Advertising and Marketing Careers Background
From the street cries of merchants selling their wares to today’s sophisticated electronic means of reaching customers, advertising has experienced a dramatic evolution. In its earliest days, advertising allowed merchants to go from street to shop, adopting symbols and later written signs to show the goods and services they offered. With the invention of paper and advances in education that enabled more and more people to read, tack-up signs became common. It wasn’t until printing was introduced in the 15th century, however, that advertising was truly revolutionized. Merchants began printing and distributing handbills by the hundreds. Advertisements in newspapers became a familiar sight by the 17th century. By the end of the 1800s, magazines were carrying ads of all kinds.
The advertising industry formally emerged in the 1840s, when newspaper-advertising solicitors began representing groups of newspapers. In 1865, a new system was introduced: buying newspaper space and dividing and selling it to advertisers at higher prices. Other forms of advertising also came onto the scene. By the early 1900s, for example, outdoor posters developed into the billboard form, and the merchants who used them were the principal advertisers. In 1922, radio station WEAF in New York City offered program time to advertisers. The use of television advertising began just before the end of World War II. Today, the Internet is catapulting the world of advertising into a whole new realm, allowing vendors not only to target and reach customers but to interact with them as well.
Modern advertising is defined as mass communication paid for by an advertiser to persuade a particular segment of the public to adopt ideas or take actions of benefit to the advertiser. Today, most national advertising, and much local advertising, is prepared by advertising agencies.
Marketing is anticipating customer needs and directing a flow of need-satisfying goods and services from producer to customer. A combination of events led to the creation of the marketing industry as it exists today. After the Roaring Twenties, which produced an abundance of products, it was no longer true that a good product would sell itself. Competition for customers increased, and producers sought ways to boost awareness of their products in order to remain viable in the market. When radio broadcasting flourished in the United States during the 1920s, advertisers quickly capitalized on the new medium.
A second major influence on the development of the marketing industry was the Great Depression of the 1930s. As money became scarce, an increased number of producers competed for dollars in an ever-shrinking marketplace. Up until then, producers had been willing to market anything with the assumption that someone out there somewhere would buy it. But businesses soon discovered otherwise. Sales began to drop. If there was no interest in or need for a product, an advertising campaign might carry the company through the first wave of purchases. After that, however, there would be little chance of improving sales.
The business discipline of marketing began to take shape as sellers realized that if a group of potential buyers could be found for a product, the product could be better designed to suit the needs of those buyers. Sellers also discovered the importance of identifying a group of buyers before starting an advertising campaign. By doing so, the producer could style the campaign to reach that specific group and would have a better chance of launching a successful product. Marketing, therefore, provided a service for both sides of the business world, the seller and the buyer.
This market-driven thinking is now a major part of business decisions and begins long before product development, manufacturing, and sales. In fact, the market is the central focus of both today’s advertising and marketing trends and those that will take industries into the next millennium. Database marketing, for example, allows companies to identify their current and potential markets and provide customer service—before, during, and after the sale. Relationship marketing—developing long-lasting relationships with customers—requires companies to examine customers’ needs, offer products and services that satisfy those needs, supply products and services quickly, and offer customers choices with respect to the products as well as ways to purchase and pay for them.
In order to reach and keep their customers, advertisers and marketers are capitalizing on the newest technologies. The number of Internet users worldwide was estimated at 1.04 billion in 2006, and companies are responding by placing advertising on the Web and creating Web sites that allow customers the ease and convenience of online shopping. From flowers to antiques, clothing to furniture, virtually everything can be purchased online. Other technology-related trends include fax-on-demand services, phone shopping via voice mail, and 24-hour interactive communication.