Blog: The Evolution of Marketing

Have you ever stopped to think about where Marketing evolved from centuries ago into the modern digital era? Marketing has undergone a 360 transformation and the so called discipline has been refined and changed society in a number of ways.

In today’s blog, we’ll take a journey into how marketing has evolved over the years.

1800s – 1920s

In the 1800s into the 1920s companies looked to customers willing to pay for products that were cheap and readily available. There main objective was focused on quantity and not quality in order to mass produce, lower cost and drive more sales. This inevitably started the Industrial revolution which started in the UK before expanding worldwide. The demand for production rocketed and companies like Ford Motor company hired thousands of factory workers to increase efficiencies in production and distribution in order to beat their competition.

1920s – 1940s

In the 1920’s into the 1940’s the momentum grew, more companies joined and sales tactics became more competitive. Organisations cared about the sales volume then customer satisfaction. They wanted to entice customers with eye-catching promotions and relied on marketing to sell products and that companies made.

Advertisements started getting promoted on different platforms like radio, print and television. This era gave birth to door-to-door sales professionals selling products to customers in their homes. At the time marketing took place only after products were produced. It’s no surprise today, some people associate marketing with selling.

1940s – 1970s

It was around the 1940’s through to the 1970’s that companies realised that focusing on their business needs alone, often leads to dissatisfied customers. With this insight, companies became more strategic and tactical  in identifying what customers needed and customising those activities to address these needs.

It was in this era that the marketing concept was born and in order to reach their business goals, they needed to understand the needs of their target customers first giving them an opportunity to compete and differentiate themselves amongst their competitors. A marketing orientated organisation looks at identifying their customer needs, segment their customers according to their purchasing goals, the offer specific products and services tailored to that group. This type of customer segmentation allows businesses to cater to the needs of the entire group.

1970s – 1990s

In the 1970’s through to the 1990s business ethics saw a notable shift where companies started taking more responsibility to develop strategies that positively impacted the consumers well-being and the environment. There was a conflict of interest between satisfying customers in the short-term with society’s long-term welfare.  This is known as  societal marketing where companies shifted their goals to providing quality products that had a positive impact on the environment. The more socially and ethically responsible an organization is, the more customers patronize them.

1990s – 2021

It was in the 1990’s through to 2021 that the world witnessed a shift in the dynamics of marketing. Marketers struggled developing their marketing campaigns through traditional means and existing strategies limited their reach, making it difficult to reach their potential customers.

Then came the advent of digital marketing. It opened the doors of opportunities for better traffic and exposure for products or services. From the early 90s to today, almost half of the world’s population are online. Businesses’ have since then moved on to digital platforms to effectively reach their target market.

On the other hand, the modern-day digital era gave consumers the power to dictate how they want to receive marketing content. Subscription-based sites such as Amazon Prime made commercials obsolete. Likewise, consumers no longer have to sit through ads they don’t like. Thanks to social media, they only follow brands or organizations they support.

The surge in mobile phones and other smart devices has also contributed to the popularity of digital marketing. Since more people are now on their smartphones, this enables marketers to reach a wider audience. Content marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and mobile marketing are a few of the strategies they use to dominate different digital platforms.

Along with the growth of the digital era, it also created new jobs that were not available in the past years. Nowadays, there’s a huge demand for SEO specialists, social media managers, content writers, and software developers.

Final thoughts

As you can see, marketing has significantly gone through an evolution in the past centuries until today. It all began when production was the sole focus that led to the rise of the Industrial Revolution.

Subsequently, it became sales and marketing-oriented so businesses can stay on top of the competition. As the decades wore on, it was apparent that pushing products and services to customers’ consciousness just won’t cut it. Thus, marketing shifted to building a genuine relationship with customers-one that will keep them happy and loyal to brands.

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