20 Years in Marketing: How Times Have Changed

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Breathe MarketingI’m celebrating 20 years in marketing. As you’ll see in my brand new video, I still love being in marketing; it’s a field that’s constantly changing and allows me to learn and grow every year.

On that note, it’s astonishing to look at how much has changed in the industry, just in the past two decades. Major tools and ‘mainstays’ of today’s marketing weren’t even around when I started my career.

Here’s a brief look at some of the biggest changes in marketing over the past 20 years:

  • The Internet – Twenty years ago, no one had even heard of the Internet, let alone used it in business marketing. It’s hard to remember now, but businesses didn’t have websites or worry about their ‘online presence’. The idea of ‘e-commerce’ didn’t exist; no one had an online store where shoppers could get information or buy products 24/7.
  • Email marketing – Email was just starting to gain ground in businesses and schools in the 90s but nobody was using it for marketing campaigns. There was definitely no MailChimp, no one had an email list of clients and the only box we were worried about getting SPAM in was a lunch box.
  • Social media – Remember the days before Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? The word ‘tweet’ had nothing to do with communication (except between birds) and ‘posting’ was something you did on a horse, in a newspaper or on a bulletin board. Having your customers ‘like’ you was great, but it didn’t mean they were sharing their views about your products and services with the online world.
  • Devices – Marketing for the iPhone, Android and tablet? Not a concern in the 1990s! ‘Mobile marketing’ had nothing to do with a handheld device – it just meant putting a sign on the side of your truck, or using billboards. If someone wanted to order something from you by phone, they called you from a landline during business hours.
  • Turnaround time – It used to take a lot longer to create an advertising campaign that would reach your customers. Putting an ad in the newspaper required reserving space in advance, creating a layout (which sometimes took days) and sending it off to print. A direct mail postcard campaign often took weeks or even months to design, print and mail, especially if you didn’t have the addresses you needed. Now, with an opt-in email list of your customers, you can get a message out almost immediately. You can set up online advertising with Pay Per Click in 10 minutes!

Need help with all the changes? All of these changes are challenging enough when you’re in the marketing field, but if you’re struggling to keep up (let alone plan for the future), I’m here to help. Contact Breathe Marketing today to discuss how to keep your marketing in line with the times.


Anna Nixon-Smith

All stories by: Anna Nixon-Smith