Marketing Evolution

Marketing methods have seen a sea change from the beginning of marketing till today. It’s been a journey of different phases starting from Production Era, Product Era, Sales Era, Marketing Era, Relationship Marketing Era & now, Customisation & Personalisation. Marketing has changed over the decades and years. The assembly line driven system, systematically, became the relationship era of today where a marketer calculates the Customer LifeTime Value and over the period; people have started understanding the difference between sales & marketing, advertising vs retailing.

The evolution of promotion has given rise to the concept of business development. Marketing has taken the dynamic & fashionable shape since last the tip of 19th century. Assembly line focused practice of promoting before the 20th century was conservative and hidebound by rules-of-thumb and lack of knowledge. With the enhancement in science & technology & specially data technology have changed the lifestyle of people, business methods and, therefore, the entire ecosystem of Selling & Buying. Evolution of selling can be summarised in brief as under:

Production Era: A very simple thought process in the system was responsible for the methods people used to sell in this era which was – “consumers favour products that are available and highly affordable” The attitude & approach of the assembly line era made people believe the mantra of success as- “more production & distribution will fetch more success”. Availability & affordability are what the customer wants. The age was marked by limited research, narrow product lines, system supported prices of production & distribution, least promotion & the aim of packaging was only to keep the merchandise safe. Advertising meant for low quality products.

Product Era: Gradually attitude changed from number to quality, from production to product & product era started. Thought process of manufacturers was that buyers will automatically buy the superior quality product which is innovative & better in performance. Hence, still the promotion was given the least priority. A good product will get sold by itself.

Sales Era: Thought process further changed due to increased competition, more choices & options. In this era the attitude was that the customer will buy the products if corporations will promote it. This thought process had supported the advertising & the advertising expenditure started increasing. Marketers believed that the creative advertising & selling will convince & drive customers to buy the products & overcome the resistance.

Marketing Era: In this era marketers started focussing on the need of the customer & hence, started customers as king. The process used to start with the need & ends up with satisfying customers. The approach shifted to delivering satisfaction.

Relationship Era:  This is the most advanced stage of selling in comparison to production, product, selling & marketing era. Today marketers focus on making & maintaining the long-term business relationship with the customers. This is the main reason why they want to know more & more about the customer. They want to fit in the role of consultant to customer. Focus is, of course, to the need & want of the customers.

In the next blog we will discuss Customisation & Personalisation.

Author: Vikas Sharma, Assistant Professor – Unitedworld School of Business (UWSB)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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