The History of Marketing: Why You Have More Power Now as a Creator Than Ever Before

To better understand the current marketing climate and the road to success for a creator, artist, or entrepreneur, we have to review human’s relationship with marketing since business was invented. There are 3 main eras in which marketing has impacted the way we do business; all relating to advertising.

Word of Mouth Era

Pre 1900’s

The ancient days when business was conducted on the merit of your goods and services. If you had good fish, you made a living selling that fish at market. People who bought that fish would tell their friends and family how good it is and where they got it. More often than not, those people would trust the buyer and go buy fish from that merchant.

Marketing Tactic: Word of Mouth

Formula for Success: Create a Good, Reliable Product

Shout Marketing Era

Early 1900’s – 2000

For the first time in human history, we now have access to mass population with newspapers, magazines, radio, and eventually television. If you had a product for everyone, you could sell to everyone. The more money you spent on advertising, the more people bought your product. The more people that bought your product, the more money you had to spend on advertising. A vast majority of big brands alive today paved their way with this formula. Unfortunately for them, it does not work anymore and they are too afraid to try anything else.

Seth Godin Coined this Formula “The TV Industrial Complex” in his book Purple Cow

I like to call this the era of Shout Marketing. This is where the voice of the consumer was taken away. The companies did not care who you were or what you had to say. All they cared about was what you were willing to spend money on; what they could hypnotize you into buying. Regardless of what you were doing (driving, watching TV, reading/listening to the news) these companies would interrupt you to shove their product down your throat. This worked for a while. It was so new that people could not see the facade. For the first time in human history, people were being told exactly what to buy. So they did it.

Marketing Tactic: Mass Advertising, Shout Marketing

Formula for Success: Create Ordinary Product ->Advertise to the Masses -> People Buy Products -> Spend Profits on More Adverting: Rinse and Repeat = insane growth

Digital Word of Mouth Era

2000 – Present

A major shift happened in the mid 1990’s and was fully taking hold by the year 2000, the internet. Suddenly, after years of being silenced, the people found their voice again. No longer did they have to tune into whatever the big corporations desired. We could now talk with each other all over the world. Everyone now has a platform to speak openly without being censored. And other people can respond anyway they would like. A conversation can take place; because at a minimum, a conversation is a two-way exchange of information. Thus, the era of conversation marketing began.

A majority of large corporations are at a loss with this medium. What worked for almost a century (mass advertising) now turns customers away. As if we’ve been given a vaccine for advertising, being exposed to them for so long and having a few generations grow up with them we now tune them out. Hell, some of us even go out of our way to avoid them, ie. Ad-block extensions for your web browser.

But the big fellas aren’t listening, they never have. All they know how to do is shout. So now they take the ads that would show on TV, and put them in-between Youtube videos. But did they forget? We have power now. I can click skip in 5 seconds, mute, click away from the ad to something that I actually care about, or, like I already mentioned, have the ad not even appear with an Ad-block extension.

The reason that these companies don’t try something different? Fear of failure. If they all get in line and do what they’ve always done, they can’t be blamed when they fail because everyone else is doing it too. However, the riskiest thing these companies can do right now is not take any risks at all.

That’s where you come in. The risk taker. The one who is willing to listen to their audience and create something they care about. Where you go out on a limb and make or do something so different we cannot help but to pay attention. There is a group of people out there that have a problem that you know how to solve. An audience that cares about what you have to say. We now have the power to find them, or for them to be able to find us, and work with them directly. Word of mouth marketing is back and it takes place instantly all over the world in the digital space.

Marketing Tactic: Digital Word of Mouth, Conversation Marketing

Formula for Success: create something remarkable + connect it with the people who care

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