How Has Marketing Changed over the Past Half-Century? - Deepstash
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The History Of Marketing

The History Of Marketing

The term “marketing” appeared in the 1900s to describe activities and institutions taking place in markets, and early marketing textbooks were largely descriptive of these activities and institutions.

Marketing Management, which was published in 1967, was the first text to use an analytical approach to marketing and include findings of scholarly studies.

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Driven By Customer Needs

One of the key underlying ideas advanced in the very first edition of the book was that company actions must be driven by customers and their needs. This core principle of customer-centricity has remained the central idea across all editions of the book.

The rise of big data, social media, and sophisticated e-commerce has not changed the fact that a key purpose of any company is to create value for its customers.

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Delivering Value

Marketing is all about understanding, designing, communicating, and delivering value. This is the foundation of marketing strategy and has not changed with time. What has changed are the tools that companies use to create value.

Data analytics, automation, and artificial intelligence are very powerful tools in managing value, but they are just tools. Without a sound strategy guiding their use, they can become a distraction from a company’s core mission.

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The New Focus: Societal Value

One important change that affects the business philosophy of many companies is redefining their ultimate purpose. As a result, an increasing number of companies include the creation of societal value in their mission statements.

This is an important development that is likely to have long-term consequences on the way these companies act in the marketplace and the way they structure their business processes.

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The New Approach

In the old days, a brand simply told you what the product is and does and how it’s priced. But today, a brand is the company’s promise to deliver a specific benefit that addresses a particular need of its customers.

Moreover, the promise of many brands extends beyond functionality and reflects certain aspects of customers’ identity.

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Countering Commoditization

As more and more products are becoming commoditized, customers are looking beyond functionality for something that is meaningful. It is no longer just about the product.

It is also about who the company behind this product is and what this company stands for. As companies understand this, they realize that to be successful in the market, they might have to reinvent their culture and realign it with the values held by their customers.

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Having A Purpose

Having a purpose also helps companies attract and retain employees. If you stand for something, you have a better chance of getting and keeping the right people, which ultimately will enhance profitability.

This also extends to a company’s partners. For example, companies like Whole Foods prioritize suppliers that employ environmentally friendly and socially responsible business practices.

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Same Goal, New Approach

The ultimate goal is to create value, what has changed is the proliferation of information. In the past, advertising was the main tool to inform customers about products. Now, customers can get detailed product information from a variety of sources, both from the company as well as from other customers.

And the same goes for companies. The proliferation of social media and the advancement in data analytics enables companies to know in real-time not only what customers are doing but also how they are feeling about their brands.

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An Intelligent Customer

It’s important to realize that today’s consumers are different. They are connected with so many people from so many other parts of the world and can find information with a simple click, without needing a salesman or an ad.

Anyone who’s going to buy a car will probably end up seeing a salesman in the dealership, but most will have done a lot of their own work to know about their options. We have to recognize the existence of such an intelligent, well-informed consumer, which means companies have to make big changes to their traditional marketing tools.

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Going To The Store

People tend to go shopping in brick-and-mortar stores for different reasons.

  • Some go for purely utilitarian reasons. They appreciate the fact that they can see what the product looks and feels like in reality and will eventually be able to buy it instantly and take it home.
  • Others go for more hedonic reasons; for them, it is more about the shopping experience. They don’t go to brick-and-mortar stores to save time but to spend time.
  • For many, it is also a chance to socialize with friends and family.

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Customer-Centric Job Roles

In the past, marketing was not part of the development of the product. It was only called in after the product was made. Then it was the marketers’ job to sell as much as they could.

But now marketing participates in product development. Marketers can offer design ideas and features. Engineers are the masters of the possible, but it is marketers who can best assess value because they are better at understanding the customers’ criteria for buying a product.

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Transparency And Accountability

As technological developments enable companies to track the impact of their activities, managers are expected to be able to document the return on the company’s marketing investment. This has its advantages and drawbacks.

  • On the positive side, it enables the company to better allocate its marketing resources to areas where they will have the highest impact.
  • On the downside, however, this might focus the company’s marketing efforts on activities that produce short-term effects, to the detriment of activities such as brand building that have a long-term payout.

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