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The Evolution of Marketing

1 Jul, 2014 McKell Naegle

There is no question that marketing has evolved a great deal. Marketing has gone through many phases, all of which have contributed to where we are today. The changes in marketing can be largely attributed to businesses becoming aware of consumers’ needs and wants, as well as competition from similar businesses. Marketing started out as a way to determine what a business would sell, and it is now so much more.


The first was the trade era. Products in this timer were largely handmade and very limited in supply. Transactions were done by trading and bartering items between merchants. The best marketing one could have during this era was a unique product or commodity.


Following the trade era was the production era. This occurred during the industrial revolution. The mass production of this time period increased the overall availability of products on the market. During this period, there were not many product alternatives, so consumers had to buy what you made. This further emphasizes the point that marketing started off as a way to determine what should be produced.


The production era led to the sales era. The change was mainly due to falling demand and increased competition in the market. Companies now had to face more competition to sell their product, and price was the best way to do that. Products would be priced to beat out other businesses products. This era was relatively short, only about 20 years.


After the sales era came the marketing department era. This is when businesses relegated all marketing duties—such as sales, promotion, and advertising—into one department. The marketing department era was caused by the post-World War II economic boom and increased level of affluence. This era is still on going, but its role is not as prevalent.


Next came the marketing company era. The era emerged when customers became the focus of the business. Marketing became the overall goal. This is the era where customers were put on the same pedestal as a king. Every employee of the company was considered to be part of the marketing effort.


The relationship-marketing era came next. The idea behind this era is to build a beneficial long-term relationship with the customer. Relationships are built around trust.


After the relationship marketing era came the the social and mobile marketing. This era is driven by real-time connections and social interaction controlled by the consumer. The social and mobile marketing era allows businesses and customers, both current and potential, to be connected all of the time. Relationships and trust are crucial in this era. Also, the content businesses push through social and mobile mediums needs to be engaging, high quality, and promoting a positive image.


The mindsets of last three eras are the most important for your business. One of the best things you can do is build healthy long-term relationships with your customers. This will ensure a customer group that will remain loyal to your business. Also, continuously engaging current and future customers on social and mobile platforms will help build a healthy customer base. Make marketing a major business goal as well; a business can’t be great without great marketing.

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