Over the years, marketing always had to adjust to the advancements in technology. Post invention of the phone and the popularity of television, we had a significant change in marketing history with the introduction of commercially sold Personal Computers.
Many marketing professionals do not know what the future holds for them but believe that digital marketing will always be essential for their organization. Let’s look back at three crucial technological developments that altered the way we view marketing – the internet, big data and smartphones – and find out how they can be building blocks for the future.
Digital marketing from the past
The incorporation of the internet into everyday life is the most impactful event that has shaped marketing over the past three decades. Even though desktop publishing software facilitated a boost in print marketing in the 1980s, back then, computers were nothing more than an overrated typewriter.
The World Wide Web project, launched in 1991, did not make strides until the mass-market browser, Netscape, was released in 1994. Over the next two years, the number of people who used the web increased from 16 million to 70 million people.
As the number of people using the internet increased, the web grew with e-commerce sites like Amazon (1994), email like Yahoo! (1994), and search engines like Google. Email became a marketing tool just like telephone sales and print, radio and TV advertisements. Search engines allowed users to discover services, products and information from their homes. Back then, marketers used excessive tagging, backlinks and keyword stuffing to get high rankings.
Online data has always been archived as digital information. Research in 2000 concluded that digital information was the fastest growing and unique information created. This information is called big data because there is a lot of it.
In 2000, big data replaced its counterparts of film, paper and optical (CD and DVD). New findings in data storage and recording technology allowed big data to be a new resource for marketing departments that cannot be replaced.
In 2001, marketing tactics changed. More weight was placed on inbound marketing through user-centered design, collaboration and information sharing. With the emergence of social media sites like LinkedIn (2002), Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2007), inbound marketing became more possible as users shared more personal data online. Big data also allowed for the trends and patterns of human behavior to be tracked. Data-driven marketing has garnered enough traction that numerous companies have appeared that specialize in using it.
Over the last decade, tablets and smartphones have come out and marketers still have a lot to learn about it. Even now, due to their portability and ease of access, smartphones have become the primary digital device for going online.
In the 1970s and 1980s, mobile phones were primarily meant to be used in cars. The first-ever true modern cell phone was manufactured by BlackBerry in 2003 and was used mostly by business professionals for phone calls, web browsing, text messages and email.
In 2007, smartphones were mass-marketed with the appearance of the iPhone. Now there are a higher number of 4G users. While smartphones are used for their assortment of features, one out of four smartphone owners do not make any traditional voice calls.
Digital marketing for the future
Since information has expanded from online to our pockets, what’s next for marketing? Moving forward, you’ll see more transparent, personalized and agile marketing.
Marketing has evolved from selling a legend to sharing a truth. Transparency is important when it comes to customers’ brand perception. A study in 2016 founded that 94% of respondents remain loyal to a transparent brand. It is imperative for marketers to continually engage their audience to establish authentic relationships and brand loyalty.
Personalization and relevance are extremely necessary. These attributes can be accomplished through user-generated content and big data. User-generated content can give power to customers while big data can create a tailored experience for people. Gen Zers and Millennials are quite influenced by user-generated content campaigns, like a campaign where people can send in their photos.
Agile marketing is an approach where teams use their collective efforts on valuable projects and finish those projects together, measure their impact and slowly improve the results over time. With agile marketing, marketers can go through dialogues with their customers and listen to and engage with their customers in relatable ways.