Birth of Modern Marketing

BTS Birth of Modern Marketing

Birth of Modern Marketing

An educational article on marketing strategy from BTS Consulting

Profound Changes in Consumer Behavior

Over the Christmas holiday, I spent a week at my daughter’s house. The only time she watched broadcast TV was when the Packers were playing. Netflix ruled the day. There was no fighting over the remote. There was no feverish channel-switching to find out what else was on. This was so different when I was her age. 

Watching traditional TV channels has almost stopped among younger viewers. 90% of 18- to 24-year-olds opt for their favorite streaming service. Viewers aged between 16 and 24 spend just 53 minutes a day, on average, watching live TV – down two-thirds over the last decade and seven times less than those aged 65 and over. The elders still spend about a third of their waking day, almost six hours, watching broadcast TV.

On a different note, the average American spends six hours and 58 minutes online per day and about two hours and 27 minutes on social media. 85% of Americans use the internet every day. And product managers took notice and marketing has changed dramatically in the last dozen years. Many brands abandoned TV and opted for social media. The marketing landscape changed. Here, I discuss some major changes:

Marketing Channels: Explosion of Social Media

In 2010, there were less than 1 billion social media users, but today there are 4.7 billion users worldwide or about 60% of the world population. Naturally, marketers started highlighting products on social media. It was the best way to reach young buyers. Brands developed presence on Facebook, Instagram, X, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc. My company, BTS Consulting, has written social media posts several times a week for several companies. It gives an aura of thought leadership, attracts, and engages customers, and companies can easily and inexpensively share information in real-time. It is also interactive. And several formats emerged. Video streaming on YouTube is extremely popular and effective. Paid media (Google ads, social media ads) also became an integral part of marketing strategy for many brands. 

Product Management: Rise of the influencers

Everyone can have a voice on the internet. You don’t need to be a movie star or a sports legend. Brands started using influencers who can affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their celebrity, authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their followers. Influencers make regular posts about a topic of interest on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views. Brands love social media influencers because they can create trends and encourage their followers to buy products they promote.

A key difference from traditional advertising, where ads are created by the brand on a medium of their choice, influencers use their own social media channel to promote a product in seemingly their own words even if those words were fed by a brand. This produces an aura of authenticity and can be more effective in influencing behavior. 

Market Research: Data gets big

There was a time when conducting surveys and focus groups was the primary way to learn about perceptions and satisfaction about one’s products or services. Surveys are still useful but web and social media analytics can provide a great deal of information about who visited your website, where they came from, who long they stayed, and what pages they saw. Marketing automation can be used for re-targeting and sending targeted messages to specific people. AI will take this to a new level. Hyper-targeting is coming, and I expect some backlash from privacy concerns.

Reaching Your Audience: Consumer Behavior: Marketing goes mobile

As of April 2024, 60.28% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. In 2011, it was 6.1%. In 2015, it climbed to 37.2%. The percentage of people accessing the internet via mobile devices has increased year after year and, according to one report, Q1 2017 was the first-time mobile traffic surpassed traffic from desktop computers. So, it only makes sense to have a mobile friendly site. In response to the rapid increase in mobile device users, Google moved to mobile-first indexing in July 2019. This means that Google now prioritizes the mobile version of your website’s content when indexing and ranking search results. Greater mobile use has meant:

  1. Social Media Marketing Became Easier
  2. Marketers can Reach Users Easily
  3. Greater opportunity for interactivity
  4. Virtually uninterrupted access
  5. Higher Google Rankings

This has led to another issue. Should a company just have a responsive mobile site or spend resources to develop an app? There is no clear-cut answer. I will discuss this in my next blog.

Consumer Behavior: Consumers gain power

Consumers are no longer passive receivers of brand messages. Now, they are part of the conversation. They talk with each other, they review, they make their experience known. And when brands mess up, they pay a price. Victoria’ Secret’s ‘The perfect body’ campaign resulted in a backlash on social media and a 15,000 strong petition calling on them to apologize and end the campaign. Dove faced a PR disaster when an ad showed a black woman turning white reminded social media users of racist soap ads from the 1900s.

Marketing Strategy: Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

Social movements like such as MeToo and Black Lives Matter brought DEI issues to the forefront. In response, organizational leaders see DEI issues as a strategic imperative and brands need to be vigilant in terms of committing to inclusive messages (i.e., understanding and appreciating consumer differences and identities). Although DEI has received greater attention in relation to workforce and consumer behavior, information about how it impacts brands and its implications for marketers is limited. One thing is clear; ignoring it can be disastrous. The rise and fall Abercrombie & Fitch is a prime example. The retailer’s brand was built on elitism. Its stores with athletic, white, and half-naked models and erotic imagery, became a violation of federal and state discrimination laws and led to consumer backlash and demise. This case highlights that DEI is not just a moral and legal imperative but also as a strategic imperative for brands.

As technology and societal norms change, marketers take notice and adapt their marketing strategy accordingly. It may be difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, but resisting change is futile.

BTS Consulting is a full-service strategy and marketing consulting company. With our background as laboratory researchers developing diagnostic tests and discovering drug candidates, senior product managers, and pharmaceutical sales professionals, we have proven to be a valuable resource to develop content for pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics, and health service providers. We look forward to collaborating with you.