With the technology advancing continuously and our unbreakable bond with it, marketing has had to withstand and keep up with the progressions, especially over the last three decades.
From the Sales Era witnessing the invention of the telephone, briskly followed by the emergence of TV and Marketing Department Era to the Marketing Company Era witnessing what can be probably called ‘the biggest change in marketing history’ – the first-ever personal computers were made commercially available.
But what does this evolution mean for the marketing future?
As per the recent reports, most marketers feel unconfident about their future and firmly believe that digital marketing will become crucial to their company in the next two to three years. Despite this uncertainty, when these professionals were asked what they think about their roles in the next three decades, the majority of them believe that it will certainly or most probably continue to exist in its current form.
Well, unless we have a wizard, it is impossible to know what the future holds for us, but to look in the future, we must first look in the past.
In this blog, we will discuss the three significant technological advancements that entirely transformed our perspective about marketing – the internet, big data, and smartphones and predict how they can set our marketing future in motion.
The Rise of the Internet
The adoption of the internet by almost everyone under the sun into their daily lives is arguably the single event that has affected marketing the most over the past thirty years. During the 1980s, the initial DTP software in the first computers led to a boost in print marketing and people realizing that the PCs were more than just glorified typewriters.
Although the World Wide Web project didn’t take off until the initial two years, with the launch of the first successful mass-market browser, Netscape, the number of web users skyrocketed.
As the users continued increasing, the market landscape progressed from email to search engines (Yahoo and Google) and e-commerce websites (Amazon and eBay). Now, this was a treasure house for the marketing industry. Soon email became the new outbound advertising tool, entering the traditional assortment of television, print, radio ads, and telephonic sales. Meanwhile, search engines started indexing new sites that were being made to enable people to acquire information, products, and services they wanted from the comforts of their own houses.
Soon marketing professionals discovered and started utilizing the early SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing, generating backlinks, and excessive tagging to rank higher in the SERPs.
All these online activities were and are still stored as digital information. Studies showed that this digital information was the fastest-growing unique information type that was ever generated, with the majority of text-based information ‘born digital.’ This information is also referred to as “big data.”
Want to know why? Because there was too much of it! Even during the 2000s, it already started replacing its physical equivalents such as paper, film, and optical (CD and DVDs). As new inventions in data recording and storing technologies started taking place, big data soon became a new and irreplaceable resource for marketing units.
Following the internet’s initial hype, the dot-com boom or internet bubble burst, and the marketing strategies once again shifted. Marketers began emphasizing inbound marketing via information sharing, collaborations, and user-centered design. Moreover, the launch of social media websites such as LinkedIn, Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter made this even more achievable as people began sharing personal information online more frequently.
If it wasn’t for big data, tracking patterns and human behaviors wouldn’t be possible today, and its role in the marketing arena is only bound to increase. Big data has enabled marketing professionals to come up with better techniques to strengthen their relationships with customers.
Can you even imagine a world without smartphones and tablets? Because we can’t, considering how they have become an integral part of our everyday lives.
These smartphones have accelerated in the past decade, and the marketing departments are still trying to catch up with it. When it comes to going online, smartphones have officially outshined PCs as a primary digital device. More and more users are spending more time with their smartphones for all purposes.
To become what they are today, smartphones had to undergo a lot of changes. The first true smartphone ever was launched by BlackBerry in the year 2003. From emails to web browsing, calling, and messaging, it supported all of them and, therefore, were mainly used by business people. With the revolutionary release of the iPhone in 2007, smartphones finally found its way into the mass market.
And today, here we are, with almost everybody having a smartphone right in their pockets. So, we guess it’s safe to say that the world moved online and slipped into our pockets. So, where is this world headed to now? To the future of transparency, personalization, and agile marketing.
Today, information is everywhere. Earlier, marketing was all about creating fiction tales and selling products/services, whereas now it’s more about uncovering the truth and sharing it. Consumers are now more sharp-witted, can research any product within seconds, and compare them with competitor offerings and reviews while uncovering any myths during the process.
This development is proving to be a challenge for salespeople as almost 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed even before the customers contact the sales department. With SEO progression, gone are the days when keyword stuffing and spammy backlinks were a thing. This shift has paved the way for original, quality, and valuable content to become the new marketing practice.
And, well, when we put ourselves in the shoes of customers, we can understand the need for transparency. Across social media platforms, approx 20% of the audience can easily tell when a brand is trying to sell their product or service coldly, and when they are genuinely trying to communicate. Meanwhile, 30% of the audience has little to no trust at all on ads or branded content they come across on social media.
Today, the customers are in the driving seat; therefore, marketing professionals must engage with their audience, establishing and strengthening customer relationships, and building brand loyalty.
‘Sharing is caring,’ and this has become a significant part of the modern-day internet landscape. The current, as well as the upcoming generation of techies, are progressively transforming the way information is seen and shared. Being the first-ever mobile-first generation, Gen Z emphasizes on personalization and relevance before anything. Moreover, their habits also differ from the millennials, who just used three screens, typically for interaction. Gen Z, on average, uses five screens – smartphone, laptop, desktop, television, and iPod/iPad.
Big data and user-generated content (UGC) are the best ways to achieve personalization. While big data helps in creating unique content for customers, user-generated content helps empower them. This form of content marketing provides the marketers with adequate creative input and helps them establish a bond between brand and audience. UGC highly influences the purchasing decisions of the millennials.
Agile marketing measures how efficiently a brand achieves its marketing goals. An agile marketing team provides its stakeholders with many strategies and conceptual results with the perspective of executing it instantly. Agile marketers realize that new business is more crucial than new materials; therefore, ROI (return on investment) is a key factor here. In a nutshell, it’s about how quickly the organization can develop new products to cash in on an opportunity and elevate the business.
Social media is one of the main reasons why agile marketing is accelerating today as brands have spent years trying to figure out ways to effectively communicate with their audience on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. These platforms have provided in-depth insights into what type of content works best and resonate with the audience.
Additionally, most popular brands have successfully established their unique personalities on social media in terms of language and tone of voice, while promoting that much-needed transparency for customers. Moreover, companies have also realized that a quick response on social media, when executed correctly, can prove to be very beneficial in a lot of aspects.
With today’s customers expecting immediate responses, this type of marketing can go a long way in fostering conversations and building strong relationships between brands and customers. This will eventually give the customers a sense of connection as the brand will be there to listen and respond to them personally.
With the emergence of the internet, the marketing world has transformed completely. However, keeping up with the latest trends does not mean discarding traditional ways. In fact, traditional methods, when complemented with a touch of modern-day tactics, can reap greater rewards for businesses.
So, with a quick tour in the past three decades, we have been able to get an idea of what our marketing landscape would look like in the next three decades. To ensure that your company stays relevant to the audience, it is vital that you embrace the digital advancements. However, changing your ways too much can also make them feel disconnected. Balance is everything; so take your time to learn and implement strategies.