Going Global: Advertising In The 21st Century Jeromy J. Clark 06/14/2011 In order to remain effective, the advertising industry has to adapt to changes and trends in society. Because of this, the general pattern of advertising plans will appear to essentially mirror their target market, or a specific group of people in that society, from the picket-signs of years ago to the high-tech advertisements of the 21st century. There are a number of factors that come into play, each affecting the other as well as changes and trends in groups of people in society.
Some of these factors are the culture and values of the target market, their use of technological advances, their degree of communication and connectivity, and the economic conditions of that group- just to name a few. Naturally, those factors in each group contribute to the same factors in society as a whole. By exploring the history of the advertising industry, one can identify the relationship between these factors, and how advertising plans have evolved as a result of adapting to changes in these factors.
Several of these adaptations in the advertising industry have proven to be effective, and so have carried over, becoming characteristics of advertising strategies still widely used even in the 21st century. Changes in society such as population size, technology, competition, buying resistance, or otherwise, require that advertising methods and strategies adapt and evolve to ensure an adequate customer demand to support that business. This is how society and economics drives the development of advertising. Every population on this planet has an economic system, or mode of exchange.
As populations grow, they have emerging needs, and businesses take shape to provide products or services to fill those needs. “After a major hurricane hit Miami last year, Home Depot shipped in plywood from nearly every store in the southeast and still couldn’t keep up with the demand. Profiting by creating natural disasters is, of course, the stuff of comic books and spy novels, but recognizing and satisfying unmet needs is the key tenet of the demand chain. When successfully leveraged, this focus on the demand chain as opposed to the more commonly-observed supply chain) can enable a company to grow its revenue by creating ‘insatiable’ demand… ” (Emerald Insight Staff, 2004, p. 209) Those businesses will advertise in some shape or form in order to make sure that members of their population will come and get them. “Economics has driven the growth of advertising since its earliest beginnings and has made it one of the hallmarks of the free enterprise system. ” (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 7) Advertising had been a way to influence customer demand, even years ago when at a barter-and-trade level economic system.
Back when people lived in small communities, there was not a need for mass production or mass sales, and the only advertising necessary was within the earshot of their voice- but it was there. “Economists and historians have determined that we experience major transitional shifts approximately every 200 years: transitions that alter economic structures, influence our culture and affect our personal beliefs and values. ” (Szukala, 2001, p. 10) During the preindustrial age, as populations grew, markets expanded and product demand grew with them. This growth revealed the need for advertising to develop as well. Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 10) With the invention of the printing press advertising began to take the form of type in signs, posters, handbills, and newspapers. (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 12) The industrial revolution brought about urbanization, which drove businesses into mass production, which in turn led to manufacturers advertising their unbranded goods at wholesale to retailers. (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 12) During this time, not many manufacturers advertised directly to the public, so it was up to the retailers to create a demand for their products.
This brought about a new industry: the Advertising Service industry. In 1841 Volney B. Palmer bought ad space in newspapers at a bulk rate, and resold it to advertisers for profit. From there, more businesses sprang up to fill the need for an Advertising Service. “In 1890, Ayer became the first ad agency to operate as agencies do today— planning, creating, and executing complete ad campaigns in exchange for media-paid commissions or fees from advertisers. ” (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 13) The onset of the Great Depression there was an extreme sales resistance in the overall population. Daniel Starch, A. C. Nielsen, and George Gallup had founded research groups to study consumer attitudes and preferences. By providing information on public opinion, the performance of ad messages, and sales of advertised products, these companies started a whole new business: the marketing research industry. ” (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 13) Advertising strategies then began to focus on the business brand, and what sets it apart from the others- the connotation being that its uniqueness makes it superior.
This strategy worked well until the marketplace was filled with similar products claiming to be unique and better than the rest. Advertising in the 21st century is characterized by technological advances which are steadily pushing business boundaries toward a global economy. As technology becomes more advanced it becomes easier for people to communicate, and people are more connected to each other on an international (some prefer to use the terms “transnational” or “supra-national”) level.
The rate of this trend rapidly increased when the fall of communism brought about the support of free trade in businesses and governments worldwide, and several regulatory changes have since been made, causing foreign investment and trade to be better received. (Bruyn, 2009, p. 181) For the most part, as a result of these technological breakthroughs and constant increase in the use of communication technologies and availability of information, the economy today is distinguished by globalization. (Perrons, 2004, p. 5) For example, where cell phones at one time were bulky and only being used in our cars, we now can easily fit them into our pockets and use them anywhere- even inside our homes. Because of this, several of us have even decided that an actual home phone line is pointless. (Green, 2010, p. 4) One of the latest advancements in cellular technology is the mobile hotspot, where one can connect several devices to the Internet from practically anywhere- literally a modem with the portability of a cell phone.
Cellular phones are now on the market which can give your laptop an internet connection even while simultaneously talking on the phone. This degree of connectivity- the ability to talk to anyone, anytime, and anywhere in the world- while checking emails and instant messaging- undoubtedly facilitates a global economy. “The growth of global firms has been dramatic. In 1970, there were 7,000 global companies in the world, and more than half of them were based in the United States and Britain. By the 1990s, there were 35,000 global companies. ” (Bruyn, 2009, p. 83) Consistent with this trend is a concept referred to as “glocalization,” which is essentially a combination of “globalization” and “localization. ” Glocalization is a 21st century expression of the relationship between local society, and global society, in terms of “parts of a whole. ” When this concept is applied to advertising, it allows for messages to deeply resonate with several local markets around the world, because people in those markets identify themselves as members of both. It gives advertisers a global reach, while maintaining a strong appeal to the individual in the market. HSBC has been a uniform brand ever since 1999, with its red-and-white logo featuring the colours symbolising happiness in many Asian cultures, while the multiple triangles provide dynamic semiotic material that can be, and has been, recombined in later campaigns. The oxymoronic strapline… ‘‘the world’s local bank’’, was introduced in 2002. In 2004, the group shifted their advertising account to an international team of advertisers formed by one global agency, whereas it had previously employed a number of local advertising agencies. (Consumer Republic 2005 as cited in Koller, 2007, p. 116) Advertising in the 21st century makes it easy for consumers to make a purchase, often without even having to leave the comfort of their homes. This has an obvious impact on the advertising industry and businesses in general- provided, of course, that they are taking advantage of current technologies to promote their brand. It simply made it easier for both advertiser and consumer to prompt, initiate, and close a sale quickly. The rise of the Internet was revolutionary in advertising and marketing as a whole.
With the ability to essentially bring a virtual store front right into the home of the consumer wherever they happen to be in the world, the advertising industry was changed forever. “Many of us buy movies and TV episodes on iTunes or other popular Web sites. Many of us are also changing the way we get news and reading material by signing up for e-mail alerts, checking online news sites, and, most recently, using digital reading devices, or e-books, to download and read books, newspapers, and magazines. ” (Green, 2010, p. 5) All of these alerts, news feeds, and reading material provide advertisers with an opportunity and medium through which to promote their brand, products, and services. The 21st century brings about changes in the economic climate which call for yet another shift in advertising strategy. “Now companies are realizing that their most important asset is not capital equipment or their line of products. In the heated competition of the global marketplace, their most important asset is their customer and the relationship they have with that person or organization. (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 19) In the now global economy, the population is so wide and diverse, that mass advertising campaigns are less capable of maintaining mass appeal. “Multiculturalism has become a central discourse in the contemporary marketing literature as marketers struggle to cope with the increasing diversity of markets. The trend towards globalisation of business strategies (encapsulated in the cliche; the world is a global village) has led many marketing practitioners to view the marketplace monolithically. ” (Rao, 2006, p. 15) How do you move a mountain? Steadily, and one rock at a time. Advertising efforts now have to begin specializing and focusing on specific areas of the population. “The key to a company’s prosperity is the ability to attract and keep customers who are willing to pay for the firm’s goods and services. This means a company must be able to locate prospective customers; create products and services to satisfy their desires; and finally communicate that information in a way that resonates with them. ” (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 3) Rather than advertising with a mass marketing approach, managers began a practice that is known as market segmentation and targeting, in order to better appeal to the population, one slice at a time. Market segmentation is where members of the population are categorized and grouped according to common characteristics, and these groups are then sorted into market segments according to their likeliest to take an interest in and benefit from the product or service at hand. Targeting is the coordination and alignment of each advertising campaign so that it is appealing and attractive to members of a particular market segment.
As it pertains to marketing in general, this market segment that efforts are focused on is known as a target market. As it pertains to advertising specifically, this market segment is referred to as the target audience. (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 95) The process of identifying their target market allows managers to evaluate the common characteristics of that group, assemble a profile and personality for the “ideal member” of that group, and then optimize their advertising campaigns in a way that resonates best with their target market.
In other words, it allows managers to offer specific groups of people exactly what they want and need, in a way that is the most likely to get the intended reaction out of them. Businesses managers everywhere stand to gain an extremely high level of exposure taking advantage of 21st century advertising strategies, as well as develop a better lasting relationship with their customers. The result is increased customer satisfaction, more customer loyalty, a significant amount of repeat business, and a steady climb in the company’s overall profit margin. In truth there are very few businesses today that can not benefit from at least some degree of digital marketing – even if it is just providing a basic online brochure telling people what you do, and sending out the occasional update to existing customers via an e-mail newsletter or RSS (Really Simple Syndication – a way to retrieve updated posts or articles from a website automatically) feed. ” (Ryan, 2009, p. 20) New technologies and mediums offered by this age of advertising vastly expand the depth of reach of advertisers- bringing the message right into the homes of consumers. Managers generally regard IT as only one of many possible investments that may benefit their firms. When they choose to invest in [information technology], they do so in the belief that such an investment will provide better returns as compared to other alternatives, for example, not investing or investing in other programs. ” (National Research Council Staff, 1993, p. 98) What’s more interesting is how new technologies of the 21st century make what used to be daunting and tedious processes quick, simple, and very user-friendly. Video marketing” has recently become the hot trend with internet marketing and advertising, with websites all over the web displaying flash videos and moving banner ads on their pages. According to Prelinger (2007), “Though legacy moving image archives still perform the lion’s share of preservation, most appear to have conceded leadership in access to Web services (YouTube, myspace. com video, Internet Archive, and dozens of others), most blithely unconcerned by questions of persistence, ownership, standards, sustainability, or accountability.
Services of this kind powerfully engage younger media makers, enabling rapid (if visually degraded) access to a plethora of material, permitting personalized and networked tagging and annotation, linking contributors and users in increasingly complex social networks, and privileging remixing and recontextualization in ways that the typical PBS producer of the 1990s would have hardly imagined. ” (p. 115) Anyone can now have access to state-of-the-art video production software, and with a little and imagination, these openly available resources can transform any home office into an internet-based video advertising agency.
Looking back over the years, one can clearly identify how technological advancements brought about changes in the culture and economy of society- both locally and on a global scale. As the application of these advances become mainstream in society, advertisers use these new mediums and tools to help reach the public sector in order to increase business. An advertiser’s ultimate goal is to turn as great a profit as possible at the least cost, in terms of time and money, and they have to adapt to changes in society in order to succeed, and many different strategies have been used- some of which are still used today.
Such has been the driving force behind the evolving advertising plans that seem to mirror society- from the shouting to friends or passersby years ago to the high-tech advertisement strategies that we are familiar with in the 21st century. References: Arens, W. F. , Schaefer, D. H. , and Weigold, M. (2009). Essentials of contemporary advertising (2nd ed. ). NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin Bruyn, Severyn T. (2009). Civil economy : Transforming the marketplace in the twenty-first century. Ann Arbor, MI : University of Michigan Press
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