The Shift in Marketing image open sign on door

The Shift in Marketing

Let’s start this off by talking about the shift in marketing that’s been taking place over the last 7-8 years. There seems to be a transition in the consumer mentality since then. I really believe that if businesses in 2018 are going to thrive, they’re going to need to adapt the way they communicate with their customers and clients.

The Good Ol’ Days

I’m sure if you’ve spent any time around a senior citizen, they brought up how it “used to be better in the old days”. Or how about “things just aren’t the same as they used to be”? In a lot of ways they’re right. We are in such a technologically advanced time that we hardly able to say something like “I’ll never know how that works” or “I’ll never find out such & such”. The internet has vastly changed the way the world works and communicates. From an outsider’s viewpoint, you can understand how one might think that just because we’re not crossing the street to bring our new neighbors a casserole that means we’ve lost our ability to talk to those around us.

If you listen to stories of “the good old days” or catch a re-run of the Andy Griffith Show, you witness the neighborhood shop owner knowing everyone’s name. John, the Milkman, knew how the kids on his route were doing in school. Bob, down at the deli, knew you came in every Thursday for a pound of turkey (and knew just how you liked it sliced). There was a personal connection between business owner and customer, to the point where it transcended vendor and vendee. They considered each other friends. With that relationship came brand loyalty. If Martha knew Bob, and was a loyal customer at Bob’s Deli, she wouldn’t be too tempted to try the new “Mike’s Deli” that opened just down the street. Why would she? Her and Bob are friends. Those personal relationships that blanketed the day to day business in a small town are what I think people refer to when they speak about the “good old days”.  The funny thing is, it wasn’t the internet that took them away.

The Golden Age of “Push Marketing”

If you want to break it down, that mindset has been gradually chipped away at for about 80 years. Radio advertisements could broadcast to a much wider audience, telling of the new Supermarket that opened on the east side of town. The 1940’s and 50’s ushered in a new wave of advertising on a device called the Television. Billboards were erected along the roadside as we embraced our love for the automobile and the open road. “Push Marketing” came to be. If someone had a product to sell, they could push out their message through these channels and the consumer public could sort out which goods and services they needed or wanted. From that moment, Martha started losing her voice. There was no one to talk to. Just Boomer Supermarket showing her that everyone else was shopping at Boomer, so she should too.

That trend continued all the way through the first iteration of the internet, where billboards were shrank down to banner ads. Websites simply listed all the products and services they offered, and you were able to purchase at will. If you needed to communicate with the business, you could send them an email & wait for the reply. Big businesses battled over things like Google Ad Words and banner space, just to be in your line of sight, in order to push their message out to you. Then “Web 2.0” happened.

Web 2.0

Around the turn of the century, Web 2.0 was born. This new generation of internet started seeing combinations of concepts, trends, and technologies that focused on user collaboration, sharing of user-generated content, and social networking. The consumer got their voice back, and it was much, MUCH louder. If Suzie had a problem with the way McDonald’s treated her, she wouldn’t just tell her neighbor. She would tell everyone in town! And from the comfort of her couch.

Some businesses felt the winds of change and adjusted themselves to be more consumer-friendly. Responding to tweets, Facebook messages, etc. Sadly, even after nearly a decade of the Social Media way of life, some businesses still haven’t adapted. You’ll still see large production commercials on television, or pop-up ads that invade your line of sight. All you’re trying to do is check the football scores. As a small business, your Mom & Pop boat steers easier than a Big-Biz ocean-liner. So the new ways of advertising shouldn’t be scary to you.

This “good old days” way of doing things is returning to the world of commerce. It’s the main reason that I and my partner, Rick Bell, wanted to start Entrench Media. We’re living in a world now, where even the little business can be one of the big dogs. And we’re more than happy to help out the little guys.

~ Mikey Schoneman