Let’s talk evolution. And before your brain gets tied in a knot over the whole “chicken or the egg” conundrum, we’ll clarify: the evolution of marketing. While decidedly less controversial, this topic is one that doesn’t often get attention. But for those who consider marketing more of a calling than merely a career path, knowing where it’s been helps predict where it’s going.

Counting the evolutionary stages of marketing on two hands seems overly simplistic – especially when it seems that today’s marketing strategies are unrecognizable from those that seemed cutting-edge just a few years ago. But to provide a big-picture view, we’ll use the seven-era model that’s accepted by many folks in the biz.

1. Simple Trade Era
The curtain opens in a time when products were either hand-made or harvested, with the Pre-Industrial Revolution as the backdrop. Commodities ran the show, and consumers traded what they had for what they needed.

2. Production Era
The dawn of the Industrial Revolution flipped the script as mass production gave consumers the choice between products – and introduced competition into the mix.

3. Sales Era
This stage spanned the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s and marked the first time that manufacturers had to do more than just stock the shelves if they wanted to move products off of them. With brands vying for consumers’ attention, a primitive version of marketing as we know it emerged.

4. Marketing Department Era
In World War II’s wake, with the economy thriving, the next phase of marketing burst onto the scene. Consumers, for the most part, had more money to spend and they were ready to open their wallets for the brands preaching the message that best resonated with them. As marketing departments became fixtures in most companies, brands’ thinking shifted from pure production to pleasing customers.

5. Marketing Company Era
By the 1960s, marketing was a well-known concept. And with the consumer in the spotlight, it was finally recognized as more than a single step in a product’s journey from assembly line to household. Marketing companies allowed this buyer-focused approach to guide them.

6. Relationship Marketing Era
With the ‘90s came yet another era of marketing, one that put the term “customer relationship management” on the lips of brands. But focusing on the consumer was no longer sufficient, and the brands that successfully forged relationships with buyers rose to the top of the heap.

7. Social/Mobile Marketing Era 
Since its start in 2010, this stage has proven that marketing’s evolution shows no sign of slowing down. The previous era’s theme of relationship building has simply gone digital and with consumers more connected than ever before, marketers now have countless ways to meet buyers where they are.

With technology setting the pace, consumers’ tastes are changing in the blink of an eye. New challenges arise as brands try to keep up, while staying true to who they are. That’s where Motivated Marketing can help! Using the latest technology, analytics and design tools, our team works to keep yours ahead of the curve.

If you’d like to learn more about the modern-day marketing that M2 offers, we’d love to hear from you!