Marketing: A Brief History of Getting the Word Out

Jul 7, 2014

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Although marketing concepts are relatively new, businesses have been using marketing strategies and mediums for ages

Marketing is all about getting the word out and creating value for our customers, and as we took a look back at history, we found that marketing strategies have been used in places such as Ancient Egypt and Greece!

Outbound marketing has been in the works for thousands of years. Business owners and traders in ancient times would shout to advertise their wares and try to persuade people to take interest in their products. In 4000 B.C., the Egyptians used papyrus for messages and posters about sales. There wasn’t too much change in how things were marketed until one special invention: the printing press.

Marketing really kicked off in 1440 when Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press that made printing materials cheaper and allowed for mass printing (it was NOT the first printing press). With this invention, business owners started printing out advertisements and brochures as well as placing ads in publications that would attract potential customers to their business.

As mediums such as newspapers, magazines, posters and billboards were invented, marketing theory began to branch out and establish itself as a concept:

– The first paid advertisement in a newspaper was in the June 1836 issue of a French newspaper called La Presse.

– London banned posters on private property in 1836 due to their popularity.

– The first billboard rentals were recorded in 1867.

Branding came into the picture with the emergence of registering trademarks. One of the first registered trademarks with the United Kingdom was Bass Brewery’s Red Triangle for ale.

In 1921, almost no one had a radio, but in 1933, more than half of Americans had a radio in their home. Marketers who began using radio ads quickly gained exposure all over the nation.

The first TV ad hit 4,000 television sets in 1941. The ad was for Bulova Clocks and was ten seconds long. The first television ads might have only hit thousands at first, but it then grew to include millions. It was hard to imagine that in 13 years, TV ad revenue would overtake magazine and radio ad sales.

Although they were developed in the 1940’s, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that computers were able to connect on the Internet and take part in E-commerce. It was during this same period that telemarketing was used as a major marketing tactic.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that the concept of relationship marketing began to emerge. Up to this point, with the growth and success of marketing efforts, the focus had been trying to sell products more than focusing on retaining and satisfying customers. This realization of relationship marketing eventually led to the idea of an integrated marketing approach, which includes a heavier emphasis on strategic planning, social media, and focusing on differentiating businesses as being quality organizations (which is what we’re all about).

In 1996, viral marketing was recognized as one of the newest ways to gain attention. With viral marketing and the emergence of social media as a major medium for consumers today, businesses can now potentially access millions of people across the world.

The takeaway message is that the growth of marketing is strongly correlated with the growth of mediums. As marketers, we have to ask ourselves how we are using the mediums around us to help get the word out about our businesses.

The history of marketing shows us and gives us the incentive to not only keep searching for the newest, up-to-date mediums and technology, but also to find creative ways to attract and create value for our customers and clients.Fast forward to the time between 1929 and 1941 when the inventions of the telephone, radio and television started to really catch on. These mediums could send broadcasts about products, services, and companies to thousands of people.

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