The Present Day

So far in this series, we’ve dealt with the evolution of marketing from the nineteenth century up until the new millennium. But what state is the world of marketing in right now? And what developments can we expect in the future? In this final piece, we’ll take a peek into that future, and discover how marketers are using a unique blend of old and new approaches to capture the attention of a new generation.

Those who said that social media was just a fad that would soon pass must be kicking themselves right now. Instead, it’s gone from strength to strength, and nowadays the whole world is more connected than ever before. Over a billion people are now on Facebook, and they, along with other social media companies like Twitter, have made it simple to pay for an ad and reach a pre-determined number of people, allowing small and large companies alike to stick to their marketing budget and get the results that they need to succeed.

The Present day - the history of marketing

While the scope of marketing has gotten bigger and bigger as time goes on, the actual mediums through which people are exposed to that marketing have shrunk from billboards to TV and computer screens. Now, ads can be delivered straight to your pocket via mobile phones. From pop ups on the latest apps to adverts that play in between Snapchat stories, there are now more ways than ever to reach out to people with a message. And people are using that technology more and more, meaning marketing is in a great position to influence people.

The Present day - the history of marketing mobile

That’s not to say that older marketing methods don’t still have a place in today’s world. In fact, some research puts direct mail slightly ahead of email marketing in terms of how likely it is to influence people. In an increasingly digital world, you’d be surprised just how many people out there prefer a physical, analogue approach to things. You only have to look at the resurgence in popularity of vinyl records to see that there’s still something about physical objects that attracts people over cold, hard digital. It’s simple to just delete an email without even looking at it, but people need to at least pick up a piece of direct mail before throwing it away- making it easier for advertisers to catch their eye.

Another form of marketing experiencing a renaissance in popularity is product placement. TV shows and films have always been willing to include brand-name products for the right price. However, as the video game industry continues to grow- with an estimated worth of over $100 billion in 2017- advertisers have started to branch out into this more modern medium. Back in 2004, the amount that companies spent on product placement was a pretty modest $34 million. By 2016, though, that figure had increased to a whopping $7.2 billion. At the same time, with social media being so popular, so-called “influencers” are also being paid to promote certain brands and products via their accounts, reaching out to a vast, ready-made audience.

The Present day - the history of marketing tv and gaming

So, what can we expect from marketing in the future? Well, there’s one big technology that’s starting to emerge right now, and that’s virtual reality. While it’s still in its early stages, VR looks set to finally take off in the next few years as it becomes more accessible and affordable. Naturally, you can expect marketing firms to take advantage of that popularity, and come up with a whole new way of reaching out to consumers. Imagine not just looking at an ad, but actually being inside it! Marketing has always thrived on novelty, since people are naturally attracted to new things. VR is a great way of achieving that, since it’s a completely untapped area.

The Present day - the history of marketing virtual reality

By always staying at the forefront of technology, while still understanding how older approaches fit in with today’s world, marketing has evolved and adapted over the years. In just a few decades, marketing has completely transformed into a whole new beast. Whatever’s around the corner, you can be sure that the industry will adapt.

The 90’s, The 00’s and The Rise of The Internet

Last time in this series, we looked at how marketing carved out a brave new world for itself in the 80’s. This time around, we’ll be exploring the ways in which marketing approaches changed during the 90’s and 00’s- and how the internet turned everything on its head.

During the 90’s, the world faced its biggest cultural revolution since the invention of the printing press- the internet. With more and more people getting online and discovering the world wide web, people became connected in a whole new way. Now, instead of the regular post, people were using email to communicate- and that presented a huge opportunity for businesses. By getting people to sign up to mailing lists, companies could send out ads and information about special offers, all for free. That prospect was a little too tantalizing for some marketers, though, and it led to the development of so-called “spam” email- unsolicited messages that simply took up space in people’s inboxes.

In 1998, the world of marketing was turned on its head with the launch of Google. Before then, search engines weren’t really a thing, and if you wanted to get to a certain page, you either needed the URL or a link to it. Mass email was always an option to reach out to people, but many people were wary of spam in these early days of the internet. Now, though, consumers could easily find what they needed with just a few clicks- which naturally led to all sorts of companies vying for the top spots in search results. Search Engine Optimisation and paid search ads quickly became the norm for businesses that want to succeed.

The 90’s, The 00’s and The Rise of The Internet - the history of marketing Google

Throughout the 00’s and into today, social media has become the king of the internet. It’s now the main way that people get information online, with hundreds of millions of us catching up on our newsfeeds every single day. Sites like Facebook have gone from small pet projects only intended for a select audience to huge, world-conquering corporations. The reason why social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are so important for marketing is because it’s incredibly easy to not just reach out to people, but to create a two-way relationship. Consumers can now talk back, and that lets businesses listen to their comments and tailor their approach accordingly.

Meanwhile, in 2005, YouTube launched, totally transforming the way that people accessed content online. Instead of paying for extra bandwidth to host videos on their own sites, there was now a handy place where anyone could upload their videos to be seen by the whole world- all for free! It wasn’t long before companies started to take advantage of that by launching quirky video ad campaigns designed to go viral. On top of this, companies started to launch dedicated sites for ad campaigns which, like guerilla marketing, spread through word-of-mouth. One notable example of this was Burger King’s “Subservient Chicken”. By visiting the site, users could give the chicken (played by an actor in a costume) commands to follow. Originally intended to promote a single new product, the chicken was a runaway success, and the site ran for over three years.

There’s no doubt about just how much the rise of the internet during this time changed the face of marketing. In just a short space of time, things had moved on from mimicking traditional advertising in a digital form, to coming up with brand new ways of capturing the public’s imagination. Things were moving fast- and in our next and final piece in this series, we’ll take a look at the state of the marketing world today, and what we can expect to see in the near future.

It Was Acceptable In The 80’s

During the 80’s, it seemed like technology was everywhere. From the rise of the PC and Apple making computers cool, to bands on the radio drenching their sound in synths, things were moving forward fast. Of course, the world of marketing had its finger on the pulse of the era, and it was during the 80’s that advertising started to go digital. Electronic databases made it simple to reach out to existing customers and attract new ones with tempting deals. This also led to the development of “relationship marketing”, where companies provide customers with information that’s specifically relevant to them. Now, instead of giving everyone the same message, marketing could now be tweaked, making it a lot easier to reel in leads.

It was acceptable in the 80's - the history of marketing computer

It was also during the 80’s that companies started thinking bigger when it came to ads. One of the most famous adverts in history, Apple’s “1984”, was the brainchild of Hollywood director Ridley Scott, and cost almost a million dollars just to make. With a distinctive sci-fi feel that captured the feeling of the era, while also showing the Apple Mac as something futuristic and cool, the ad became an instant sensation. Despite being broadcast nationally only once, during the Super Bowl, it became such a talking point that news broadcasts even included clips of it that night- generating millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity for Apple. Just as Michael Jackson was pushing the boundaries of what music videos could be, now the marketing world was starting to think big, too.

With big corporations now regularly spending millions on ad campaigns, smaller companies needed a way of keeping up without blowing their budget. In 1984, Jay Conrad Levinson came up with a solution- guerilla marketing. In his book of the same name, he put forward a type of advertising based on the guerilla warfare used by small-scale armies to take on bigger enemies- by using everything at their disposal. By using these same sorts of tactics, and thinking outside the box, Levinson saw a way for small businesses to capture the minds of consumers without spending a lot of money. Guerilla marketing relies on creating a social buzz around a campaign, and relying on word-of-mouth to spread your message. Not only does it save a fortune compared to big-budget campaigns, but Levinson also saw it as a way of reaching out to a public tired of bland, boring print and radio ads. From art installations and spray-painted slogans to zany stunts like having people tattoo logos on their faces, all bets were off when it came to where companies would turn next for guerilla marketing.

It was acceptable in the 80's - the history of marketing radio

While the possibilities grew, so did the number of people who could put together their own marketing materials. With desktop publishing becoming commonplace, anyone with enough computer savvy and creative skills could put together a strong marketing campaign with real results. No longer was marketing something that only big corporations could afford- thanks to a wealth of smaller ad agencies, the 80’s marked a huge change in just how accessible marketing was to the average business. Businesses could even create their own marketing materials from scratch, making advertising a whole lot more democratic.

So, the 1980’s were a time of great change for the marketing world. At one end of the spectrum, big corporations were spending unprecedented amounts on campaigns designed to wow the public. At the other end, those without a big budget to spend were coming up with innovative new approaches that worked through word-of-mouth. However, everything was about to change with the advent of the internet- and next time, we’ll take a look at just what impact this had on how businesses looked at advertising.

In The Beginning…

It’s very easy to take marketing for granted. After all, we’re faced with it almost constantly throughout our daily lives, whether it’s ads on TV, direct mail through our letterboxes, or via the internet. However, have you ever stopped to wonder about how all these different marketing methods have developed? In this series, we’ll be taking a look at how marketing has evolved over the years, and how the world of marketing has always been quick to adopt new approaches and technologies to help savvy businesses stay ahead of the game.

In the beginning - the history of marketing trademarks

You might think that spam is something that only originated with email, but in fact it goes back a lot further. In fact, in 1864 a group of British politicians were sent an “urgent” message by telegram that turned out to be an advertisement for a local dental practice. From this simple example of a company trying its luck in getting a little extra publicity, a whole new approach to marketing was born!

Another important development in marketing during the nineteenth century was the use of trademarks as a marketing tool. Unlike patents, which protect inventors from having their creations stolen, trademarks deal specifically with marketing- usually with logos, product names, and so on. The creation of trademark law was a huge step forward for marketing, as it encourages businesses to do something to mark themselves out from the competition. Now, as well as advertisements, the product or company itself could be made a key part of marketing. The first ever trademark in the UK was issued to the Bass Brewery in 1876, for their distinctive triangle logo.

By the turn of the twentieth century, it became clear that marketing was a hugely powerful tool in the business world, and one that no company could afford to miss out on. “Business” now took on a whole new meaning, as companies competed with each other to capture the hearts and minds of their customers. To help train up a new generation of marketing gurus, the University of Pennsylvania was the first institution to offer a dedicated marketing course in 1905, entitled “The Marketing of Products”. The concept caught on, and within just three years the Harvard Business School opened in 1908. Now it was official- marketing was an integral part of business, and those who couldn’t keep up were doomed to failure.

In the beginning - the history of marketing type writer

Marketing has always been quick to adopt new technology, from the earliest radio ads in 1922 to TV advertising in 1941. That also included telemarketing, which started to crop up in the 1950s as more people started to get their own phone lines. While they might be annoying, there’s no doubt that telemarketing calls generate a huge amount of revenue every day- and the fact that it’s still going strong after over 60 years shows that older forms of marketing still have a place in an increasingly digital world.

In the beginning - the history of marketing telesales

Up until the middle of the twentieth century, marketing still used the same old tried and tested approaches, albeit using the latest technology available to deliver their message. By the tail-end of the 1980’s, though, it was clear that a change had to come, as the public started to get tired of the way they were exposed to marketing. Next time, we’ll look at how the 80’s gave businesses big and small some brand new ways of reaching out to the public- and making advertising a bit more fun!

I have over 11 years of experience in marketing and have had experience working across the ever-changing marketing approaches. If you would like to discuss your marketing CLICK HERE to arrange a meeting (if you sign up with us mentioning this article you will get a FREE blog article every month for the duration of your campaign)

What’s New on Social Media in 2017

It is one of the most powerful tools for businesses ever invented. Social media has transformed how we market ourselves and, for SMEs on limited budgets in particular, it’s an invaluable platform to set out a brand and sell a product or service.

Things are changing, however. Reaching customers is becoming more and more nuanced. Here are just some of the changes that are happening this year and are important if you want your business to succeed on social media.

  1. Social Messaging for Beginners

Forget standard Facebook and Twitter timelines. Millennials want the personal approach. Businesses are starting to engage on platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and Viber.

Why? Evidence is beginning to show that users are loyal to a greater degree with brands that engage directly on these platforms. How are businesses doing this? Many are linking their ads on social media to chat windows which means users can engage directly with a brand and get the personal touch. It’s more labour intensive but it could also be a lot more profitable too.

  1. Live Feeds

They’ve taken a while to gain popularity but live feeds are starting to become an integral part of social media platforms, including Facebook. Across the provision, social media live streaming is growing and creating more engagement than standard marketing practices. Millennials are one major demographic who are attracted to live video feeds and sharing the right kind of content is going to be the challenge of 2017 for many businesses.

  1. Chatbots and Automation

There’s been a big conversation in recent times about how automation can be introduced, particularly for businesses that are struggling with the time needed to successfully engage on social media. Artificial intelligence is improving quickly and the latest chatbots can make users think they are talking to a real person. Putting aside the ethics of using automatic responses, there’s no doubt that many businesses are improving their customer service operations by introducing this kind of technology. Chatbots on social media can have numerous benefits and boost confidence in your brand particularly among those all-important millennials.

  1. Augmented Reality

It’s been around for a good few years now but is, at last, beginning to catch on. Facebook is starting to experiment with it following the recent success of Pokémon Go and the growth of Virtual Reality devices and apps. Basically, AR puts digital images onto the real world and there is a lot of potential for social media, and businesses, to make good use of this technology and provide a more immersive experience for fans and followers.

  1. It’s All Fake News

Made popular by new President Donald J Trump in recent months, the notion of fake news is one thing that your business shouldn’t ignore. Social media platforms such as Facebook are looking at ways of reducing the amount of fake news that is disseminated through click bait sites. For businesses, it may well be a case of keeping a look out and being sceptical about information they intend to pass on via social media. A lot, of course, depends on what your business is all about but quick retweets of interesting news snippets is going to be a lot more hazardous for your brand from now on.

It’s vitally important nowadays to have a coherent strategy in place for social media, including policies for what can be shared and what definitely shouldn’t. There’s no doubt that 2017 could be an interesting year for businesses, and leveraging your brand in new and exciting ways is going to take some deep thinking and a good deal of experimentation to find what works for you.

Building Your Brand on Social Media

It’s one of the most powerful marketing tools businesses today have at their disposal. It’s free to use and can help you reach thousands, if not millions, of potential new customers, fans and followers. It’s often also the marketing opportunity that businesses get wrong. If you think social media isn’t working for you at the moment, then changing your approach could make all the difference.

1. Regular Engagement

Consistency is vital on the web and that means having a firm brand identity and a plan for communicating with customers, fans and followers. Regular engagement is important if you want to keep your brand ‘alive’ and in the minds of those who follow you, whether it’s on sites such as Facebook or through the shortened communications of Twitter. It’s not just about throwing tonnes of content out there, however. Consistency in the quality is key.

While you should be looking to post frequent content, it needs to have the quality and the relevance that reflect your brand identity and the needs of your customers. This has to be consistent across different platforms as well, so that your messages stay uniform. Get this right and you will find that readers will engage better and know what to expect from your feeds. 

2. Reach and Authority

Respect is vital on social media and is another big part of building your brand. Creating authority is a difficult thing to achieve if you don’t have a strong brand identity. Know what you stand for and post content that reflects and you will instil a sense of authority for the people who read your posts.

That doesn’t mean you need to be dull when it comes to posting content. In order to attract more followers, you will need to project professionalism in your social media work. Of course, your content can be quirky and weird if it fits with your demographic and your brand. Unorthodox content can be highly popular with a wide range of people. But as you build your brand in social media, you should keep in mind that you should always respect your followers and other social media users. Not doing so can turn off a good part of your audience.

Reach and authority is a complex balancing act and you need to be clear about where you actually stand.

3. How to Be Responsive on Social Media

When getting involved in social media activities, it is important to keep in mind that your main goal should be engagement. Social media offers great opportunities in terms of connecting with readers and potential customers. You are not a static entity throwing out posts and hoping others will pass on your good news. Pretend that you are in a room full of people and your job is to network. That means you have to talk, you have to respond, you have to engage.

When your readers click on, recommend or share your content, your website benefits so it’s worth throwing out a thank you or at least reciprocating by sharing some of their content. And, if someone asks a question, answer them. Readers appreciate when you, as the website author, actively engage in conversation with them.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Watch what you competitors are up to and try different approaches and gauge how they work. Social media can deliver success for any business, it’s just a question of finding the right formula that boosts engagement and delivers your brand to your fans and followers.

Are you are looking to save time on your social media we have a great tool which is like Hootsuite and Buffer which can do this for you! Just CLICK HERE and save time on your social media!

The Importance of Systems and Processes in Business

It might be fun to fly by the seat of your pants but you can’t do it all the time. Having the proper structure to your business and putting in place systems and processes that improve productivity and maintain quality are a much better guarantees of success.

When you first start up a business, you may find that you are able to control all the different challenges that come your way. As you get more successful, however, there comes a point when you have to put the right plans in place.

What are Systems?

They’re basically the documented processes and procedures that you need to follow to do your business. This can be anything from how to operate a piece of tech or machinery to how marketing material is disseminated. It can include putting your brand to the fore in any client contact or simply the right process for chasing up a sales call.

The reason many businesses don’t get on board with sorting out their systems and processes is that they are often seen as back room measures. The newest developments and the latest client are much more exciting. Putting in systems, however, means that people coming into your organisation to work have a strong framework to operate from.

Another reason that business neglect this particular area of their daily functioning is that it’s a thing which can be put off. We’ll do it tomorrow or we’ll schedule some time to get it done in the next month or so. This is understandable, particularly if you are working hard to get a business off the ground and have ‘more important’ things to do.

But systems and processes need to be put in place. They are actually vital and they can save you a lot of time and money. Here are just a few more benefits:

  • They are important if you want to move on and sell your business. Potential buyers expect systems and processes in place, they don’t expect to have to do all this work themselves.
  • Systems and processes prepare you to expand and scale up. It means you can take on new staff knowing that your business is going to stay on a desired course and not veer away because someone didn’t know how to do something important.
  • They make your brand and your business operation consistently. Everyone knows where they stand and what to do when X or Y happens.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time a situation comes up. It saves on time and money if you have a process for this or that eventuality.

Implementing sound systems and processes can include:

  • Introducing accounting systems that keep track of sales and expenditure.
  • Writing down your business plan for at least the next five years, including what goals you need to achieve and by when.
  • How are you going to fund new developments and when you need it by.
  • How you are going to manage recruitment and what new employees need to know when they start working for you.
  • Creating a policy for technology including the use of secure passwords and the dos and don’ts of operation.
  • How you are going to bill people and collect money.
  • Where you are going to market and develop your brand.
  • What customer support you are going to provide and how this is going to be delivered uniformly and to a high standard.

Basically, as your business grows the more need for systems and processes you are going to have. While your business may be small now, the hope is that it will begin to scale up and become a success. Rather than putting them on the back burner for now, having a detailed think about what processes and systems you need in place is better done sooner, rather than later.


How to Save Time on Social Media

Cost effective to use and with potential access to hundreds of thousands of customers, social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools around today. Get it right and you can bring your brand and potential customers together in a way that boosts sales, creates loyalty and puts you way ahead of your competitors.

Don’t wing it, plan it

Where many businesses fall down online is not planning their social media engagement well enough. Occasional tweets and Facebook posts do little to build strong relationships with customers. Having a plan in place that involves deciding on the kind of information you are going to share with your followers, how you are going to actively engage with them and how you run effective marketing campaigns that promote brand and product awareness all involve bringing a number of different strands together.

Of course, SMEs can often be restricted by the time they have to devote to such things. That’s why it can be beneficial to outsource the handling of your social media presence to a team that knows what they are doing. The main thing is that without a plan you are leaving a valuable part of your ongoing marketing strategy to chance.

Building Followers on Social Media

If you’re expecting people to follow your account without your business investing any or little time in growing its popularity online, then you may have a long wait. Building a following takes a lot of work, especially if you want fans to develop interest in your brand and engage over the longterm. A number of businesses try to take a short cut and buy followers online – something which costs money and actually delivers no real benefits. To succeed, you need to nurture your fan base organically. That means making the right choices and choosing marketing initiatives that work.

Keywords and Groups

Checking what is trending about your particular industry and the keywords which people are using to search and find your business is important. It also comes down to that age old adage – if you know where your customers are hanging out then you can find them. Everything from hashtags to Facebook groups can help you engage with less effort rather than using a scattergun approach that brings low value results.

Get into social media advertising

Choosing pay per click advertising on social media can help you reach specific demographics and build your following and customer base equally organically. These tools have become far more sophisticated in recent years with the addition of more demographics, better targeting, easy to understand metrics and the opportunity to set your budget so that you campaign within your means. Done well, social media paid advertising can deliver great results that send your business to the next level.

Monitoring results

When it comes down to it, if you can’t monitor how your strategy is working then you can’t really make the changes that improve performance. There is no one size fits all strategy. What works for your business won’t necessarily work for a competitor and vice versa. The good news is that metrics are available that can help you tweak and improve your social media strategy, cutting down the time you spend on activities that deliver little in the way of results and concentrating more on those that do.

Developing a comprehensive social media marketing plan can save you plenty of time and deliver potential customers right to your door. Simply put, it is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal and a digital solution you can’t afford to treat lightly.

If you need any help with your social media or online marketing please pop your details in our contact us  page and we will get in contact with you to help!

Also if you are looking to save time on your social media we have a great tool which is like Hootsuite and Buffer which can do this for you! Just CLICK HERE and save time on your social media!