|That's Evolution, Baby! Marketing: Then & Now
By: Kevin Weaver
Business is evolving at a faster rate than any other time in our history. New technology is outdated after just one year. The same is true with cars, fashion, or music. I remember a college professor saying that a brand-new textbook your freshman year would be obsolete by your senior year. Thinking back on that now, it's likely that a new book would be obsolete after two semesters. In fact, most of the books I used towards the end of college were all online.
For most brands, nowhere is rapid change more evident than in the way they market and reach out to consumers. Marketing and ad agencies today look much different than they did in the days of Mad Men. It's less common to find a firm that houses creative, design, branding, and sales all in one building. Companies are leaner. Outsourcing and using the work of freelancers for ad campaigns, graphics, and research is becoming the norm. The Internet has created a more competitive environment by giving people the tools to learn about techniques and strategies without having to go to school.
The major difference in how brands are marketing to consumers is the approach they are taking to do it. In the past, more attention was given to the product and how it would look to the customers rather than which customers to target. In today's world, brands focus on which consumers they want to target and then tailor their message and product to fit that demographic.
Over the years, brands have employed techniques that encourage consumers to interact with their products. In the '60s, companies used billboards, posters, or ads on the radio to promote products. Then came the television. TV allowed people to see and hear a product in action, something that radio and print couldn't do. Then came the Internet. The web allowed consumers to interact with products before actually buying them, thus giving marketers a better idea of the individual's thought process and buying behavior.
For brands to be successful in the future, they will need to be thought-leading educators who understand their customer. We are social beings living in a social world where content is king and conversations on social networks drive ROI.
It's exciting to think about what the future holds for brands. In ten years will Ford finally be selling a hover car? Will Southwest FINALLY have a nonstop to the moon? No matter what changes may occur, marketing will always serve the same purpose: to persuade consumers to purchase one product over another and to keep those customers coming back for more.
Kevin Weaver is a marketing professional in Wichita, KS with two years of experience. Past and present work includes email marketing compaigns, client e-store development, social media, and destination marketing.
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