Three Ways Marketing Has Evolved During Our 25 Years in Business
SW1 recently turned 25! We’re celebrating in a number of ways, one of which is that we’ve stocked up on new branded pens. Not only do they look great, they are multipurpose as well. On top of writing with them, the lid’s built-in stylus allows you to use them on your phone, tablet, or other touchscreen device.
Which got us thinking: we’re celebrating 25 years in marketing with a promotional item which would not have been much use back in 1991. Sure, the touchscreen was invented circa 1965, and the tablet patented in 1969, but a soft rubber-tipped stylus would not have worked well on those devices, where only a hard-tipped stylus, or particularly forceful finger jab would have registered as an input. It wasn’t until the mid-00s that touchscreen technology truly entered the mass market. It seemed innovative at the time; now, most of the people we hand out the touchscreen stylus pen to will have at least one device that they can use it with.
Touchscreens are a technology which has developed and changed since we started out in marketing. But there are others which didn’t exist at all. Seeing as people often get nostalgic on their birthdays, we thought it would be fitting for us to take a look back and admire the way marketing is changed during our time in business, and highlight the new ways of doing business the technological advances have gifted us with.
Targeted Advertising: The Cheap and Effective Way to Market Online
Marketing has always been targeted. At a very basic level, you’re not going to get a very good uptake on an advert for lawnmowers if it is aimed at people living in tower blocks. But targeted online advertising allows marketers to become much more specific and precise with their campaigns. Thanks to cookies (small files your computer downloads from websites to help them remember certain information about you) marketers are able to display their adverts only to those who fit the right criteria such as age, gender and location. If you can think of a way to filter people by niche – whether that’s political views, preference for certain new sites, or where they buy their clothes – targeted advertising allows you to do it.
The other thing targeted advertising has done is to democratise online marketing. When businesses first started advertising on the web they were limited to banner ads in one form or another. These could be expensive; they still can be. Because targeted advertising operates on a pay per click (PPC) basis, you only have to pay out when your marketing works. Whether you have a budget of thousands or a few pounds, anyone from a stay at home mumpreneur to a large multinational corporation can make use of targeted advertising. It’s so much more accessible for businesses of all sizes and other effective methods of advertising, such as television or magazine adverts.
Video Marketing: The Power of Television Advertising in Your Pocket
Video is one of the most engaging and persuasive forms of content. Once upon a time, if you wanted your target audience to see your video advertisements, you have to pay a lot of money to put it in the ad break of their favourite show. Instantly you’d be on the back foot, as one of the companies responsible for disrupting their programme. Trying to market to someone who doesn’t want to be marketed to doesn’t set you up for success. And of course your advert would have to stand shoulder to shoulder with several other companies all vying for attention.
The advent of smartphones, and faster mobile data networks such as 4G (with 5G on the horizon), has given you a way of presenting video to your target market when and where they want it. Touchscreens have helped here: this kind of interface requires a bigger screen, so phones have gotten larger. This means there is more viewing area for your content, allowing you to use high-quality video to effectively get your message across. If you harness the power of content marketing, your videos can become something your target market is desperate to watch.
Websites, and the Dawn of Usability
Once upon a time, simply having a website was an impressive enough feat to make your business stand out. To this end, business owners often didn’t care what their websites really looked like. Because of the limited possibilities afforded in terms of coding and features, it was a lot more straightforward for someone with a little know-how to set up a website for themselves. Which explains why so many of them looked hideous. You can still find 15-year-old websites on the internet, and they are often garish beyond belief: tiled pictures, countless animations, and clashing colours abound.
Three things have changed: the sheer flexibility of web design and development means that pretty much anything is possible; websites are now ubiquitous, so every business needs one in order to be relevant; mobile phones, in particular touchscreen technology, mean there is now huge demand for websites which can be viewed on small, portable devices.
People now demand more from your website. They not only want it to look pleasing on the eye, they want to be able to navigate it easily - often on their mobile device. Web designers have to balance creating something visually impressive with putting together a website that makes all the information the user needs front and centre. It’s not that we would all be looking at awful websites if mobile phones didn’t exist, just that the need for flexibility has helped focus web design upon the most important issues for the end user.
Not Everything Has Changed
A lot of things about marketing may have changed. The computers we use have gotten a lot smaller, for starters. The way people want to be marketed to has changed as well. The fact that we can create campaigns which instantly respond to the user, or adverts that display themselves only to exactly the right people, has revolutionised the way we do business.
But some things never change. At its core, marketing has always relied upon a strong understanding of your product, your business, and your customer. As we have seen with the shift to social, very little about marketing has really changed. The channels we use may be different, as is the technology, but at the heart of it is still a requirement for a strong message and the solution to a common problem.
And it’s that understanding, rather than simply being able to keep up with the technology of the times, which has allowed us to thrive in business for the past 25 years. Here’s to the next quarter of a century, and all the technology, methodology, and fads it brings with it!