A brief history of marketing

Bryony Thomas is a first class marketing strategist who collaborates with us on small business marketing projects. We really respect her judgement and asked her to review the introduction to the ‘Valuable Content Marketing‘ book – always one of the hardest parts to write. Sharon and I were looking for her help to put content marketing in context – something that quickly showed why it’s so important to today’s businesses.

What came to mind for Bryony was the beginning of Star Wars where the plot history scrolls up the screen putting the story you’re about to hear in context. So, here it is, from the fight for footfall to the rise of valuable content, a brief history of marketing, according to Bryony Thomas:

“Once it was enough to simply say “buy this, it’s great”… a time when advertising hoardings plastered the streets and notices started to appear in the press.

Footfall was the name of the game, and shop keepers knew everybody’s name.

Then there were too many hoardings for people to read them all, and the clever ad was born to grab your attention.

Then people starting asking a few more questions, and a brochure was the new marketing must-have.

A time when shopping from your sofa meant big books, a cuppa, a few weeks wait for the snail mail.

Along came the internet and the brochure went online.

A time when barely an hour went by without an irritating sales phone call from people who couldn’t pronounce your name, and got flustered by leaving their script.

And, then the daily clear out of unwanted email.

Databases ruled supreme and your name was attached to one of eight personas… were you a lemon or an orange do you think?

Now, people are able to research all their options at their leisure, and ask the opinions of thousands of people in minutes at any time of day or night, and wherever they happen to be.

A time where people can talk to real people again, even if they’re known by their Twitter handle rather than their name.

Where unwanted interruptions can, thankfully, be blocked, un-followed or sent straight to trash.

Your company needs to be one people choose to hear from. Their permission is yours to earn, and yours to burn.

And, your product needs to be the one those people recommend to others. It needs to stand up to scrutiny and be talked about with real affection.

And, that’s where content marketing matters.

For today’s savvy, cynical, connected buyers, selling no longer works. You need to inform, entertain, and most if all, honestly help them through to a purchase that’s right for them… be it from you or someone else!

And, for that my friends, you need content.

Great content. Valuable content.

And, lots of it.”

Where are you with your marketing? Are you still creating the kind of marketing that people want to avoid?

We would love to hear your views.


Many thanks to Bryony Thomas, marketing speaker and author of Watertight Marketing.

(Image by web designers Atomic Smash, with copy from the ever creative Sharon Tanton).

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