7 Ways Marketing Has Changed in the Information AgeInstaGratz
7 Ways Marketing Has Changed in the Information Age
A generation or two ago, professional marketing strategies focused on radio and television ads, newspaper inserts, direct mail, and telephone sales. Although those media are still used somewhat today in the Information Age, more contemporary marketing plans rely increasingly on electronic media via the Internet.
The origins of the Internet, or World Wide Web, go back to the 1950s with the development of a global range of connectivity that continued to develop and grow through the remainder of the twentieth century, and beyond. An expansive network that links education, business, industry, and government networks, as well as private networks is connected by electronic as well as wireless and optical network systems. Fast-paced communication options electronic mail, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone calls, video conferencing, and a host of websites, blogs, and social networking opportunities. As much as 90 percent or more of worldwide information is shared through the Internet, which makes it the optimum marketing tool, especially in the following seven ways.
Email has been growing in public use since the 1990s. Business and government helped to extend electronic mail, or e-mail, around the globe, connecting distant locations like branch offices and communicating organizations to facilitate commerce. Today, email is used as a marketing tool in various ways. Customers can choose to sign up for email communication from their favorite stores and websites, which ensures they receive notification of upcoming sales events or new product releases that will help to boost sales. An email blast is a message sent simultaneously to all email subscribers of an organization. Special events, discounts, and promotions can also be sent by email to targeted consumers or opt-in subscribers, along with a company newsletter or press releases.
Before technology took root in the marketing realm, most sales meetings and conferences were held in person through the work of traveling salesmen and regional or national conferences. Travel expenses, including, lodging and meals, could devour a fair amount of the marketing budget. Nowadays many meetings involving associates or clients around the globe can be conducted face-to-face through videoconferencing. Skype is one way of doing this, but there are other applications as well, include phone or computer video meetings. Audio meetings via speaker phone are also widely used between individuals or within groups.
Companies without a Web presence may as well not hang out their shingle. Most people do business on the Internet these days, using a website to tell the public about what they do, and how they do it. A website is more than a description, however. Most websites are designed to attract, inform, and market information or products to the public. Visitors should be able to conveniently navigate all links within the site, and sometimes beyond, to find what they are looking for and be favorably impressed. Content marketing has become a staple on many websites to provide informative content about the organization or a related issue as a valuable service rather than a hard sales push.
A podcast is a series of digital audio files that are broadcast for a stated purpose. An organization may sponsor podcasts not about a specific product, but about a service or issue related to the product that will get listeners to think about the purpose and value of the company or business. Similar to a white paper that is typically published in print format, a podcast utilizes audio media that can be accessed via a computer or smart phone to share helpful information with targeted listeners who may be current clients and customers, or prospects. Reminiscent of the old-time radio shows and advertisements, the podcast can fill a similar, though different, marketing role.
A blog is similar to a newspaper or magazine article in posting general information that the public may find useful. Some blogs are more editorial in nature, while others offer a balanced discussion or personal opinion of a specific issue, product, or service. For example, an accounting blog could discuss tax filing tips of interest to the public while promoting accounting services or software. A college blog might offer frequent posts about how to adjust to college life and deal with common issues. Students and their families who find the site for the helpful articles may decide to learn more about the college and perhaps even apply for admission.
Popular sales sites like Amazon and eBay attract shoppers from all over the world. Featuring product reviews and descriptions as well as videos or related items, shopping sites are able to interest visitors in more wares beyond their reason for shopping. An example would be a customer who is browsing china tea sets may see links to quality tablecloths with matching napkins. Offering timed discounts or free shipping under certain conditions, sites like these maximize each customer’s visit by offering ample shopping opportunities. E-payment sites like PayPal and Wallet facilitate payments online to and from banks and individuals, as well as other entities. According to Chris Walker, the key to attracting interested viewers is SEO, or search engine optimization. This is the select use of relevant keywords that customers may look for when searching for products or services offered by certain companies. The placement of core phrases in posted material on the Web can lead to higher ranking search results featuring that business, which often receive the most clicks by shoppers. A large amount of Web content with strategic placement of key terms will also expand visibility in the search results. SEO searches can be narrowed to specific types, including academic, news, and image or video.
Social media is a tremendous marketing tool that can be used to promote just about anything. For example, a membership to Linked In, a professional networking site, helps to establish a professional image for a company or organization hoping to impress or attract clients. Facebook is used as an informal location for businesses of all sizes, functioning as a secondary or link site to larger organizations, and as a primary site for small businesses. In recent years, companies have begun using Twitter to send short messages, called tweets, to followers who are usually associates and clients, but sometimes competitors, as well. Many shoppers appreciate Youtube videos that demonstrate do-it-yourself projects posted by building supply companies, for example. Short videos can attract new customers by offering helpful information in a visual format. An extensive range of topics with supporting information can be found on Pinterest and Flickr, two of the most popular sites in this category. There are plenty of social media options to consider for marketing a business, many that target specific demographic populations.
To successfully compete within a given sector, businesses need to consider the ways in which technology has dramatically changed marketing strategies in the twenty-first century. While television, print, and radio ads are still effective to some degree, younger generations are living almost exclusively online thanks to the versatility and reach of the Internet. Like it or not, the technology age is here to stay. Companies that are just becoming aware of the seemingly endless stream of marketing options using technological media can begin by experimenting with one strategy at a time to see what works best for their organization’s marketing mission.