Things go round and around.
Wheels… The seasons… Sit-coms…
Even the Universe, which is said to be expanding rapidly at the speed of heaps, is predicted to reverse and implode back creating another Big Bang. And it all starts again. And perhaps has done that a couple of times before, which is something to contemplate if you want a sleepless night.
Anyway, my theory is: stand on any street corner for long enough and you see the life cycle before your eyes.
Why am I saying this? Because I can use this to explain a lot of the history of marketing. And it probably allows me to have a fair stab at predicting the future.
From where I stand on the street corner of life I can see the origins of marketing emerging from manufacturers sending their sales force onto the roads to drag their product from door to door.
I remember it being parodied in a Saturday morning cartoon Good morning Madam. I represent the Little Giant Vacuum Company of Walla Walla Washington says the cat as he forces his way into a home to vacuum the tweedy bird from its perch. Even the cliché ‘foot in the door’ technique was demonstrated. (There is a place called Walla Walla Washington in America. I’ve passed through there.)
Marketing grew from the seed of one-on-one selling in the home. Face-to-face. Direct.
Then advertising agents realised that ads placed in the right places and saying the right things could be very effective at generating desire and enquiry. Particularly as Department Stores and available credit were on the rise.
And so the Advertising Agency was born.
And this survived for a number of years until the proliferation of media confused and defused audiences. 15 years ago for example, if you wanted to run a state-based campaign, there was one daily paper, a local weekly, 4 or 5 radio stations and 3 TV channels to spread your money across. Today you need to consider 1400 separate media that each present a plausible and convincing argument.
And out of that mire of media, ‘digital’ or ‘social’ media has emerged as the ‘new way’.
And guess what? The wheel has turned full circle and we are back with door-to-door because that’s what social marketing is about one-on-one selling in the home. The strategy is the same. Even the banners ads we run try to be the equivalent of the ‘foot in the door’. We try and engage and interact. We try and get people to nod and agree.
And we even employ the digital version of ‘closing the deal’. Or in the modern case, the click through.
But the circle doesn’t stop there. It of course continues to begin again round and round
So what’s the future? I’ll tackle that in the next Bleat.