The Evolution of Marketing

Gone are the days of one-on-one meetings and hawking your wares on street corners. Today, it is all about your online profile. Marketing and how we advertise has change a lot over human history, but in a lot of ways it has stayed the same.

So, how did we get here?

The Trade Era – During this period, everything was made or grown by human hands. Say, you were a shepherd with a 20 sheep. You could trade the wool and meat, or the sheep themselves for money or something else you needed, but you only had those 20 sheep to work with.

The Production Era – Beginning with the industrial revolution and printmaking, the guiding philosophy of this era was “if you make it, someone will buy it.” To have a successful business all you had to do was open up your butcher shop, your glass bottle factory or your bakery and start selling!

The Sales Era – Around the 1920s simply having a product for sale wasn’t enough. There were multiple competitors in each industry vying for the attention (and money) of consumers. Consumers now had more power than they ever had before. Competitive prices, catchy jingles, cartoon mascots, and using phrases like “new and improved” were how businesses lured people in.

The Marketing Company Era – Eventually, advertising focused on TV, radio and print. Marketing was recognized as its own industry, and producers relied on marketing professionals to create memorable advertisements that reeled in target demographics. If you wanted to sell ruby red lipstick, you would hire an ad agency that would create an ad designed to appeal to people who like ruby red lipstick.

The Relationship Era – How do you build a customer base that keeps coming back for more? In this era, marketers focused on “customer loyalty” and developing ways to build relationships with the people buying their products. Companies started to see the value of encouraging customer feedback. By creating an emotional bond with customers, brands could become “part of the family”.

The Social Media Era – Social media marketing takes everything we learned in the other eras and brings it to an online space. Brands now have the ability to reach consumers 24/7. They can also speak directly to consumers without being restricted by location, which makes having a social media presence on all of the most popular platforms an absolute must.

Quick responses and open communication between customers and businesses is priority number one. Sure, brands need to be interesting, creative and trustworthy to capture the attention and loyalty of consumers; they just have to do it all before their audience scrolls past their ad.

Which era of marketing evolution is your favorite? Be sure to leave your answer in the comments!

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