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History of Advertising and Marketing: Ancient Rock Painting to the Internet Video Revolution

Every business leader knows marketing activities are essential to a company’s profitability and strategic growth goals. The same marketing principles that guide today’s businesses have worked for thousands of years in ancient cultures. The ways managers carry out key marketing concepts have become faster, less expensive, and more refined over time. Look at how advertising and marketing initiatives have evolved since ancient times.

History of Advertising and Marketing

Imagine you’re a tradesman who wants to sell his goods or services along the ancient Silk Road. The Silk Road was a network of routes that connected East and West primarily for commercial purposes. Besides the dangers of crossing the Gobi Desert with limited water and fear of bandits, you need to communicate the benefits of your offerings to people who don’t speak your language.

How would you overcome those marketing hurdles? You’d likely hire a translator or use symbols that have universal meanings. These are exactly the activities pre-modern business owners did to advertise their products, services, and ideas. The first billboard advertising took place throughout South America, Africa, and Asia in the form of rock paintings. A Chinese, family-owned needle shop from the Song Dynasty period used a copper plate that was engraved with its custom marketing message to make posters about its product’s traits. European business owners hired town criers to send word-of-mouth marketing messages to prospective buyers during the Middle Ages.

Advertising and Marketing in the Modern Age

Over the years, marketing professionals built on the ancient foundations of written and oral promotions to create messages that resonated with the 16th century to 19th-century audiences. Modern print advertisements such as newspapers, magazines, and flyers were born during that era. The 20th century offered even more opportunities for marketing professionals from the first radio transmission in 1906 to the first television broadcast that happened during the late 1920s.

One of the most significant marketing communication channels that came into existence during the 20th century was email. Ray Tomlinson, an early computer programmer, sent the first email during the 1970s via ARPANET, which was the precursor to the internet that everyone uses today.

Post-Modern Advertising and Marketing

Successful business strategies are always built on relationships. That’s why word-of-mouth advertising and personalized messages worked well with ancient consumers and continue to mesmerize modern prospects. The debut of the internet during the late 20th century changed the landscape of marketing.

Today, internet marketing allows businesses to target specific types of customers and tweak marketing messages based on insight from data analytics tools. Internet video advertising is the key to success when it comes to post-modern marketing.

Key Advantages of Internet Marketing

One of the biggest advantages of internet marketing is it levels the playing field for small businesses. Television advertisements are effective because you see a real person interacting with a product or explaining a service. However, most small businesses can’t afford to broadcast their offerings on television.

Today, a one-person marketing shop can create a professional-looking video and publish it to various internet platforms with relatively little cost. The return on investment is certainly significant enough for business leaders to note. In 2017, businesses that published video grew revenue nearly 50 percent faster than companies that didn’t use the popular medium.

Advertising products or services via internet videos boost customer engagement. How many times have you watched a product video from a company and scrolled down to read the comments from other consumers? When a company publishes a video and allows comments, it’s inviting customers and prospective buyers to carry on a relationship with it via constructive feedback.

People buy from companies with which they have relationships. According to a 2017 Animoto publication, over 60 percent of consumers make purchases after watching branded social videos. Visual advertisements and built-in consumer reviews via comments are winning combinations for today’s businesses.

History of Advertising and Marketing: Ancient Rock Painting to the Internet Video Revolution
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