The Rise of Marketing and How It’s Affected the Online World
Whenever technology changes, so too does the way in which companies market their products and services. There was once a time when the best you could do was create a newspaper advert or send out fliers. Nowadays, on the other hand, businesses can reach millions of people with the touch of a button.
It’s important to realize that while changes in technology have affected the way marketing is done, there have also been noticeable effects the other way around. Modern marketing strategies have shaped the way the internet looks today – every webpage, for example, is packed with digital adverts. Companies can collect your personal data in ways you may not even be aware of, using your preferences to inform how best to sell you their products.
Where will the rise of marketing lead us next? There’s really no way to know what the next big invention will be, and many marketing professionals are (quite understandably) unsure of their future. But, by taking a look at how the developments of the past have affected the way we sell things, predictions can be made about the future. If you’re interested in working in marketing, then check out the following article, which gives a brief rundown on the rise of digital marketing, and how it’s helped shape the internet as we know it today.
Marketing in the Past
Delving into strategies used in the past century might seem irrelevant, but it can actually be very beneficial in helping to understand trends in marketing. When we put the whole picture together, we can see that companies throughout the years have adopted increasingly aggressive (and even unethical) marketing techniques to help sell their products. Furthermore, there has been a clear emphasis on collecting the data of potential consumers in order to sell products more effectively. Let’s take a quick look at how marketing has evolved since the 1900s:
- Pre-1920s: Prior to the invention of the radio, marketing was relatively basic. In fact, ‘marketing’ as we know it was a fairly unknown concept. Goods were usually produced in small batches, and there were limited ways for companies to advertise them. Marketing was primarily done through word of mouth and customer recommendations. Companies would even hire popular figures to endorse their products.
- 1930: Mass production and the birth of the radio led to the first changes in marketing strategy. The main benefit was that businesses could now make sure everybody was, at the very least, aware that their products existed. The reach of advertisers was vastly increased, but the 1930s brought unforeseen challenges too. The Great Depression meant consumers were unwilling to buy, and marketers had to resort to techniques such as false advertising, which was mostly unregulated at the time.
- 1950: The television (invented in 1941) kicked off a whole new form of advertising. Video ads could be designed to contain a whole lot more information than their audible counterparts. For example, companies could now tell their customers all about their products, as well as prices, discounts, locations, logistics etc. As TV technology has progressed through the years, adverts have continued to adapt. One way in which companies subtly push their merchandise is through product placement – this is when products appear in TV shows or movies. One of the most famous examples of this is James Bond’s iconic Aston Martin, which subconsciously makes the viewer want to drive an Aston. After all, who doesn’t want to look like James Bond?
- 1970: In the 70s, a number of new marketing ideas emerged, such as synergy marketing. This is a strategy still used to this day, in which companies combine their products/services to increase the exposure of their advertisements. For example, if a fast food company chooses to partner with a new movie set for release, then both parties will reach a larger audience. The film receives advertisement in a number of restaurants, and the restaurants receive an advert or a namedrop in a piece of media watched by millions.
- 1980: This is when marketing begins to get clever. Prior to the conception of the internet, experts in the field began to see sales as a relationship between business and consumer, rather than a single transaction – CRMs (customer relationship managers) were tasked with identifying the customer lifecycle, which details how a customer goes from completely oblivious (a cold prospect) to a buyer. This is an idea still used to this day.
The Dawn of the Internet
This is when things begin to get crazy – it’s no secret that marketing has changed every aspect of this internet as we know it today. However, at the beginning, things weren’t so advanced. Digital marketing strategies have been evolving for decades now, starting with basic (and extremely irritating) strategies like ‘spam’. As we’re sure you know, spam bombards your online mailbox with digital fliers and adverts for random products and services which you likely have little interest in.
The rise of search engines in the 90s led to further opportunities for advertising – with users now able to find their own information, marketers began to use SEO (search engine optimization) to find their ideal customers. This strategy works by filling webpages with keywords. When a potential customer searches for something they want/need, the keywords help present them with a number of top websites. Agencies like Razorfish helped pioneer SEO methods and shape the early internet. Since then, data has been the name of the game.
What Does the Modern Marketer Look Like?
In the past century, we’ve witnessed leaps and bounds in our day-to-day technology, including the invention of telephones, television, and the internet. Marketing, in all its forms, is everywhere nowadays. The evolution of marketing has led us to the point where every webpage is full of adverts, and they can collect information about you depending solely on what you click on. This has been a source of major controversy recently. Marketing isn’t like it used to be, where you could make false claims or exaggerate a product’s benefits to convince people to buy. With tougher regulations, more competition and calls for transparency from consumers, marketers have got to be smarter than ever. This means using automated, ethical data analytics to drive content creation and digital marketing. But there’s so much more to it than that – the marketer of today is able to work in a number of roles, such as:
- Data Analyst
- Business Analyst
- Social Media Manager
- Market Researcher
- Content Strategist
If you want to learn more, check out Emerson College’s infographic: Who Is the Modern Marketer and What Do They Do? They are experts in digital marketing and data analytics, and offer great courses to kickstart your marketing career. You can also take a look at informative documentaries like Netflix’s ‘The Social Dilemma’, which outlines the background methods which social media sites use to keep you hooked for as long as possible.
The Future of Marketing
It’s hard to say what major technological advancements will be made in the coming years, but you can bet that the world of marketing will be affected. Some predictions for the future of marketing include:
- Changes in How Value is Perceived – While the 4 P’s (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) used to rule the world of marketing, customers are beginning to see the things they buy as an experience, rather than a singular product. This means ideas such as emotion, engagement and exclusivity should be considered instead.
- Artificial Intelligence – It seems like AI is at the forefront of every industry right now, and the same is true of marketing. AI marketing has been used for a while now for jobs such as complex data analysis and email marketing. So-called ‘chatbots’ like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa can be used to help assist people’s daily lives, while also suggesting solutions or products that it thinks the user will engage with.
- Enhanced Personalization – this one is already happening; you just might not be aware of it. When you use a social media site, a digital record is kept of the things you like, the posts you view (as well as how long you view them for) and the ads you respond to. With all this information being monitored continually, sites can tailor what you see and when you see it. This not only keeps you on the app, but it also makes sure you continue viewing adverts.
- Influencer Marketing – Again, this one has been on the rise for a number of years now. Companies pay popular online personalities to advertise their products, hence ‘influencing’ their followers.
So, since the 1920s, marketing has evolved from a simple plan to spread awareness, to an AI-driven quest to match every individual with their desired product. The online landscape now is shaped by the need to collect the data and shopping habits of everybody online, and sell them things in the most effective way possible. Looking to the future, it’s only going to become more advanced – with faster and more comprehensive customer analysis, companies will have more ways than ever to identify potential customers and make the sale.