As consumers increasingly have more choices and flexibility in how they live their lives, they are building lifestyles that are non-linear and nomadic. This means that instead of checking the preordained boxes of success, more people globally are deciding how to determine their life path and definition of success on their own terms. As this global zeitgeist grows, so too must digital marketers’ strategies change to remain relevant to this growing population. For a quick example of what it means to be a Nomad, watch this recent Jeep commercial.
Nomadic types care deeply about education, yet are skeptical of the value of the current higher education system. Nomads are 5 percent more likely than the general population to say that earning a degree is important, but they’re also 11 percent more likely to believe that formal education is not worth the investment. This dichotomy is leading to the growth of non-traditional education options, such as online classes and intensive skill courses. In light of this, we expect the diversity of education options to proliferate, largely enabled by the growing internet connectivity and mobile platforms accessible to consumers. These future educational formats will be on-demand and location-agnostic, meaning that digital is set to be the core foundation of education’s future.
When it comes to Nomads in the workforce, they are predominately showing up in the technology sector. These types of work environments suit Nomads well, as they offer both stability and flexibility. Nomad Careerists (those who prioritize careers over other factors) are 10 percent more likely than general population to work at a place that allows them to work from multiple offices, and 6 percent more likely to work somewhere that provides on-premises childcare. We see Nomads clustering to the tech sector because they are better able to work on their own schedule and own terms, and we expect this trend to grow as more employers accept this flexible model.
Spontaneity is important to Nomads, who are 19 percent more likely than general population to do activities spontaneously, without much planning. The changeable nature of Nomads means that a frequently used tool or brand may not be immediately relevant to them in the near future. Technology must serve to help brands and services better adapt to the continually evolving needs of Nomads.
Though they love spontaneity, Nomads see planning as a way to feel in control. However, this audience is 14 percent more likely than general population to say that planning activities is tedious, and they’re 9 percent more likely to say they wish someone else would do the planning for them. To give Nomads control without the tedium, optimized systems and AI environments will be essential for Nomads as they look to plan their next adventure with as little burden as possible.
Nomads know that technology is not a replacement for in-person interactions, though they do tend to see the internet as a valuable tool for maintaining and developing their relationships. However, Nomads who moved around the most were 26 percent more likely than general population to say that the internet had not made a difference in their relationships with others. While Nomads highly value being connected, they also see the deep value of those real human experiences. They are wary of relying on the internet as an intermediary between them and those they know, so brands must continue to cater to this desire for real life connections.
Ellie Caldwell is a brand planner, Edelman San Francisco.