Around ten years ago, most customers went to one or two websites when they wanted to find out about a product, then they would consider whether they wanted to buy that product in person, or risk purchasing something online. Twenty years ago, there was no such thing as eCommerce. To learn about a new product, a client would have to see it on television, or advertised on a magazine.
For many modern customers, it’s hard to imagine what life was like when their grandparents were interacting with brands. Back then, you didn’t have social media to help guide your decisions with reviews and testimonials. Clients couldn’t comparison shop to get the best deals online or reach out to businesses with questions through instant messaging. Here are 3 ways that marketing has changed since the age before computers.
The Customer is Now in Charge
In the past, it was brands that had the power to influence their customers. They didn’t have to constantly fight to manage their reputation, or struggle to earn the attention of their clients when competing with nationwide brands that could ship products around the country. The older generation was stuck with using their local store to make purchases, regardless of whether they liked it or not.
This meant that there was far less competition for older brands to worry about. They knew that if they were the only person to sell a product within a region they could potentially charge whatever they wanted for it. Today, the customer is the one with all the power. If they don’t like the products or prices of the store closest to them, they can just as easily find a better offer online.
Social Proof is Everything
Word of mouth isn’t a new concept. The chances are that your grandparents also listened to the opinions of their friends and families when deciding which services to invest in and which products to buy during their youth. The difference is that they couldn’t tap into nearly as many opinions as are available today. For the most part, the older generation had to trust that they were getting a great product from a new company or chalk a bad experience up as a loss.
Today, the rise of the digital world and social connectivity means that even if customers to know someone who has used the product or service they want to buy before, they can still get a feel for that company’s reputation just by typing a few words into Google. This means that reputation management has become an essential part of the brand experience, with companies constantly working to save face and improve customer satisfaction.
Connections are Subtler
Finally, one of the most significant changes in the marketing world is the switch from outbound marketing to inbound marketing. In the past, if companies wanted to earn the attention of their clients, they’d simply reach out to them through letters, telegrams, or phone calls. Today’s customers completely ignore these connections.
In the modern world, brands have to convince their clients to come to them by using influencer marketing tactics, building relationships on social media, and demonstrating their credibility with thought leadership. The connections are subtle, value-focused, and once again, within the control of the customer.