The Evolution of Marketing Technology – Part 5: Personalization Period

This is the 5th and final part in our ongoing series, The Evolution of Marketing Technology. You can find the first 4 parts here:

Part 1 – Word of Mouth Marketing

Part 2 – Signage & Written Word Period

Part 3 – Mass Media Period

Part 4 – Mainframe Period

Because of its constant fluidity, the Internet is a communication medium that can react instantaneously. Before the ubiquity of personal computers, Internet, and smartphones, human knowledge was only as fast as the quickest train, plane, and automobile. Now, an endless amount of information is immediately accessible and updated, from practically anywhere, and by anyone.

The dynamic nature of this new medium allows companies to quickly measure, react, and influence individual consumers. Advertising was no longer purchased using assumptions about where a consumer was in the past, but where they were in the moment. A few years after launching their search engine, Google launched Adwords in 2000, a pay-per-click advertising service. Adwords could display relevant ads using immediate consumer intent and charge you only if an action was taken. Our buddy Sven could now find an exact audience for his axes and deliver perfectly timed marketing communication from anywhere in the world.


Google Adwords (highlighted in red) show up on the page according to your search terms.

Marketers could now directly talk to a desired customer, and, for the first time, the customer could talk back. Social media equalized the playing field. Being a mass media influencer was previously reserved for only the largest and most successful companies and celebrities. However, the emergence of popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in the mid-2000sallowed anyone to captivate a global audience of millions. Brands that took decades and millions of dollars to develop could be tarnished by a few social media miscues. At the same time, millions of dollars in sales and equity could be generated using only 140 characters or a vlogger’s webcam.

Another development was that storefronts were not longer static. As commerce has shifted to the Internet, products could be displayed specifically to entice an individual to make a purchase. Sven could now display that double-sided battle-axe with the pink handle Olga had been eyeing, and entice her with the perfect offer. Companies shifted their strategies from trying to influence large swaths of consumers, to developing personal relationships with individuals. Finding an audience was no longer a problem; connecting with them was now the challenge.

Marketing Today

The communication progress achieved in the last two decades can be attributed to the foundation built upon the invention of language, writing, mass media, and computers. As with each of those historically significant periods, marketing has quickly adopted advances in communication to support and grow global commerce. Yet, none of those advancements have been laid to rest. Word of mouth is just as important in the current age as it was in the ancient history. Moreover, some would argue that it’s only now reached the peak of importance because of the power of social media.

Marketers should use every tool they have accessible to them. By utilizing technology like Retention Science, almost any marketer can send a campaign that reaches the right individual, with the right message, at exactly the right time. This one-to-one communication allows brands to better understand their customers, which leads to better products, better service, and a genuine, lasting relationship.