The History of Marketing

Part 1

Advertisers have had ingenious methods of getting the word out long before the dawn of social media. In order to understand and appreciate some of today’s practices, we must look to the past. Because of its long and vast history, this article will highlight the key paradigm shifts in marketing’s journey.

It began as almost strictly outbound marketing. Merchants and salesmen would talk AT potential customers as opposed to talking WITH them. Printed advertising appeared in the mid 15th century and its considered the primary marketing medium up until the 20th century. That’s a long time! During the print era, we saw the likes of magazine ads, posters and billboard ads respectively.

As societal norms evolved globally, so did advertising mediums. Ads began making their way into the consumer home. Radio and TV airways were infiltrated around the 1920s, and by 1933 over 50% of homes in North America had radios. The radio craze allowed advertisers to take a more efficient, aggressive and constant approach to marketing.


And then, video killed the radio, star. The first recorded use of television advertising took place in 1941. Shortly after the rise of radio advertising, video ads began its long lasting reign. 

Let’s fast forward to what is often referred to as the “golden era of marketing.” The 60s saw a 10% drop in radio ad revenue, where as TV revenue grew 17%. Then, the 70s ushered in a new wave of telemarketing tactics, the marketing possibilities seemed endless. Increased mediums created more opportunities in advertising, allowing the industry to become rather lucrative. While all of these changes and shifts are taking place, print media finally begins to feel the pressure. After 36 years, Life magazine, a staple in traditional marketing, ceases publication.

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