The Evolution of Marketing V. The Evolution of Marketers.

“Gen X, listen to your Gen Y’s. Gen Y, respect your X’s!”

The world of marketing as we know it has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. As a practice, we have studied our professions through a number of enormous leaps in the past decade alone. In order to understand the disconnect between traditional marketing and digital marketing in an organisation, it is important to understand how marketing began in order to recognise it’s great evolution.

Marketing took flight in the production era. More precisely, the time period that stretched between the end of the American Civil War and the early 1920’s. Amid the 40 years, the intention of most corporations was to lower manufacturing costs and to adopt a low cost strategy to boost profitability and market share. Needless to say, marketing was nothing but a method of mass distribution.

To help you understand this, we can look at global giant Coke. Until recently, Coca Cola adopted a mass marketing strategy and sold an undifferentiated product. Why? Well, Coke was founded in 1892 following the end of the civil war. This means that they had approximately 30 years before they were forced to consider competitive variations to compete with customer needs.

In the early 19th century, we can start to see how marketing has evolved digitally. We are now familiar with a combination of channels, which throw us real time visibility of what is working for a business and what is not. What’s the most exciting thing about all of this? We UNDERSTAND our customer!

So how has marketing come this far? Technological factors have played a fundamental role in the evolution of marketing. Marketers have become psychologist’s mathematicians and economists. The only issue that we have now is that the evolution of marketing is moving faster than the evolution of marketers. In my opinion, inefficiencies are caused when businesses employ only digital or traditional marketing strategies in an age where the two should coincide.

Now how do you determine whether this is your business? This may not be fault proof, but when I study a business I ask myself one question: Is this organisation’s marketing ‘Active’ or ‘Passive’?

This is my favourite way to assess whether the business understands how to create equilibrium between old and new marketing. I first read about Active and Passive marketing approximately an hour before my interview for a graduate role at L’Oréal. I spent a day researching to find the best way articulate how important it is to adopt both traditional and digital methods of marketing. After a while, I came across the theory that marketing is split into two active techniques and businesses should adopt one or the other in order to create an effective business strategy. According to, Passive Marketing is marketing a product or service by “placing something out there like a page, ad, or video, and hope a prospective client finds it and contacts you.” In contrast, Passive Marketing is when a business “proactively seek out new prospective clients, placing and keeping your message in front of them in the places they go to get educated.”. Essentially, the strategy assumes that businesses are either Passive or Active, and if they are not – they should be.

I took the same idea, but played with it slightly in order to talk about something new to impress my interviewer. In order for a business to operate effectively, you should use both active and passive marketing techniques to create an effective marketing strategy, not focus on one. Birth to the all important equilibrium of digital and traditional marketing. Easy.

Let me explain my reformed ‘active’ and ‘passive’ strategy with a hypothetical example; lets pretend for a second that the luxury fragrance market is in growth and disposable income is high. Therefore, a certain fragrance brand decides to launch their most expensive fragrance extension in 2017. The brand decide to market their product so that their passive forms of advertising (traditional) will be converted by their Active marketing techniques (digital). The brand then launches billboards which will then be converted by a digital campaign by directing traffic to a website where a purchase can be made. Voilà!

We as marketers need to understand that recruiting both active and passive forms of marketing is imperative when creating an efficient marketing campaign. This will enable us to find the equilibrium between old and new marketing. This is not a permanent fix to the issue that many companies are experiencing in the 21st century. Great confusion and misinterpretation comes about due to the age of marketing, how it has evolved and how people envision it so differently.

This brings me to my final point. Is this diversity in a marketing team a bad thing? It shouldn’t be, but it seems to be. If we weren’t so self-satisfied in our own ways of working, maybe we could welcome all variations of marketing and create that necessary equilibrium. Gen X, listen to your Gen Y’s. Gen Y, respect your X’s!

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