Marketing is all around us.
It’s in our ears via the radio, in front of our eyes in newspapers, magazines; both our ears and our eyes with the television and all our myriad devices which connect to the internet and it has been around since the very dawn of human civilisation.
Even way back in ancient times, several thousands of years ago, people were trying to sell their goods and services to one another and that has only continued throughout all of human history and there are no signs of this letting up any time soon.
The modern concept of marketing as we know it today has evolved over time.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at the history of marketing and how it has evolved into the global, multi-billion pound / dollar / yen / euro industry it is today.
The early days of marketing can be traced back to ancient civilisations such as the Greeks and the Romans. These societies used word-of-mouth advertising and public announcements to promote their goods and services.
For example, Greek merchants would stand in the marketplaces and shout out their prices and offerings to attract customers and the Romans were even known to market “the oldest trade in the world” by means of carving phalli (or phalluses) into the stone walls of the cities, pointing out the nearest brothel.
Then later on, during the Middle Ages, marketing started to take on a more commercial aspect since trade fairs and markets became more popular. So merchants began to develop their own distinctive branding and advertising techniques to set them aside from their competitors. One notable example is the wine merchants of Bordeaux, who began to label their wine barrels with distinctive markings to differentiate their product from others.
The Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, which started right here at Cromford Mill, brought about significant changes to marketing.
As production became more efficient, businesses began to focus more on mass production and distribution.
This led to the development of new marketing techniques, such as newspaper advertising and product packaging. In addition, the rise of the department store in the late 19th century gave birth to the concept of window displays, which are still used by retailers today.
The 20th century saw even more significant changes to marketing. The advent of radio and television brought about new advertising opportunities for businesses, allowing them to reach larger audiences than ever before.
The first television advertisement for the watch manufacturer Bulova was broadcast in the US in 1941, and since then, television has become one of the most important advertising channels in the world.
In the 1950’s and the introduction of television, sponsorship of television shows became a popular way to promote brand awareness with companies including Coca Cola, Mattel and Colgate making such programmes as The Colgate Comedy Hour.
The remainder of the twentieth century grew into being an era of mass media and our eyes, ears, hearts and minds would never see things the same again.
Especially as the twenty first century took the newfangled search engine and put in into our pockets.
The rise of the internet in the 1990s and 2000s brought about even more changes to marketing.
This is when multi media mass marketing became digital marketing which means that businesses now have access to a global audience, and digital marketing became one of the most important marketing channels.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allowed businesses to engage with customers on a more personal level, and e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay made it easier than ever for businesses to sell their products online.
Today, marketing has become a multi-billion pound global industry, with businesses investing heavily in advertising and marketing campaigns totalling $455 billion in 2021.
And now with the advent of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, this is likely to bring about even more changes to the industry in the years, decades and centuries to come.
In terms of digital marketing, we are just at the beginning. In generations to come they will look back on the tools we use like Facebook and LinkedIn and compare us to the stone carvings in the walls of Roman cities.
In conclusion, the history of marketing is a long and fascinating one, and it’s only just beginning.
From the ancient Greeks to the digital age, marketing has evolved and adapted to meet the changing needs of businesses and consumers and as technology continues to advance, and although it will be interesting to see how marketing evolves in the future.
One thing will always remain the same, and that is that the old ways are the best; and the most powerful marketing (by far) is still that of word of mouth and the recommendations of the people that you know, trust and like.
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