technology is getting more complicated, the Social Media and Cloud services now available make it even easier for you to publish. You no longer have to build an entire website of your own--yet, you still have the world at your finger tips. But,we are now forced to realize that tricks and gimmicks will not work. We have to be real, transparent, and trustworthy. But, that's not a bad future.

A successful Internet Marketer should have a solid foundation based upon lasting principles of marketing learned from a study of the past and present. The successful Internet Marketer should also have one eye on the future. We can predict that the lasting principles will continue to operate, but will be adapted to new technologies and new delivery methods. In order to stay current, we will sometimes have to learn new words for old concepts, while recognizing that the concept remains essentially the same.

Building a community of potential customers and building trust within that community will become even more important in the future. Recognizing the technologies that are dying out (like ebooks and DVD courses) and identifying the new technologies that will replace them (like streaming media and virtual reality) will keep us on the cutting edge. Applying long established principles of psychology to new delivery methods (like Social Media) will help us to recognize the new trends. Recognizing that people want to interact and be heard helps us to understand the value of user generated content. Using the newer, more advanced technologies provided by cloud computing will allow us to better measure and track the results of our marketing efforts.

Most importantly, staying focused on our solid foundation of lasting principles, we will not become confused by all of the new hype. We will separate the real from the fanciful as we plot our solid path to success.

With our solid foundation complete, we will begin with our next lesson to explore specific techniques and strategies for Internet Marketing and how best to implement them. You can read the next lesson here: Consumer Generated Content.

By George Little, Panhandle On-Line, Inc. For more information on the Internet Income Course and other works and courses by George Little, see http://www.profitpropulsion.com

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