The COVID-driven acceleration of existing trends was the topic of a post I wrote earlier this week. It was also a central theme in the second installment of Localogy’s LocalAgency video series.

This week’s episode features a conversation with digital marketing thought leader David Mihm. David has held senior roles at Moz and ThriveHive. He is currently the founder of the email marketing platform Tidings, as well as a longstanding member of the LocalU faculty, alongside local search luminaries like Mike Blumenthal, Andrew Shotland, and Joy Hawkins.

The scope of the roughly 30-minute conversation was wide-ranging, from how digital agencies need to adapt to automation to how COVID is transforming the small business marketplace. We also touch on email marketing and how it’s faring during the pandemic.

This post shares a few highlights of the discussion. We encourage you to register to view the full interview at Localogy Live!

A 30-Degree Shift

David argues that many trends impacting both digital agencies and SMBs pre-COVID have been accelerated by COVID. For example, there was pressure before the crisis for agencies to diversity into helping small businesses assemble their tech stack, given Google and Facebook have largely automated many of the campaign-related services agencies had traditionally offered.

As the crisis hit, SMBs’ advertising activity ground to a halt. Meanwhile, the need for technology accelerated. And small businesses needed help making these adaptations, many of which will be permanent, David argues.

“The biggest takeaway from this is that it will shift consumer and business behavior by 20 or 30 degrees, permanently,” he said.

“We are getting more used to virtual meetings, for example. That is going to have an impact on commercial real estate and office space. We are also becoming more accustomed to eCommerce as a channel. So while a small business may not need to put all their inventory online, they should at least have some kind of order ahead, pick up at store capability. I think people are going to expect that.”

In this clip from the interview, David pushed back on the idea that the technology shift would favor the young and nimble. He sees the shift happening across generations.

Email’s Critical Role in the Crisis

We also discussed email marketing and how it has recently seen a spike in open rates, given the importance of authentic customer communication during the crisis.

David agreed that email is having a moment during the crisis, though he doesn’t think the crisis has changed email’s trajectory as a marketing channel, for good or ill.

“I don’t think this changes its future. You might get more people to sign up for your newsletter or loyalty program right now. So don’t abuse that privilege,” David said.

“If Facebook or Instagram didn’t kill email marketing, then I don’t think Slack or anything else will kill it either.”

Please register here to access the complete video interview with David. We also encourage you to catch the inaugural LocalAgency episode featuring OMG National CRO Justin Sanger

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