Marketing has changed from a company telling the general public about its product to a company and its targeted audience having a two-way dialogue. Traditional advertisements are making way for blogs, social media sites, and e-commerce sites, which make it easy for customers to share experiences, opinions, suggestions, and other feedback with companies. However, the transition from traditional marketing techniques to these new techniques did not happen overnight, so let’s take a look at how we got here.
One way the history of marketing is divided is into different eras. While the number of eras differs between scholars, the following are some of the most agreed upon:
During this time businesses were concerned with manufacturing and producing as much as possible for as cheap as possible. Since there were a limited number of goods available, companies wanted to produce as much as possible because they knew that if they made it, someone would buy it.
During this era, business focused on consistent improvement of the product with the belief that an ideal product would sell itself. The product’s quality was more important during this time than production efficiencies, which had been more important previously.
Customers no longer purchased everything that was produced by businesses. Therefore, companies started to aggressively promote their products over their competition’s. The thought was that anything could sell, if it was pushed hard enough.
Soon companies realized they needed to make decisions on a more strategic level. With knowledge of their customers, marketers were helping to decide what products should be produced based on the customers’ needs, as well as what distribution channels to use and the pricing strategy.
In this more recent era, businesses have focused on long-term relationships with their customers, instead of trying to get a one-time sale. One of the main reasons for this is that acquiring a new customer can cost an organization five times as much as keeping a current customer happy.
This era brings us to today, with emerging media creating real-time, two-way communication between customers and businesses. Organizations can be connected 24/7 to customers who have opted-in to this type of communication.
With technology constantly evolving, we may find ourselves in the next era of marketing before we know it! For more on the history of marketing, take a look at this informative infographic.