As with almost everything, marketing has evolved with the times. Just seeing the changes from the 1990s vs. 2017 is enough to give anyone a blast from the past.
The advent of new technologies and trends meant businesses had to change the way they marketed their product or services to people. Remaining stagnant meant financial death, so companies throughout time have molded their approach to consumer trends.
Although some of the older methods of marketing have become obsolete, much can be learned from them and even combined with newer methods to create hybrid campaigns that can reach broader audience.
Approach With Caution
When it comes to marketing, it all comes down to how companies interact with consumers. Before, whole buildings were dedicated to marketing and other related departments. The product was considered the most important thing, and most of the work was put into showcasing it.
Producing a well-made product and making it look as good as possible was everything back then. During these marketing campaigns, access to demographic information was limited. Since companies did not have as much available information as they probably would have liked, they focused on the one thing they did have complete information on: their product.
That being said, everyone was considered a potential customer. Not a lot of research could be done on whether one group of people would respond better to a product over another. Today, it’s an entirely different story.
If anything, marketers today might be suffering from information overload. With ease of learning made possible by the internet and free tools to streamline internet marketing efforts, there’s almost a sense that anyone with an internet connection can be a marketing expert.
But there’s more to it than that. And the amount of data at a marketer’s disposal can be daunting, and in certain instances, it can make the waters muddier rather than clearer.
Despite this, the value of data in marketing and business cannot be overstated. With the rise of big data, companies are now having to distinguish between business analytics and business intelligence to make sense of all the information.
With business analytics, big data is used to predict trends and to see if there are any recurring patterns that can potentially be beneficial for a company to look into. On the other hand, business intelligence uses data to help companies make better decisions. Business intelligence looks more at past behaviors and what improvements can be made.
As marketing approaches began to change, the business-customer relationship evolved as well. A target audience is now chosen and a product and marketing campaign is formed around that specific group.
Marketing now is about identifying a customer’s need and then finding a solution to that need. The past and present approaches to marketing involve many of the same components, but priorities have altered as time has passed.
Marketing techniques have changed just as much as approach has. Print media was the most popular way of getting the word out about a company’s newest product way back when. Newspapers, direct mailing, catalogs and brochures were sent in bulk to reach as many people as possible.
Yellowpages were also an integral part to a company’s marketing plan. Businesses brought the product to the customer through eye-catching billboards and posters, not to mention radio ads.
However, TV changed everything. People were able to see products in a whole new way, as something more tangible that radio and print media couldn’t replicate. Although TV is still an avenue many companies use, the internet and social media is beginning to take over.
Instead of mass distributing to find customers, businesses go where the customers already are: online. Through email, mobile, and social media marketing, companies get a better idea what individuals are interested in and what’s currently selling.
That being said, more and more research is being put into how social listening can improve online marketing strategies. In an age where people put their entire lives online, it wouldn’t be hard to find out what kind of products people want and buy.
Something Old and Something New
When you mix the influences of the past with the present, you can end up with something truly revolutionary. This can be seen in digital signage. Signage had its benefits in the past, and those benefits are not lost on today’s marketers.
With just a little tweaking, marketers were able to bring signage to the digital age. This is made even more so since mobile integration is changing digital signage in very positive ways. Everyone and their dog has smartphones now. It would be a waste not to leverage this relationship.
This can be done by hosting social media platforms such as Twitter on digital signs and having tweets with certain hashtags appear on the screen. This gives potential customers a more personal experience and helps them feel involved in a company and product.
QR codes are also an innovative way for potential customers to learn more about a company. This is where social media and email are a match made in marketing heaven. When a person scans a QR code with their smartphone, an email will instantly be sent to them with information that is relevant to what the digital sign is advertising.
If the email directs the person to the company’s social media platforms, it makes the probability that much greater for a new customer to be made. So whether a marketing strategy is old school or new school, there’s something to be learned from both that will benefit companies and their sales.