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The History of Marketing: How and When Did Marketing Start?

The Early Days of Marketing

Marketing has been around for centuries, dating back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In those times, merchants used simple signs and symbols to advertise their goods and services, often featuring images of their products or the animals used to transport them. Actually, if you go to Ephesus in Turkey (part of ancient Greece), you'll see marks advertising the brothel.

As time went on, trade fairs and markets became more common, allowing merchants to sell their wares directly to customers. With competition increasing, branding became more important as merchants sought to differentiate their products from those of their competitors. Heraldic symbols and other distinctive markings were used to identify a merchant's products and establish their reputation. This is the era were things started to change for the global economy and merchants gain power and respect over royals.

Image from Daily Infographic

The Birth of Modern Marketing

During the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution brought about a more systematic approach to marketing. As factories and mass production became more common, companies began to adopt a more systematic approach to marketing.

Department store owner John Wanamaker was a pioneer in the use of advertising to promote his store, and he introduced the concept of window displays to showcase his products.

In the early 20th century, marketing became a more scientific discipline as companies began to conduct market research to better understand their customers' needs and preferences.

Advertising agencies were slowly but shortly established to help companies create more effective marketing campaigns. And many of them started as public relations agencies and professionals who through their connection with the press would push certain brands, personalities, movies... to success.

Claude Hopkins was one of the most influential figures in the early days of modern marketing. He was a pioneer in the use of direct mail and coupons to promote products, and he emphasized the importance of measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

The Golden Age of Advertising

The period between the 1950s and the 1980s is often referred to as the "Golden Age of Advertising." During this time, advertising became more creative and sophisticated, with many iconic campaigns that are still remembered today. You may see several references to it in the TV show Mad Men.

One of the most famous advertising campaigns of this era was "Think Small" for Volkswagen, which used humor and wit to promote the small size of the car. Other notable campaigns from this period include "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" for Coca-Cola and "Just Do It" for Nike.

The Rise of Digital Marketing

With the internet in the 1990s, digital marketing revolutionized the way that companies promote their products and interact with customers. And marketers started to talk about above-the-line and below-the-line marketing. However, as social media and other platforms started to develop, many started to talk about the internet as an across-the-line marketing as it became more mainstream but still kept qualities of below-the-line marketing.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have given companies and people new ways to engage with their audiences and build brand awareness. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising have become essential tools for driving website traffic and generating leads.

Today's complex marketing world

Today, marketing has become an increasingly data-driven discipline. Companies are using big data and analytics to gain insights into their customers' behavior and preferences. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are also being used to automate and optimize marketing campaigns.

Marketing has come a long way from its simplistic roots as a basic form of communication managed by the merchant themselves. In the early days, marketing was mostly about promoting products or services through word-of-mouth, flyers, or local advertising.

Over time, journalism and public relations became the primary drivers of marketing, introducing new concepts such as branding, image management, and advertising campaigns. However, as technology and globalization have advanced, marketing has evolved into an incredibly complex world with multiple disciplines and specialists.

Today, marketing encompasses a wide range of fields, including digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, influencer marketing, and more. These disciplines require specialists who are well-versed in specific techniques and tools to create effective campaigns that can reach a global audience. As marketing continues to evolve, it's clear that the field will only become more complex and specialized, requiring businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices to remain competitive in a rapidly changing market.

The history of marketing is a fascinating and complex story that has evolved over thousands of years. From simple signs and symbols to sophisticated digital marketing campaigns, marketing has adapted to the changing needs of businesses and consumers. As technology continues to advance, it will be exciting to see where the future of marketing will take us.

Stay tuned as in an effort to keep educating you, we will be posting more about this.

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