This is an excerpt from our new ebook, 100 Ideas That Changed Marketing.
At the beginning of this year, we set out to create an infographic that gave a rundown of the history of marketing. And as we looked back, we found that one idea from all the way back in the 1400s — the invention of the printing press that made mass media possible — totally and completely changed the entire trajectory of our industry. Heck, you could argue it made our industry possible!
That made us think of all of the other advancements that have rocked the marketing world. Because we kind of have a thing for shaking things up 🙂 So, we compiled this ebook, 100 Ideas That Changed Marketing, and we wanted to share 10 of the highlights from it right here. Take a look, get inspired, and let us know if we should add a one-hundred and one’th (one’th? That’s not right, right?) idea!
10 of the 100 Ideas That Changed Marketing Forever
If you’re agile, you can easily and gracefully move at a rapid pace. In 2001, through the Agile Manifesto, the idea of agile was introduced to software development, and it defines an
iterative approach that promotes flexibility and customer collaboration. “In many ways, marketing used to be a lot like software development,” wrote marketing technologist Scott Brinker. “Yearly plans of a few major initiatives would lumber forward with rigid hand-offs between the different stakeholders — researchers, strategists, creatives, media buyers, etc. The end-to-end process was time consuming and difficult to alter midstream.”
By implementing an agile approach, marketers should be able to make iterations faster and respond to change rather than simply follow established processes. Today, with the proliferation of new technologies, the ability to adapt to the rapidly changing marketing landscape is becoming increasingly important and necessary for business success. As Michelle Accardi-Petersen wrote in her 2011 book Agile Marketing, “the old integrated marketing methods don’t work … that is, unless you have an agile process that allows you to move much faster and to adapt to these marketing pressures on the fly where necessary.”
As inbound marketers, I think we’re all familiar with this … but when’s the last time you took a step back and realized, “Wow, blogging is one of the strongest marketing tools in my kit.” The times they are a-changin’ eh?
Short for web log, a blog is a term used to describe a series of online articles displayed in chronological order that generally encourage comments from digital readers. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or group of people and will traditionally include regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material, such as photos and videos. A blog is a long-term marketing asset that brings traffic and leads to your business. It introduces you as a thought leader in your space and allows you to earn people’s trust.
Nearly 40% of U.S. companies use blogs for marketing purposes. “This platform, if done properly, can generate tremendous traffic, leads and sales for your business that you
otherwise would not have had,” wrote Marcus Sheridan, Partner at River Pools and Spas and Founder of The Sales Lion. First, business blogging helps you in respect to search engine optimization (SEO). The more blog posts you publish, the more indexed pages you create for search engines to display in their results. Second, your blog is an asset that introduces you as a thought leader — it will help you earn people’s trust and stay top of mind for many in your
community. Finally, a blog gives you real estate to place calls-to-action in order to generate leads.
The thing about blogging is that anybody can do it, but remarkably, not everybody does. This gap represents a huge opportunity for serious marketers to differentiate themselves — with their bosses, and their leads and customers.
3) Citizen Journalism
The new media landscape has reshaped the ways in which audiences access information. A Pew Research Center report showed that some 46% of Americans visit from four to six media platforms on a typical day, and only 7% have a single favorite one. For their daily information, online readers consult various sources, including newspaper sites, email, and social media. Additionally, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have fostered recommendation systems that increasingly shift the power of information distribution in the hands of non-journalists. In these environments, one’s community can make editorial decisions by endorsing stories.
Marketers need to recognize the participation of citizens in the process of newsgathering and always provide credible sources and references when sharing public information. Don’t underestimate the investigative spirit of today’s consumers and people’s ability to get to the truth through in-depth online research. Businesses need to be more alert than ever to the
way they present information and facts because inaccuracies can easily be exposed.
Copyright is a legal concept that protects the work of an individual from being used without
their consent. It gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights, including the right to receive credit for their work and the right to choose who can use and remix their work.
With the rapid development of technological advances, it has become easier for people to create digital mashups of existing works, which has led to copywright wars and lawsuits.
American academic and political activist Lawrence Lessig argues that we now live in a Remix Culture which encourages people to engage in collaborative creation and stimulate their creativity in new ways. “It is time we stop wasting the resources of our federal courts, our police, and our universities to punish behavior that we need not punish,” he wrote in Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.
Now that the role of a marketer is so intertwined with the role of a publisher, it’s not difficult to imagine the different ways in which copyright affects the marketing professional. Not only is pirating content just poor internet etiquette, but it also results in duplicate content that hurts both websites on which the content is featured in the search engine results pages. In fact, one of Google’s 2012 algorithm updates will be using the number of valid copyright removal notices as a signal for which websites should be displayed in the SERPs. To stay away from such punishments as a marketer, you need to ensure you are not stealing people’s content. Make sure you are
giving your sources credit in all of your content, including blog posts, webinars, ebooks, and even social media.
Gamification describes the adoption of game design elements and game thinking by nongame
contexts. It’s applied to make less interactive situations more engaging to users. Some forms of gamification in marketing include awarding badges or providing incentives for participation in specific activities.
For instance, at HubSpot we often give away prizes to random attendees of our marketing webinars or people who share our content with their networks. “Games and research into human psychology have taught us that people are happier when they earn something, rather than when it is given to them,” wrote Darren Steele, the strategic director of Mindspace, and co-author of the gamification book, I’ll Eat this Cricket for a Cricket Badge.
6) Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is marketing that’s useful. It means acquiring customers by attracting and nurturing prospects with exceptional content, data and customer service — not interrupting them with annoying, useless messages. It means pulling prospects in with a magnet, not beating them over the head with a sledgehammer.
“Consumers have learned how to ignore TV commercials with Tivo, radio commercials with Satellite radio, email marketing with filters, etc.” wrote in our LinkedIn discussion web presence strategist Linda Lovero-Waterhouse. “Now our goal is to give consumers the information they want *when* they want it. What a concept!”
Inbound marketing tactics tend to be cheaper than traditional marketing tactics, too. Companies that focus on inbound tactics have a 62% lower cost-per-lead than companies that focus on outbound tactics.
There are three key stages to inbound marketing: get found, convert, and analyze. Eventually, inbound marketing boils down to, as web marketing professional Jonathan Mallia noted, “knowing your customers’ needs and feeding them with the right content that ultimately links to the product you wish to market and finally sell. If this is cleverly executed in a strategic manner, you will realize that you have only spent a small fraction of your advertising budget to convert a good number of good quality, sales-ready leads. Why? Because Marketing = Educating.”
7) Social Networks
With the invention of the World Wide Web in 1990, the internet opened up multi-directional communication channels and embraced collaboration. Its digital format removed the physical limitations and expensive cost of producing and distributing information. Forums and chat rooms started to populate the digital landscape, often used to share news. Internet Relay Chat (IRC), for instance, was introduced to the general public in 1991, when the platform offered real-time coverage of the First Gulf War.
In the early 2000s, people joined the new participatory media culture by creating and disseminating content through their personal computers, smart phones and digital cameras. Online users started blogging, video broadcasting, and using social media. Social networking site Facebook, which was founded in 2002, now has more than 900 million active users. Then of course there are the other popular social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube.
“Social marketing changed marketing forever,” wrote Jose Antonio Sanchez, Communications Specialist at Uberflip, in our LinkedIn discussion. “Marketers have realized that they need to have valuable two-way conversations with their audience before getting it to ‘buy’ their product. Consumers can be convinced but not persuaded anymore.”
8) Social Proof
Social proof, also referred to as “informational social influence,” is the concept that people will
conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the
correct behavior. In other words, it’s the mentality that, if other people are doing it, and I trust
those people, that’s validation that I should also be doing it. This third-party validation can be a
very powerful motivator for your site visitors’ and prospects’ actions.
One traditional example of social proof is when TV shows play canned laughter or recorded applause to elevate the perception of funny or applaudable situations. So while the concept of social proof may be nothing new, the rise of the internet and social media adoption have certainly made social proof a lot easier to leverage and exploit, especially in a marketing context. Building and providing better visibility for your business’ social proof can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy.
The forms of social proof in marketing can vary from social media praises and social advertising to case studies, testimonials and user reviews.
Viral marketing is word-of-mouth marketing that is carried out voluntarily by a company’s advocates. “Viral marketing,” wrote Seth Godin in 2008, “is an idea that spreads — and an idea that while it is spreading actually helps market your business or cause.”
Godin goes on to describe two types of viral marketing: one in which the message that spreads is the product itself, and another in which the message isn’t related to the product. YouTube as a platform would be an example of the first one, and a video on YouTube would be an example of the second.
Email has facilitated the spread of the second type of viral marketing. Tools such as “send this page, article or website to a friend” encourage people to refer or recommend your newsletter, company, product, service or specific offers to other people. In order to leverage viral marketing, you need to have a strong community that will start the process of spreading your message. You can build your community even before you have a product. Letting users into the process early helps provide a sense of ownership while it gives a company valuable feedback needed to make the product better.
“Being viral isn’t the hard part,” observes Godin. “The hard part is making that viral element
actually produce something of value, not just entertainment for the client or your boss.”
10) Web 2.0
When the Web first became available to users, it was primarily about retrieving information. As it evolved in the 2000s, it became known as Web 2.0 — a platform associated not only with consumption of information, but also with collaboration and participation. It is characterized by applications like blogging, search engine optimization, and social media. The term is associated with Tim O’Reilly because of the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004.
O’Reilly explained that Web 2.0 is based on the principle that online databases improve as people use them. “It’s about how businesses work differently in the age of the network,” he said. Businesses have to figure out how to create more value for their customers than for themselves. Ultimately, customers and businesses are capable of building value together. Think about how you can build a platform online that enables the community to bring value to your business for you.
What other brilliant ideas do you think changed the marketing landscape forever?