Marketing history – movements that shaped the way we communicate

How we communicate as a society directly shapes the way marketers interact with consumers. As we look back on the past 100 years of Angus Australia it is clear that marketing has played a significant role in shaping the breeds image to what it represents today. So here we look at some of the movements that have shaped the way we communicate over the last century, and how they have impacted the way marketing has evolved.

Colour Cometh

The 1920s bought about an important change to the advertising scene – the rise of colour printing. With the 20’s the availability of two and three colour process printing became available and evolved to allow the likes of Ford and Coca Cola to showcase their range of products in new hues and colour, not in the greyscale readers were accustomed to.

This was an important development as until then colour printing – through the process of chromolithography – was underappreciated and expensive, with most advertisers preferring to print in black and white as it was more reliable and accurate. The chromolithography was be described as hyper-coloured, unrealistic and garish meaning that the new printing allowed for brands to have consistent and polished colour.

Commercial printing

Commercial printing, in particular Xerox’s first photocopying machine – first introduced in 1949 – changed the way everyday workers were able to print/copy their marketing material and the volume in which they could afford to have made.

The 1970’s bought about the first laser printers, again by Xerox. These were exceptionally expensive to purchase however as desktop publishing became popular in the 1980s they too became more widespread and the price slightly more affordable.

By 1993 the Indigo press (known for a more impressive colour spectrum than a traditional laser or offset printer) was developed and in the 2000’s Offset printers had well and truly evolved allowing printing to become more affordable, better quality and an everyday staple for advertising, publications and stationary.

The rise of desktop publishing

The biggest development in marketing is undoubtedly the availability of personal computers. It changed not only the way people interact with technology but it changed the work landscape – making us more mobile and the workplace more fluid.

While previously mentioned that desktop publishing caused a dramatic increase in printing during the 80s, these computers were akin to a typewriter, with limited processing power and memory. Just like with mobile phones, the speed at which computers were developed and upgraded is phenomenal. However, what really changed the way we used these computers was the rise of the internet.

The internet ‘fad’

While the original World Wide Web Project (1990) had a delay in uptake for a range of reasons, once it caught its wind and obtained its first ‘mass-market browser’ it became apparent that it was here to stay. With search engines such as Yahoo and Google appearing from the mid-nineties onwards the first digital marketers experimented with early Search Engine Optimisation techniques.

Angus Australia developed its first website in 1997, with Erica Halliday (nee Steel) being a key player in educating the Angus membership about what the internet was, how to use it, where to find it and even creating the society website itself. By 1999 many of the other Angus Societies had their own website, with everyone from New Zealand to South Africa getting involved.

In 1999 the Angus website was revamped and plans were initiated to make online sale catalogues, advanced animal search facilities and a commercial cattle marketing bulletin board being rolled out in 2000.

The Angus Australia web database enquiry system, including catalogues, received over 80,000 page views between June and November, 2000. This just goes to show Angus breeders aren’t just at the forefront of the genetics industry, they are pioneers with technology as well.

With the internet came one of the biggest gamechangers yet; the electronic mail. Originally used widely by the military and universities it was quickly taken up by the corporate and private sector.

From 1994 onwards the capabilities of search engines expanded, allowing search results to be ranked based on relevancy, and in 2004 Google released AdWords, a system that allows marketers to provide advertisements according to user information.

Marketers embraced the internet progression as it provided them with a cost effective opportunity to build relationships with their targeted audience. It allowed them to increase brand awareness, increase sales, be open 24 hours a day and build a level of credibility with audiences they otherwise wouldn’t be connected to.

A cultural shift in values

There has been a cultural shift in the marketing sphere in recent years. What used to be creating an idea and selling it is now about discovering a truth or isolating a key difference and sharing it. Marketing has indeed shifted from a selling to a sharing strategy, with this only set to continue with the greater pressure on companies for complete transparency.

This change in dynamic has shifted the way sales are driven as well, with 70% of the consumer purchase journey being completed before they reach out to a sales representative or company. This being led by the ability for a consumer to research, price match, review and assess company core values within seconds on their smartphone.

“When consumers get used to transparency, they’re also more interested in the quality of what you sell, and are more likely to willingly pay extra. And once people start moving in that direction, the cost of being an unethical provider gets so high that you either change your ways or fade away.” — Seth Godin

A key example of this is how people are purchasing beef these days.

As Adrian Richardsonsaid at the 2019 Angus National Conference; ‘People want quality, the punters want something different and special and they are prepared to pay.’

In reference to the type of meat customers wanted, he has seen a huge uptake in the need for the story behind the plate. People want to know exactly what their dinner has been fed, where it has been raised, when it was slaughtered, and they are more than willing to pay a premium for that level of transparency.

Big Data, Big opportunity

With the internet and increased use of Big Data marketers are now able to access information about their consumers habits and obtain essential analytics from them in a way like never before. We are now able to personalise and automate services to market to the most basic of human instincts – the need for inclusivity.

So what is Big Data? Big data isn’t just a collection of data itself; it is the capabilities and challenges associated with the storing and analysing of data in order to create more relevant and accurate decisions.

So why does it matter? Big data delivers the potential for better marketing results. It enables you to search for connections with a consumer instead of looking at past sales, transaction data and previous trends in order to anticipate a consumer’s habits. It allows the user to gain insights that can alter their actions and decisions. We use it to track customer retention, engagement and loyalty as well as understanding how to optimise future performance. We can analyse financial, customer and operational information with it and more.

“While big data can be used to create a unique experience for individuals, user-generated content empowers customers.” – Clodagh O’Brien

This is where Big Data and User-Generated content come together in a dynamic marketing duo.

User-Generated content

When we break it down, humans want to interact with other humans. If you have noticed a subtle change over the last few years where large companies have shifted their advertising and marketing efforts to seem more ‘everyman’ and relatable – well, you aren’t wrong. Consumers have been swaying towards authenticity rather than overly branded content for some time now.

User-generated content is essentially created by the customer.

For example, an Angus stud using images of Angus beef on their Instagram and advertising it from the perspective of being a premium beef product is user-generated content to support the Angus Societies overall marketing campaign for the #AngusPremium. As it is not content created by the society itself it is seen as authentic and transparent but it also aligns with core campaign values and promotion, thus creating a wholesome, unbranded but on-point ‘advertisment’.

Social Media

Blogs in the early 2000’s were essentially the start of what we now know as social media.

Companies became aware of the potential of content marketing, replacing the conventional sales pitch and techniques. This allowed a product to be slipped in seamlessly to articles and posts, featuring just enough to spark an interest and prompt further investigation but not obvious enough it would prompt the potential negative reaction to a sales pitch.

When MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn were introduced it allowed marketers to capitalise on the social nature of the websites and present a positive profile to potential customers.

Social media took off in the marketing world for a variety of reasons, one of the major ones originally being the cost cutting potential. Nowadays it is used for research, e-commerce, customer retention and research, branding and networking. It has also become a tool for PR, essentially acting as a news outlet for a company.

As you can see technology is a major player in how we communicate. People have marketed themselves for centuries, a key example is in the streets of Pompeii and the carvings outside shops in the sidewalk explain a stores purpose. The only difference between then and now is we don’t need a physical shop front to sell our wares from and our customers need never meet us.

If the past thirty years are anything to go off, we are set to continue a fast paced evolution in the way we market ourselves and our products, so it is more important than ever to embrace that changes we are presented.