How Marketing Departments Have Changed their Strategy the Past 20 Years

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Marketing is an ever-evolving industry. And it only makes sense that it does because consumers’ attitudes change overtime. We are not the same type of buyers as we were, say, 50 years ago. It’s evident in the cringe-inducing vintage ads we saw from the 40s to the 60s. 

However, we’re not going to go that far. We’re already know how less aware people were back then. What we really want to look at is how marketing has changed in the last 20 years. We have experienced so many technological advancements in the last two decades that has greatly impacted the way marketers advertise.

Let’s take a look at the trends that marketing departments have had to implement in their strategies in the last 20 years.

1. Big Data

Before Facebook and Instagram, there was Myspace and Friendster. These were the original social media platforms that paved the way for big data. Back then, user personal data was a goldmine of insight that businesses could use to increase their sales. This information made it possible for businesses to track their customer’s behavior and create marketing messages that were more effective. 

2. SEO

Search engines like Google was already around in the late 90s but it wasn’t until the mid-2000s did it become more common to start optimizing one’s site for search engines. When SEO became mainstream, marketers dug deeper into the customer’s minds. Gone are the days when ad men would shove marketing slogans right up consumer’s throats. If you wanted to be found in search engine results, you have to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and figure out what they need. 

3. Inbound marketing

A natural result of SEO marketing was inbound marketing. As I mentioned before, the focus was more on what the customer needs rather than what the marketer think the customer needs. If you’re not digging deep into your buyer persona, you’re not going to sell a product. This brings back the power to consumers who now have the ability to choose from various businesses. If they don’t like what they see, it’s easy to just click the X button and go the competitor’s website. 

Additionally, marketing departments do more than just sell the product. They also educate the customer, guide them in the buying process. Even going as far as keeping in constant communication with them via email newsletters. This is all done with no guarantee that they will buy. It’s called demand generation marketing, and it runs on the principle of creating awareness for your brand and being helpful to the customer so when the time comes that they make a buying decision, they choose you. 

4. Social Media and Smartphones

The earliest smartphone, Blackberry, allowed you to email, text, make phone calls, and browse. But now, our smartphones, do way more than just that! So much so, that people now use smartphones more than they use their computer. 

This is in large part due to social media. By this time, almost all brands already have a social media presence. Your business can’t thrive today if you don’t have a social media pages. This is not just to create brand awareness but generate revenue as well. Most people are on social media nowadays and its imperative for business to be where their target customers are.

5. Transparency and Ethics

Buyers are much more savvy now. Thanks to the information revolution, a typical 20-something will know have more knowledge on a wide variety of things. More than anything, consumers want to buy from businesses that support their beliefs. This is why you’ll come across ads from big brands like Nike or Dove which don’t really focus on the product but more on the ethics or beliefs they have. 

Which strategies in the last decade are you still using today? Share your thoughts in the comments below.