Sales and marketing have come a long way. Back in the day, salespeople went door to door, peddling all kinds of different things, from vacuums to seeds and more. Nowadays, the only salespeople that seem to come to the door are offering either pest control services, alarm systems, home repairs and services, or all-purpose cleaning supplies.
As glamorized by the hit TV show Mad Men, marketers at ad agencies spent their time coming up with catchy slogans and colorful images to draw the attention of drivers on the highway passing by billboards or housewives flipping through magazines. While marketers today do still focus on some of the same essential elements of advertising, the job is much different than it was before the age of the internet.
The amount of technology developed over the years has made a huge impact on the way businesses sell and market their products and services, and we aren’t just talking about today’s most innovative new tech, either. Some of the most influential technologies were established well before these recent times.
The Printing Press – Although we now consider the technology outdated and even poke fun at how slow and frustrating printers and copiers can be, the printing press was revolutionary in its time. It allowed information to be printed in mass, without requiring someone to physically write multiple copies by hand, dramatically reducing the cost of printed materials and making information more widely accessible. It also presented the opportunity for businesses to print ads and sales in the newspaper, giving business a much broader reach.
Radio – Still used today, radio was a big game changer for sales and marketing. Instead of only printing ads in the newspaper, business owners could also make a pitch on the air to all the families listening to any given radio program. If someone missed the paper, they could still catch the radio ad, and if someone wanted to double check what was said on the air, they could refer back to the newspaper. Radio continues to reach a huge number of adults even to this day.
Television – TV made a huge impact on families around the world, and it continues to do so to this day. It also made a big difference for sales and marketing, since TV gave business owners the opportunity to show what they had for sale and demonstrate the product on the spot. For the first time ever, buyers could see products in action and make up their mind about buying without ever setting foot inside the store.
Email – Snail mail has its place in sales and marketing, but email really took the cake. Not only could sales messages be delivered directly to the target’s home, it could be sent specifically to the individual and received almost instantaneously. This cut down turn-around times, helping marketers reach an even broader market than before.
The development of technology has given us targeted prospecting, faster turnaround times, and so much more. When compared to the printing press, email isn’t that old or outdated, but the significant growth brought on by digitalization has dramatically changed the world even since email was first introduced and adopted.
Social Media – Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram may have started out as a way for friends to connect and share photos and updates about their lives, but they have turned into one of the biggest and best ways for sales and marketing teams to advertise to their target audience. Thanks to tools that enable salespeople to narrow their ad’s reach, they can virtually place ad directly in front of the exact people they are targeting.
Cellphones – It would probably be faster to count the number of people in the United States who don’t have cellphones than to count the people who do. In fact, 80 percent of internet users also have a smartphone, and since everyone seems to have one of these little pocket computers, sales and marketing teams now have 24/7 access to their target audiences. Now that audiences can access social media, watch videos on YouTube, and look up recipes on google using their phone, sales teams are scrambling to optimize their websites for mobile.
Smart TVs – Thanks to search engine algorithms, cookies, cached data, and everything else that collects information while you browse the web, sales and marketing teams have access to more information than ever about the things their target audience is interested in seeing. And since smart TVs are connected to the internet, advertisers are able to tailor ads to those personal likes and interests.
Online stores – Stores like Amazon and other online retailers have really changed the way things work. Instead of having to send a flyer in the mail, sales and marketing teams can have an ad pop up right in front of their target audience’s face; once the customer has clicked on it, they can purchase and have it shipped directly to them within a matter of days. Online stores have helped to make the sales funnel and purchasing processes almost instant.
Artificial Intelligence – While AI may still have a way to go before we are no longer able to distinguish robots from humans, it’s already changing the way sales and marketing work. Companies like LeadCrunch are harnessing the power of AI and big data to help other businesses identify and target their ideal customer. All around, artificial intelligence is making advertising a more efficient and cost-effective process.
We might not be able to predict the future, but technology is certain to continue developing and changing the way everything works. Although technology has come a long way, it still has room to grow. As the tech industry continues to expand, it will shape our world and change the way we do things, especially when it comes to business sales and marketing. In the future, you can expect technology like AI to transform customer service and allow employees to handle complex processes more quickly.
What sales and marketing technology are you most looking forward to exploring in the future?