I wrote this post just prior to the election. It was set to auto-publish the following morning. Ready to rejoice with you over Hillary’s landslide victory. Prematurely thrilled to have the first woman president of the United States.
I was certain that the consciences of well-intentioned Americans would prevail and make it impossible to elect a man who:
- thinks sexual assault is locker-room talk
- mocks people with disabilities
- grabs women by the p*$$y
- is openly racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc
I believed that, behind closed curtains, people, especially women, could never vote to elect this morally bankrupt man.
I was dead wrong. Were you?
What does this have to do with marketing? A lot. Stick with me . . .
I recently spoke at the On Purpose Woman Conference about the evolution of marketing. It’s truly fascinating! In just a few years, the tools that allow us to communicate globally have become accessible, affordable, and available to anyone.
In the New Era of Marketing the power is in the hands of the individual, not the faceless corporation. You can decide to “elect yourself” and be a voice for what you believe in. You can build a platform to market your ideas, passions, expertise, or products and grow a community that supports your work.
It’s become easy to do.
It’s also quite difficult because electing yourself means being your absolute, authentic self—not a sanitized version of you that plays it safe and worries that people might unsubscribe–gasp!
In The New Era of Marketing unsubscribing is good! The point of building a platform is to connect with your people. And that’s not everyone.
Some of you may unsubscribe to my list right now. And that’s okay. If you voted for an admitted sexual abuser for the highest office in the land, you don’t belong here. Let’s be crystal clear with one another.
When I see the words elect yourself I feel empowered and I hope you do to. It’s not that we CAN elect ourselves, it’s that we MUST.
I don’t mean that we all need to be marketers. I mean that we need to take responsibility for what we believe in. We need to own our values, communicate about them honestly, and elect ourselves to stand up and protect them like we protect our own children and loved ones.
Why is now the time to elect yourself? When did we move from the faceless corporation to the genuine individual? How did this shift happen so quickly?
In a nutshell:
The Era of Traditional Marketing: 1704–1997
Marketing is as old as civilization but, since we're talking about America, we'll start here. In 1704 the first American newspaper ad ran. In the early days there was little competition. It was easy to get attention. Technology was moving slowly and so was marketing:
1835 First Billboard
1891 First Brand Identities (Kodak, etc)
1920 First Radio Commercials
1941 First TV Commercial for Buluva watches
By the 60s brands needed to be competitive. so marketers turned to human psychology to differentiate their products (Think Coke and Pepsi). This is where marketing became a dirty word.
Fast forward to 1993 when the internet was born and the first commercial websites sold clickable ads. It was the wild west of the web. The user interface looked awful and only faceless corporations had the money to be there. The internet was wide open. It was easy to get attention.
Marketing in the Era of Traditional Marketing was:
- time consuming
- for faceless corporations/brands
- wide open
And then there was a shift . . .
Era of the IPO Entrepreneur: 1998–2002
In 1998 there was a big shift in marketing. One-to-one marketing software was developed, which made it possible to deliver content based on user behavior. Search engines used keyword searches to deliver custom ads. Big companies launched e-commerce websites and member-based portals. It was the digital gold rush and rich investors with IPO dreams poured money into the internet . . . cue Dot-com bubble . . .
Marketing in the Era of the IPO Entrepreneur was:
- still very expensive
- still time consuming
- complicated and unrefined
- inaccessible to individuals
- for faceless corpoations/brands and very rich investors
- still wide open
Era of the Start-up Entrepreneur: 2003–2010
Once the internet was well established everyone wanted to mark their spot. Cascading Style Sheets were developed to improve typography. People learned how to use code to build their own websites and applications like Dreamweaver made it even easier to do. Anyone with the drive to do it could buy a domain and put up a website. Email marketing tools and PayPal became accessible to everyone. It was easier for anyone to sell products and build a community. The down side was it was getting crowded.
Marketing in the Era of the Start-up Entrepreneur was:
- less time consuming
- visually appealing
- accessible to driven small businesses and individuals
- the market was crowded
Era of the Solo Entrepreneur: 2011–today
In the Era of the Start-up Entrepreneur many things were quickly evolving that paved the way for today's solo entrepreneur, primarily mobile internet access, new web publishing tools, and social media. The iPhone was just released in 2007! Rapidly, the internet went from our desks to our pockets. Inexpensive tools that allow us to create websites, build email databases, and market ourselves for low to no cost were developed by the dozens.
Marketing in the Era of the Solo Entrepreneur is:
- well designed
- accessible to anyone
- it's a very crowded space
- it's for businesses and individuals who can stand out