How the internet has changed marketing

Summary #

The internet changed marketing by changing human communication. The internet revolutionized human communication by drastically reducing the cost of communication. It changed how people consume information. The dominant source of information became other people on the internet than traditional media (TV, newspaper). Companies can no longer use money to spread inauthentic information.

Explanation #

Marketing is generating demand. It is done through communication and persuasion. Communication makes people aware of a product. Persuasion makes people like a product. In traditional marketing, broadcast media (TV, radio, newspaper, yellow pages, PR) was used for both communication and persuasion. Some of these media were good for communication (yellow pages) and others good for persuasion (TV, PR).

The internet was initially a network of websites. It was similar to yellow pages. People used it to search for products/services before making purchases. Google search became the new yellow pages. Marketers took advantage of this by setting up websites and driving traffic to it using SEO (search engine optimization). Communication was done by appearing in Google search results. Persuasion was done by having a good looking website.

The internet changed persuasion through social media #

Social media is the media of and by the people. In social media, people consume information from each other. Its popularity has made people consume less information from traditional media (TV, newspaper, company websites) and more from each other through Yelp reviews, Facebook posts, tweets, etc. The flow of information in social media is not controlled by gate-keepers like in traditional media (TV channel owners, newspaper owners etc.). So marketers cannot drive the narrative in social media using money as they did in traditional media. So they can no longer use lies and half-truths in persuasion. Such deception will be found out and amplified by the people in social media. So persuasion through deception will no longer work. Authenticity is the only currency in social media. Only authentic information spreads in social media. So persuasion through brute force advertising will not work in social media. Such messages will not spread because they are inauthentic. The only persuasion which will work in social media is persuasion through authenticity. Companies need to behave like an authentic human being. They need to have a personality. They need to have normal conversations with people and not always be selling.

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