The Evolution of Marketing – A Brief Overview
We are all aware how important marketing is in today’s world. A successful marketing campaign will not only determine which products sell better; it can accomplish so much more than that. It can (and did) decide on the next president of the most influential nation in the world.
The old saying, “have a good product, and it will sell itself” is no longer true. Nowadays, it is more “have good marketing, and you barely need a product.” Or more likely – “have bad marketing, and no matter how good your product is, you are screwed”: But it wasn’t always like this.
Marketing is old- people always wanted to highlight their product, trying to beat the competition and make you buy from them. But, in today’s world, marketing is a business for itself- people major it at universities, they dedicate their lives trying to improve it and make millions of dollars doing so. Both for themselves, and for products they are trying to sell. In this article, we will dig through the history of marketing, showing you how it all started, how fast it grew, where it is now, and where it’s going to go in the future. Stay with us.
Post-Industrial World – Where It All Began
Post-industrial world opened up new markets and competition. Manufacturing industries have grown fast, and this resulted in more products being available to ordinary people. Since regular workers could afford more stuff, the companies wanted to convince them how their product is the best. However, the real marketing had to wait until the ‘60s- before that, sellers still believed how a good product would sell itself.
In the ‘60s big brands dominated the industries. They had marketing, but its only purpose was to reinforce their monopoly further. In branches where a big brand was present, all other potential competitors were discouraged from entering the race. And it wasn’t about the quality product- monopoly allowed big brands to sell lower quality products at higher prices. This all had to change, and it did.
Things started improving in the ‘80s. Technology and industry were reaching new heights year after year, and brand new manufacturers have begun flooding all areas of the market. This resulted in a healthy competition, and soon enough sellers started looking for new ways in order to promote their products.
This leads them straight to asking their customers. Suddenly, manufacturers started caring for their customer’s opinions, and not only for their money. However, it was not all great. Competition forced manufacturers to reduce the quality of their products, in order to keep the expenses, and prices low. Sellers were encouraged just to sell, and sell more, no matter what- you either meet your target, or you’re gone.
The ‘90s moved things a bit further in the right direction. Manufacturers and sellers have realized that the consumers want quality and that if you give them a good product, they are willing to pay more. Also, new trends arose- people started caring about the environment, social concerns, and similar agendas.
Products that were a part of the “new era,” promoting some healthy values sold better. Marketers saw the opportunity and joined the flow- Holistic marketing was born. Products started promoting charity, donations, were involved in social activities. “Green” and eco-friendly products were more and more popular, and people were even willing to pay more just to get a product that is better for the environment. Fake or not, this marketing worked, and it actually helped collect hefty amounts for the right causes.
Internet was growing in the ‘90s, but in the new century, it became widespread and much faster. This provided a way for original, smaller manufacturers to get to their customers, directly. New brands arose, and a new kind of branding- brands started telling their stories, letting their buyers and customers relate and identify themselves. New brands began caring for the customers and were genuinely curious about customer opinions and feedback.
Customer experience became an essential part of the whole process. The customer would not only buy the product; they would buy the entire story behind it. Moreover, the customer would become a breathing free commercial- by firmly binding with the brand, people would start recommending it to their friends and family.
The Online Era
Today, everything went online. With modern Internet tools, marketers have more insight into the customer behavior than ever before. By collecting and analyzing traffic data, marketers can adjust the strategy, directly hitting their target audience.
Also, since every market is flooded, marketing campaigns try to be more niche, aiming at smaller, more specific customer groups. Today, it is much better to have a smaller army of almost cult-like followers, that will promote your high-quality (and more expensive) product whenever they can than to have a generic, low-cost solution for the masses, which has no reputation.
In the ‘90s and early ‘00, a website was just a place where companies would leave some basic info, letting you contact them in a different way. But, as the Internet grew, it all changed.
Nowadays, you won’t find a generic website; nobody wants to gamble with their reputation. Even smaller firms have flashy websites. Everyone is trying to tell you their own personal story in those “how it all started” pages. “Our vision” page will show you how businesses are created not for the money (yeah, right) but for some higher goals that would benefit the whole humanity. And every “about us” page will tell you how exciting and unique the team is in that particular company, not like any other in the world.
The Internet also put emphasis on new marketing areas, for example, Search Engine Optimization. You can have the best-looking website and the most interesting products, but if your customers can’t find you in the sea of similar sites, you are done. Everyone starts their Internet browsing in search engines (read: Google), so knowing how they work became very important. SEO appeared almost overnight, and the new cats and dogs game began. SEO experts are continually trying to find new ways and holes to put their websites higher on the search results lists, while the people from Google try to invent and implement new rules in order to keep the search results honest and ethical.
Blogs are another form of internet marketing. They used to be simple online diaries, but now they are so much more than that. Companies use blogs to share information with their customers first hand, letting them peak into the world of their favorite products. They are used to create brand awareness, improve customer experience and generate leads.
And lastly, social media- this is a great tool to get to the customers directly. Moreover, social media giants like Facebook have their own marketing tools that allow you to precisely target specific demographic groups- by gender, age, location, even political views. Marketers are seeing the potential of social media outreach, and are spending more time and investing more money into this branch of marketing.
Nobody can tell for sure where marketing will be going in the future, but there are some definite signs. First, mobile. Mobile browsing overtook desktop browsing two years ago, and this trend is not going to stop anytime soon. Marketers are adopting mobile browsing and will continue to do so in the future.
Marketing has changed a lot in the last 70 years. Before that, it was all pretty much the same (close to non-existent). But, as the industry started booming, and new brands flooded the markets, it all changed, in a very short period of time.
But the real breakthrough came with the rise of the Internet. Online marketing took the whole branch to a new level. In the past, marketers were looked from above by other economic experts, as a lesser kind. The internet has changed all this- marketing is now more critical than ever, and it is growing day by day, blending in in the new IT era.