The Evolution of Marketing
Marketing has undergone many changes over the years, but the most notable ones have been in the way advertising and promotion are conducted. The early days of marketing were dominated by print media, such as magazines and newspapers. As more people became online consumers, however, online platforms became more effective at reaching customers. Television commercials and radio broadcasts followed suit, becoming even more reliant on digital technology to reach their target audience. Why does this matter? First we must define how advertising worked in each avenue and how that affected the way we advertise, today.
Before the internet, traditional marketing was the process of selling products or services to customers through channels such as television, print, and radio. These "traditional" marketing strategies are still in place today but aren't as successful as the new waveforms of marketing we use now. Let's dive into a few types of traditional marketing and how we reformed those methods into what we use today.
Direct Mail Marketing
One of the oldest forms of advertising is direct mail marketing. Anyone remember snail mail? It's definitely a dying form of communication, especially since the introduction of digital email and instant messaging. Paper mail on its own is now primarily used by debt collectors and government officials, for bank statements and other bills, as well as taxes and insurance services. Direct mail marketing involves sending out newsletters or postal letters to a large audience. It is often used to promote local products that are sold in local stores, as well as giving out coupons to use when purchasing said product. As well as sending out newspapers and newsletters, magazines are also still mailed traditionally if you have a subscription, and they on their own have a form of marketing that's used.
Magazine advertising was once a popular way to market products to consumers, since magazines were one of the only ways to receive entertainment news. Like websites do today, magazines featured ads from various businesses and offered readers coupons for discounts on their favorite items. Instead of cutting out a coupon and bringing it to the store, nowadays we use our smartphones to scan a code we've been emailed. Today, online magazines are popular alternatives to print magazines. They offer a similar experience by featuring ads from businesses and offering readers exclusive content.
Radio advertising was traditionally used to promote products that were sold in stores. Radio ads were highly successful back in the 80s and 90s, and even though they're still used now in 2022, they're not as effective. Although people are still driving and listening to radio, the introduction of bluetooth in cars to stream your own music has lessened the use of radio, and therefore the advertisement model that radio provided. Today, ads on the radio are mostly used to promote vehicle services, like accident lawyers and car dealerships in the area. This isn't to say that these are the only ads you hear on the radio, there are also big food chain advertisements, and occasionally a local small business can still pay to have an ad on their local station. Suffice it to say, most people tend to listen to the radio for their favorite music or an entertaining talk show. It's also a little more difficult to reel people in with radio ads due to the simple fact that most people are concentrating on driving so ads might not necessarily have their full attention. Whereas with TV ads, people's eyes are fixed on the TV when watching, so ads are front and center and are more likely to be paid attention to.
This brings us to TV advertisements. These are still alive and well today in the form of commercials, but the recent rise in streaming services has rendered cable unpopular, especially among the younger generations, making it tougher for TV commercials to be viewed by the masses. Nowadays most TV commercial advertisers have made the switch to streaming services that support ads, like Hulu, Peacock, and YouTube. Luckily the transition from TV commercial to digital video ad is easier than other traditional ad platforms as the format is still the same--video. The only main thing TV advertisers have to consider with digital video ads is the different time lengths and the various aspect ratios depending on the platform.
The birth of the internet has had a significant impact on the way we market our products and services. The world wide web has made it much easier for businesses to reach a large audience quickly and easily. Businesses can use online platforms to build relationships with their customers and provide valuable customer service in a way that was once impossible. Let's take a look at some of the many forms of digital marketing that are used today.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing was one of the first forms of digital marketing created once the internet boom happened. Online ads are typically displayed on websites or in search engine results pages. These ads can be targeted to a specific audience and used to drive traffic to a website or blog. Google is the main contender for search engine marketing as they have cornered the search engine market, amongst other competitors like Yahoo! and Bing. As the search engine became a huge technological advancement for our society, that left open a way to advertise, which these companies took advantage of. Search engine marketing is probably the most unique and different forms of advertising that changed the way advertising works altogether.
Social Media Marketing
One of the most important changes in marketing has been the way social media has changed communication between brands and their customers. Social media platforms let brands reach a large audience quickly and easily. This allows businesses to build relationships with their customers and provide valuable customer service in a way that was once impossible. Traditional advertisements are very impersonal, whereas social media gives consumers something traditional ads like commercials and radio ads could not--accessibility. With accessibility on social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube, consumers can access businesses instantly through direct messaging or even comments regarding questions about their products or even complaints and reviews. Reputation management is a valuable asset that customers are eager to see, and although that existed before in magazines and newspapers, there is a much wider volume of people purchasing on social media.
Mobile advertising is another important change in the advancement of marketing. When smartphones became more mainstream and thus were able to access the internet, naturally advertisers responded accordingly. For the most part, mobile ads are the same as digital ads, just optimized for smaller screens. Mobile ads are displayed on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, mostly by the way of apps or applications that are installed on the phones. They are often used to promote online shops, and offer coupons and time-based deals as incentives to purchase. The main issue advertisers had to face and still do face, is the fleeting nature of handheld technology. In the world of endless scrolling, advertisers have to figure out how to capture the attention of consumers quickly, which is something radio and TV commercial ads are used to, but to a different extent.
As the use of digital marketing rose, it gave way for the use of advertising agencies. Advertising agencies are responsible for designing and executing all aspects of a campaign, from the creative concept to the targeting of ads. Creating advertisements day in and day out is tough work (we would know!), and it's an ever-changing and ever-evolving medium, so it's a daunting task for any business, big or small. Letting another outside business handle your marketing strategy is a tough decision, but it is extremely common. And because of the immense use of the internet, and the successes of online advertising, these businesses are essential to the productivity and sustainability of other businesses.
These are just some of the ways that marketing has changed over the years. As you can see, there is no end to how it can change in the future!