The digital revolution has changed the landscape for advertising and marketing. While building upon certain conventional strategies, it has dispensed with others altogether. Digital technology and marketing are, for better or for worse, tied together for the foreseeable future.
Until the 1960s, it was general thinking that people could not be convinced to buy products they did not want. However, as competition grew, it became clear that selling a product would require generating interest in it. Contemporary marketing grew from a need to grab customers’ attention. Mass advertisement through media like television became the preferred strategy as the paradigm shifted.
Pull and Push Marketing
The internet took mass marketing to the next level, beginning the age of “digital marketing.” With the ability to reach large audiences at low rates, pay-for-click advertising and similar strategies took hold. This became known as “pull” marketing, which is a cost effective, but rather blunt method designed to entice potential customers to visit a vendor’s website.
Pull marketing quickly gave way to “push” marketing, which involves vendors sending messages to customers rather than customers searching for information. Customers can be selected by subscriptions they hold, news feeds they read, and so on. Initially, push marketing was limited to emails, blogs, and newsletters that customers registered to receive. Registration collected key demographic and psychographic information, which gave marketers with the ability to personalize messages.
SMS and Digital Messages
Recently, SMS and RSS have become tangible methods for pushing information to customers. Neither relies on the internet, which allows messages to be delivered most anywhere. Coupon offers and product news snippets can direct customers to vendor web sites, provide offers on their favorite products, or direct them to new products they might be interested in based on their demographics.
Smartphones, like iPhone and Android, have once again changed the way marketing reaches customers. Individuals can be sent traditional aesthetic ads, campaigns, or coupons via SMS or RSS. Additionally, messages can be sent to customers based on their location or what they are searching for at a particular time. For instance, customers searching for shoes in Paris could be sent coupons from the retailer two blocks away, which could be accessed along with directions to the store and store reviews. This level of personalization allows for the ability to target individuals not just based on their general tastes, but also on their state of mind at any given moment.