The Evolution of Marketing: From Ancient Times to the Digital Age

The history of marketing is much older than most people think. While there is some debate about when commercialization began, many historians believe it started as early as 1500 BC. C. (before the common era) when Mesopotamian societies began mass production of goods that required quality control.

Competition also drove the need to increase production results and market shares across industries. Marketing began to focus on distribution methods, as well as types of communication with the consumer. The goal soon became to persuade customers that the goods and services provided by one company were better than those of another company offering the same. Companies and economies have a long history that dates back to ancient times. People have been trading for thousands of years, so the ancients used some forms of marketing while conducting business. The industrial revolution paved the way for more modern forms of advertising and retailing goods and services.

While today digital advertising is the most popular and valuable form, it has not always been the case. Records of one of the first advertising practices on clay tablets in ancient Mesopotamia have been found in cuneiform writings. In 1854, Ernst Litfaß invented the advertising pillar in Berlin, Germany, to provide an organized form of advertising space. In the last 20 years there have been more changes in advertising than in the previous 2000 years, from ancient Egyptians recording public notices in steel to the 1980s when advertisements were a kind of culture. In simple terms, digital marketing is the promotion of products via the Internet or any form of electronic media.

In marketing literature, there is an ongoing debate about orientations or philosophies that could have informed marketing practice over different periods of time. A key question that has concerned researchers is whether it is possible to identify specific orientations or mentalities that inform key periods of marketing evolution. When combined with greater awareness of the psychological underpinnings that turn visitors into customers (such as highlighting problems, distinguishing between features and benefits, video testimonials and social proof) and the expansion of new social media platforms, the future of marketing is anyone's guess. Traditional marketing platforms will soon disappear and digital markets will take over completely. The cuneiform tablet belongs to the collection of the British Museum and dates from 1750 BC. and was found in the archaic city of Ur, in ancient Mesopotamia.

In the future, new approaches to product, customer and brand positioning will lead to novel marketing approaches that will form the next stage of evolution in this field. Over the past 12 decades, marketing has evolved from simply informing potential consumers about a certain product's existence to a complex network of interactions that take place in person, through print media, on radio and on social media.

Heidi Sor
Heidi Sor

Hardcore coffee lover. Hipster-friendly web scholar. Subtly charming travel scholar. Avid music expert. Beer expert.