So far in this series, we’ve dealt with the evolution of marketing from the nineteenth century up until the new millennium. But what state is the world of marketing in right now? And what developments can we expect in the future? In this final piece, we’ll take a peek into that future, and discover how marketers are using a unique blend of old and new approaches to capture the attention of a new generation.
Those who said that social media was just a fad that would soon pass must be kicking themselves right now. Instead, it’s gone from strength to strength, and nowadays the whole world is more connected than ever before. Over a billion people are now on Facebook, and they, along with other social media companies like Twitter, have made it simple to pay for an ad and reach a pre-determined number of people, allowing small and large companies alike to stick to their marketing budget and get the results that they need to succeed.
While the scope of marketing has gotten bigger and bigger as time goes on, the actual mediums through which people are exposed to that marketing have shrunk from billboards to TV and computer screens. Now, ads can be delivered straight to your pocket via mobile phones. From pop-ups on the latest apps to adverts that play in between Snapchat stories, there are now more ways than ever to reach out to people with a message. And people are using that technology more and more, meaning marketing is in a great position to influence people.
That’s not to say that older marketing methods don’t still have a place in today’s world. In fact, some research puts direct mail slightly ahead of email marketing in terms of how likely it is to influence people. In an increasingly digital world, you’d be surprised just how many people out there prefer a physical, analogue approach to things. You only have to look at the resurgence in popularity of vinyl records to see that there’s still something about physical objects that attracts people over cold, hard digital. It’s simple to just delete an email without even looking at it, but people need to at least pick up a piece of direct mail before throwing it away- making it easier for advertisers to catch their eye.
Another form of marketing experiencing a renaissance in popularity is product placement. TV shows and films have always been willing to include brand-name products for the right price. However, as the video game industry continues to grow- with an estimated worth of over $100 billion in 2017- advertisers have started to branch out into this more modern medium. Back in 2004, the amount that companies spent on product placement was a pretty modest $34 million. By 2016, though, that figure had increased to a whopping $7.2 billion. At the same time, with social media being so popular, so-called “influencers” are also being paid to promote certain brands and products via their accounts, reaching out to a vast, ready-made audience.
So, what can we expect from marketing in the future? Well, there’s one big technology that’s starting to emerge right now, and that’s virtual reality. While it’s still in its early stages, VR looks set to finally take off in the next few years as it becomes more accessible and affordable. Naturally, you can expect marketing firms to take advantage of that popularity, and come up with a whole new way of reaching out to consumers. Imagine not just looking at an ad, but actually being inside it! Marketing has always thrived on novelty since people are naturally attracted to new things. VR is a great way of achieving that since it’s a completely untapped area.
By always staying at the forefront of technology, while still understanding how older approaches fit in with today’s world, marketing has evolved and adapted over the years. In just a few decades, marketing has completely transformed into a whole new beast. Whatever’s around the corner, you can be sure that the industry will adapt.