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The real skill now is learning how to pick out the useful information from all this noise. – Nate Silver
As this Entrepreneur infographic will show you, marketing has come a long way in a relatively short time.
In 1450, Gutenberg revolutionized printing. The first print magazine was published in Philadelphia in 1741. By 1839, posters were already so popular that they were banned on London properties. And less than 30 years later, in 1867, the first billboard went up.
Think about that. It took us 418 years to get from printing Bibles to renting out billboards. A glacial pace compared to the seismic shifts in today’s marketing landscapes.
The Evolution of the Consumer
Today, marketing moves at the speed of innovation, and innovation is merciless.
Take search, for instance. Such a simple innovation. It’s a no-brainer that helps consumers find what they want faster and more effectively. Yet the introduction of search put the world of marketing through a Cambrian Explosion.
Suddenly, outbound marketing and advertising, which had practically been 100% of all marketing, were joined by inbound marketing and content marketing. For the first time in history, consumers could easily find the businesses they wanted to do business with, making those nice brochures and fancy mail catalogs relics of the snail mail era.
In a span of less than 20 years, the average consumer went from being advertising-dependent to search-empowered, and marketers knew that the only way to stay relevant was to change the way they did marketing. Educational blog posts, entertaining social media campaigns, useful infographics—none of this content would have existed if it weren’t for the implementation of search.
The Evolution of Marketing
Today, marketers have to work harder and smarter than ever before to keep their customers and attract new ones.
Customers are just too smart now. They block ads, ignore canned content, and are better read than ever before. They continue to be more and more empowered. How can brands possibly react in time, much less strategically?
New solutions, like marketing automation and real-time personalization, are inevitably adopted as marketers scramble to adapt. Some are only familiar with the inbound landscape, and aren’t sure how to A/B test or align marketing with sales. Others are born salespeople, but don’t understand the importance of content marketing.
To truly succeed as a marketer in the 21st century, you need to move fast. Your brand needs to utilize all these different tactics, but you also need to understand the lay of the land. Google search is moving away from SEO-gaming towards conversation marketing (which we’ll talk more about in our next blog post).
So don’t settle for poor writing just because it’s easy. Google rewards quality content because that’s what customers want: conversations that help solve their problems. It’s up to us to figure out how to get those conversations started.