What are the eras of marketing

Advertising has been around mankind for much longer than most suspect: Findings indicate that already 4,000 BC First advertising messages were transmitted, and at the latest with the invention of the printing press in the 15th century it began its triumphal march. It took until the middle of the last century until newspaper advertisements in the form of classic advertising became a well-founded concept in the sense of modern marketing. From then on, marketing developed rapidly to become today's content-based inbound approach.

But what drove these changes? And what do you mean for the status quo and the future of modern marketing? We give you an overview.

The history of marketing

Manfred Bruhn, Professor of Marketing and Management at the University of Basel, describes the development of modern marketing in seven phases:

  1. 1950s: product orientation
  2. 1960s: sales orientation
  3. 1970s: market orientation
  4. 1980s: competitive orientation
  5. 1990s: Orientation towards the environment
  6. from 2000: dialogue orientation
  7. from 2010: network orientation

Seven decades of marketing - from simple advertising to interaction-focused communication

1950s: product orientation

After the hard years of war in the western world, there was high demand with high purchasing power (thanks to the economic boom), so that industry could hardly serve it. Since advertising in principle only comes into play when the supply exceeds the demand and companies are forced to convince customers of themselves, it was hardly necessary at this point. The focus of "Marketing" in the broadest sense was therefore primarily on cranking up and optimizing production.

1960s: sales orientation

Now that supply and demand have roughly equalized, the focus has now shifted to sales. Thanks to the long-established radio, the increasing spread of television and a new abundance of print offers, advertising formats diversified in line with the mass media. The frequency of advertising, which at that time was limited to classic "advertising", also increased. Most of the time, the focus was on the pure presentation and naming of the product in order to familiarize consumers with it.

This is exemplified in this commercial by Dr. Oetker clearly. This neither explains how exactly the product works, nor does it specify how it is to be used. Instead, the brand name is emphasized, which is particularly easy to remember thanks to catchy rhymes.

1970s: market orientation

In the 1970s, consumer choice became so large that companies began to segment their markets and audiences. Advertising no longer addressed the general public, but addressed specific target groups and their needs.

This commercial for the Opel Manta, for example, is aimed specifically at the modern middle-aged man who at the same time wants to enjoy driving and live up to his role as a father of a family.

1980s: competitive orientation

As a reaction to the increasing, fierce competition, unique selling points (USPs) of products became the focus in the eighties, which should set them apart from the numerous competitors. The functions and usage have been explained in greater detail.

A classic example: the Duracell rabbit, which "runs and runs and runs" and thus leaves all other batteries far behind.

1990s: Orientation towards the environment

The 1990s were shaped by political and social changes: Germany was reunified, for the first time environmental awareness became an issue for the general public and new technologies such as the PC saw the light of day. This also influenced the advertising, which for the first time not only concentrated on a product and its immediate benefits, but also incorporated it into the reality of customers' lives and addressed their concerns.

For example, Lufthansa’s marketing suddenly no longer focused primarily on comfortable travel, but rather on taking responsibility for nature that is worth preserving.

However, this slightly less product-dedicated advertisement was a reaction to a growing aversion to advertising. A few years earlier, commercials were events with cult status, but some consumers have now even paid for pay-TV in order to be able to enjoy television programs without interruptions. Accordingly, the establishment of essential new marketing channels began here for the first time, such as PR, event marketing or product placements, which left the typical advertising character behind.

From 2000: dialogue orientation

The age of online marketing began with the Internet. It was now possible for the first time to make advertising interactive. Thanks to chats and e-mails, advertising is no longer necessarily one-sided, but means dialogue between companies and customers. E-mail marketing in particular gave the go-ahead for expanding market segmentation through to personalization, as consumers could be addressed individually quickly and easily.

In addition, the effectiveness of advertising could now be measured more precisely than ever before. This can also be seen in the fact that the widespread pricing for a thousand contacts (CPM), still a relic of the classic media, has largely been replaced as a billing model by Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Now it was possible to determine who actually advertised consumed, only had to be paid for these users.

However, classic advertising (banners, pop-ups) was still predominantly represented on the Internet, which had only changed the media format.

From 2010: network orientation

It was only in the last phase of marketing development to date that the term advertising was completely reinterpreted. Thanks to the now booming social networks, Web 2.0 makes the exchange between companies and customers even more direct and low-threshold. It is thanks to them that completely new formats such as Word of mouth, influencer marketing etc. appeared on the scene. The idea here: advertising should no longer feel like advertising (interrupting, annoying, intrusive), but should be perceived as added value and welcome information.

In addition, thanks to big data, it is now possible to analyze user data and thus maximum personalize marketing measures. Mobile use ensures that users can access offers anytime and anywhere, instead of just being confronted with advertising in front of the television or in a magazine.

Pushing becomes pulling - How user-oriented inbound marketing has replaced traditional advertising

While classic advertising enjoyed cult value from the fifties to the nineties, saturation and weariness set in afterwards. The greater the variety of products and thus the range of products on offer, the more aggressively the attempt was made to win over consumers by means of advertising - which in the end only put them off. Advertisement blindness spread. The emotional charge that products had received through advertising for a long time no longer worked. Although some brands are still very emotionally charged (such as Apple), such an effect can hardly be created for new products through advertising.

While pure “push marketing” had been practiced up to this point, which exposed potential customers with annoying advertising without being asked, the approach now had to change - and with the establishment of the Internet, the perfect conditions for this were given. The idea of ​​content marketing came up, which relies on informing and entertaining people instead of pushing advertising on them. So companies should give customers what they asked for: A paradigm shift towards "pull marketing" was inevitable. This development is closely and inevitably linked to the spread of Web 2.0, since only its interactive possibilities enabled the dialogue between companies and customers at any time and over any distance and paved the way for additional personalization efforts.

While in the past advertising had to pursue all marketing goals (customer loyalty, branding, findability, etc.) as the only marketing measure, today it is almost exclusively used for pure sales. Soft aspects such as emotionalisation or loyalty, on the other hand, are served by inbound marketing in the form of SEO, social media and content marketing.

These significant changes in the way marketing sees itself also mean that its core tasks have shifted. Here stood unchallenged for a long time Four Ps as instruments in the center:

  • P.rodukt (product and service design)
  • P.rice (pricing)
  • P.romotion (communication, image)
  • P.listing (distribution and sales)

Today's marketing, on the other hand, is aimed at Three Cs out:

  • C.ocreate Value (consumers are an active part of product development)
  • C.Communicate Value (added value of the product must be actively and transparently communicated)
  • C.apture value (price must be in relation to the recognizable product value and image)

We haven't reached the end yet

Since marketing in the true sense of the word has existed, it has changed continuously, but never as profoundly as with the spread of the internet. While Marketing 1.0 has been understood for decades in the sense of a product orientation, in which direct sales and production were in the foreground, we have been alone in the last around 15 years on Marketing 2.0 (Customer orientation and differentiation: the user and his needs are in the foreground) developed towards Marketing 3.0, which sees customers holistically and wants to convey values.

To date, the adaptation to the "New" communication channels and the media consumption that the digital age has brought with it. Because there are still numerous challenges associated with it. Just a few examples are:

  • The dependence on opaque algorithms
  • Rapid changes
  • New disciplines like SEO and SEA
  • Huge to deal with Amount of data
  • New statutoryGuidelines (for example the GDPR)
  • One generally massive increased complexity of possibilities and cause-effect relationships

All of these points ultimately result in the most important keyword for the future of marketing: Networking - of departments ("smarketing"), channels (multichannel), information and much more. Anyone who wants to survive as a marketer in the future has to think holistically and leave existing limits behind. If that succeeds, we may soon usher in the next phase in the history of marketing.

Originally published January 28, 2019, updated 04 August 2020

Recommend this article: