20 years ago, the internet was just a blip on the public radar. Now it is the dominant feature of our lives. It has changed how we communicate with each other, and it has definitely transformed the way we do business with each other. Here are five ways that marketing has changed over the past 20 years.
Businesses used to rely primarily on paid advertising and the yellow pages to get the word out about their services. Google has run that model into the ground because of “search engine optimization (“SEO”). A recent study by Google showed that four out of five consumers use search engines to get information about local businesses. This means that customers are typing in specific keywords to find those services.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in. Whether you run a pet store or a chain of subtitling services, your business website needs to follow a set of SEO best practices in order to stay competitive.
Social media has broken down the barriers between us. Users can share photos, videos and intimate details of their personal lives. People expect that from each other, and they also expect it from the businesses they frequent.
In the past, consumers had to call a 1-800 number and patiently wait on hold in order to get the information they wanted. Today, they want the information now. They’ll go to the company’s Facebook page or Twitter account and post comments and questions, expecting to receive an immediate response. If they don’t get their question answered soon, they’ll move on to a company that will answer them quickly.
This year’s smartphone is smarter than last year’s smartphone. Self-driving cars are now on the road. Virtual reality technology is already in our midst, and there could be a possible VR boom in the future.
Marketing departments need to do more than just create content for these mediums the moment they become available; marketers also have to do research on which technologies are coming into fruition. Otherwise, they risk being left behind in the virtual dust.
People don’t just want to read text; they want to watch things happening. A billion people Visit YouTube every month. Companies now have to explore how they can use video on a consistent basis to share information about their businesses. Fortunately, it’s extremely easy to shoot something these days. All you need is a smartphone.
Let’s face it: we aren’t the same people that we were 20 years ago. Not only have we grown accustomed to getting the information we want instantaneously, but our attention spans are also much shorter. There’s too much content on the internet. If something doesn’t capture our attention within a few seconds, we’re on to the next piece of content. Marketers need to figure out ways to speak directly to the customer’s emotions, and they need to figure out how to do that as quickly as possible. Once people are emotionally engaged, they’ll stick with you.
If marketing has changed this much in the past 20 years, imagine what the next 20 years will bring. In a recent survey, only nine percent of digital marketers could say with confidence that their marketing efforts were actually working. Their confidence is being shaken because the rules of the game change every year. That’s why it’s important for marketers to pay attention to the latest technological developments and consider collaborating with technological innovators. That way, they’ll be moving at the same pace as the tech industry as opposed to constantly playing catch-up.