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Marketing For Small Business: The Full History

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Marketing For Small Business: The Full History

marketing for small business

Marketing for small business has been around since buying things has been around. And buying things has been around for a very long time. Though the term “marketing” as we know it today probably came about in the late 18th century, people have been advertising and selling products and services for thousands upon thousands of years. But what did that look like? When did people start asking why marketing is important? And how did we get to this nonstop advertising hellscape that we’re in now? We’ll delve into all of these questions as we explore the history of marketing.

Marketing Defined

First off, it’s probably helpful to define marketing. According to the American Marketing Association, “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Basically, that means it’s the very idea of how people exchange things to one another. As such, it can be something of an umbrella term that people often confuse with advertising.

Advertising on the other hand is “the activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services.” So, advertising is a part of marketing. A very important part, but still just a part. There have been many forms of marketing and advertising throughout history and we’ll soon see how marketing takes on a bigger and bigger role.

The Beginning Of Marketing Business

People have been shouting about their products forever. As far back as 1500 BCE, Mesoptotamian artisans would often stamp their product with their personal signature mark as a way to distinguish themselves. This came about as the mass-production of goods became more popular. Later, in Pompeii, the ancient town famously preserved in volcanic ash, there is a well-known example of early marketing. Umbricius Scauras was a manufacturer of a very popular fish sauce (called garum) in Pompeii all the way back in 35 B.C. In his house, archaeologists have found several mosaics emblazoned with his personal brand and images of his fish sauce. These are considered clear early examples of marketing: a man establishing himself as a brand a hiring an artisan to create work reflecting that. And it worked! His fish sauce was extremely well known, traveling all the way to France. From Mesopotamia to Pompeii, many producers would stamp their products with their personal stamp, just a way to tell people “I did this.” You could consider these early examples of marketing for small business. This was the case In Asia as well, from as early as 200 BCE, Chinese packaging and branding was used to signal family, place names and product quality.

marketing for small business

Marketing For Small Business In The Middle Ages

Historians believe the term “marketing” first appeared in the Middle Ages. Back then, many “market towns” were springing up all over Europe. As more and more of these towns arose, merchant routes grew with them. Marketing for small business may have been used by producers to describe the process of transporting and selling their products in these market towns. Branding also came about in this era in Asia as the use of government imposed product branding was used in China between 600 and 900 CE.

Then, in 1450, the printing press was invented, which made it possible for the mass reproduction of peoples’ personal logos and any other advertisement possible. Similarly, business owners could now relay their brand with words other than just their product and a personal stamp. This technology blew open the possibilities of advertising forever.

The 17th and 18th Centuries

As trade between nations grew, more information was required by these countries to make business decisions. So, merchants began publishing information about trade and products. These publications told its readers of the incredible products from far off lands and were used to enlighten and inform their audience so they are better prepared to make purchasing decisions. So, many historians consider this to be the first market research.

This era also produced a number of marketing firsts. The first newspaper advertisement was published in 1704 in the United States. In the 1730s, magazines made their first appearance and along with them, magazine advertisements (scratch n sniff cologne was still a ways off thought). Then in the early 1800s, billboards came into existence. Brands began to leverage these billboards to show their products’ value as urban spaces became more densely populated.

The 19th and 20th Centuries

As transportation technology allowed for a more connected country, companies were now able to distribute standardized, branded goods at national level. This led to the mass marketing that we know today. Advances in technology again took over the marketing world and led to a 20th century advertising explosion. In 1922, the first paid radio ad hit the airwaves. AT&T paid $100 for a 10-minute advertisement to promote Long Island apartments. By 1930, 90% of all radio stations across the country were broadcasting radio ads.

As advertising boomed, market researchers began more thoroughly studying marketing itself. This insight led to the exploration of other factors like demographics, lifestyles, values, attitudes and beliefs in market segmentation and advertising. The Bulova Watch Company put out the first TV commercial in 1941. It was ten seconds long and seen by 4,000 people in New York. This led to an explosion in advertising throughout the 1940s-60s. Organizations invested more money in advertising than ever before in order to express their brand’s qualities and gain an edge in an ever-more competitive field. Throughout the 20th century advertising and marketing simply became a part of everyday life.

marketing for small business

Why Marketing Is Important in the 21st and 22nd Centuries

In the old days, direct marketing (directly reaching out to potential customers) was considered too expensive and time consuming. Many organizations preferred indirect advertising like billboards or radio rather than door to door salesmen. But as the internet grew in popularity, it became clear that digital marketing would be able to more efficiently reach individuals. So, throughout the early part of the 21st century, online marketers have developed unique ways to connect brands and consumers. Email and SMS marketing go directly into peoples’ pockets. Social media marketing establishes credibility and builds an audience. Google Ads and SEO make your business easier to find. Once again, technology has changed the way businesses make money just like it did when the printing press made it possible to easily produce words on a page.

Digital marketing for small business is the largest shift in the marketing landscape since TV and radio. It appears as if it’s here to stay. But what will marketing look like in the future? How will our industry change in the next ten to twenty years? Whatever the next big thing is, KARMA jack Digital Marketing will be here to guide you through it.

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