From Traditional to Tech: The Evolution of Marketing

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When our agency launched over 30 years ago, it was done so as one of the first technology-focused PR agencies in Boulder and one of the first agencies to have a presence on what was then known as the “World Wide Web.” Three decades in business is bound to invoke a need for change in a communications agency’s name and values, especially considering the significant changes the marketing landscape has undergone over the last 30 years. The world of marketing now includes several service offerings that simply didn’t exist 30 years ago. The transformation brought on by the influence of the internet and social media has married traditional marketing efforts with public relations, creating a new breed of “marketing,” one that can truly create influence for its customers.

How Marketer Influence Has Evolved

The word influence has always been a keyword in marketing and public relations. Companies have long searched for ways to influence investors and potential customers, but a new wave in technology has expanded what influence looks like, and just how much it can help (or hurt) a business. As the world has grown more connected, the power of influence has grown more important than ever. A single person’s opinion (e.g., a review online) can heavily influence hundreds or even thousands of customers to support your business … or not. A single social media post can create a community of support, or hatred, for your brand. The days of pushing out a press release to control the narrative are over. Every piece of everything you do has more influence than ever before, creating a ripe but potentially dangerous landscape for new businesses.

The Marketing Tools of Today

The tools businesses use to reach their audiences have also changed drastically. Not only are there more tools than ever before, but even the traditional marketing tools are also operating differently. Wire services are a great example of this. The “news wire” refers to traditional wire services where subscribing media can receive information about company announcements, new products, etc. pushed out in the form of press releases. Traditionally, these journalists would physically receive the news to their desks either from the wire service or hand-delivered with a physical media kit by a public relations/marketing representative from the company.

Now, digitized “news wires” still deliver the news to a list of subscribed reporters, but smart marketers know better than to rely on this for coverage in the same way they could in the past. Journalists today expect to receive tailored, direct outreach that provides unique angles geared directly toward their readers. In many cases, they’ll expect you to provide digital assets to go along with the story (e.g., videos) that make the news more easily shareable for today’s readers.

To take things a step further, the massively important emergence of search engine optimization now encourages smart marketers to not only “put out their news” but to ensure that the news can live in more than one format in more than one place, increasing the odds that Google will favor your news among interested searchers on the internet. Blogs, social media posts, contributed articles and other forms of “repurposed” news content have become increasingly important as a means to influence search algorithms and increase your visibility.

Tomorrow’s Toolkits for Marketers

Though decades of change have influenced the new marketing landscape, many of the most drastic changes have come about in the last 15 years. As technology continues to change the way we do business, we can expect more shifts to happen more frequently. What was considered “full service” 10 years ago may be an incomplete strategy in today’s world. Today’s marketers use a toolkit composed of everything from social media, graphic design, SEO, content development and other digital marketing tools to offer a complete marketing solution to their businesses, clients and the press. But what will the toolkits of the future look like?

Technology suggests we will see an increase in highly targeted, demographically charged messaging supported by algorithms uniquely created to best serve the end user. To stay relevant, companies will need to utilize marketers with not only the strategic and creative skills to develop their messaging strategy, but organizations will also need to make sure they’re engaging marketers that also hold the deep technical knowledge needed to utilize the ever-changing benefits of technology to the favor of your business.

Understanding not only the tools, but the technology behind them is becoming increasingly crucial for marketers to create successful campaigns. Keeping up with the times is important in any business, but when it comes to marketing, it can be the difference between success and failure. Strategic experience combined with technical know-how is the new “must-have skill” for marketers across the globe. And as we look forward to the changes the next decade will bring, we must always remember to never lose our curiosity and never stop learning.

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