Despite what people may believe, advertising is actually the oldest profession. From the early prehistoric times when man would advertise a kill from a successful hunt by painting a picture on a cave wall with the animal’s blood, advertising has been a way for us to communicate with each other.
Marketing has truly evolved in the past century. From almost exclusively outdoor and print during the late 19th century and early 20th century, media has expanded helping businesses and industries market their services through a variety of channels. Today, we see how mass media has become individual media through targeting and personalization.
Let’s take a look at the evolution of marketing and the phases it has gone through.
Before the internet
During the Industrial Revolution, when business began to through mass production, competition also grew as production techniques were duplicated. Businesses felt the need to differentiate their wares from their competitors giving birth to the concept of marketing as a proper strategy to grow their business. If one widget was basically the same as another, marketing experts could focus not on the similarities, but the subtle differences in how that product was made or how it performed. They created the idea of “what’s in it for me?” so that marketers could focus on not what the product did, but, rather, how that benefited the user.
Posters, print ads and word-of-mouth were the big three in most business’ media mix. Later they were joined by radio in the 1920s and television in the 1940s. Not much changed until the 1990s when the Internet was introduced.
The 90s also introduced the concept of brands as a way to better understand that a product isn’t a product, but an “experience” with nuances and personality. Branding become marketing’s buzzword for decades and marketers have become more sophisticated in helping companies define and understand what their brand really stands for. Great companies not only understand their brand, they live it and its principles guide not just advertising and promotion, but the way the company is run, what types of people they hire and what kind of products they produce.
The beginning of digital marketing
The term “digital marketing” was first mentioned in 1990s when businesses began to use the internet for commercial purposes. However, it wasn’t until in the later decade that businesses began to embrace the internet as a key platform for marketing.
With the creation of Google in 1997, Amazon in 1994, and eBay in 1995, the face of marketing changed yet again as businesses realized that websites weren’t just electronic brochures, but could be built to deliver actual services and value to customers.
This phase was marked by a transition from outbound to inbound marketing—instead of focusing on pushing products and services on customers, businesses had begun using interactive inbound marketing techniques to track people’s interest in the product and nurture the process unit they were ready to buy it.
The Current Era
The new era of marketing predominantly uses inbound marketing techniques to help businesses earn customer support and trust for their companies and their products and services.
Inbound marketing features low cost, precise audience targeting, and personalized offerings based upon individual preferences to deliver a more valuable shopping experience to clients—no matter what they’re looking for. All of this is being achieved by computer algorithms that have given birth to a marketing techniqe called SEO or Search Engine Optimization
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