A proverb goes “If you do not know where you come from, you will never find where you are going.”
In honour of that bit of wisdom, today we are going to look into the history of promotions. Though we admit, this is a bit of a short look. The historical growth of promotions and marketing ‘s not the sort of thing that’s gotten a lot of academic focus, as far as we know.
First lesson: in all likelihood, the first promotional tool was word of mouth. Logically speaking, we just didn’t have anything else we could use to tell people about what we were selling.
Oddly enough, the simple sign in its current incarnation is a more modern promotional tool.
As far back as the Medieval period, we know people used signs. They just weren’t words. Literacy wasn’t a big deal back then, so signs were figures or images indicative of the services provided. You might have seen an anvil to advertise a smithy, for instance.
Of course, the spread of literacy changed how things work.
Promotions could become more in-depth and detailed. Giving customers words to read helped reinforce your message and an explanation of what makes you stand out.
As time has progressed, so have promotional techniques. The slow understanding of how people think and behave has become integral to promotions. There’s a reason sex still sells, or why infomercials are so effective despite everyone knowing they’re ridiculous.
History is also full of failed or discredited promotional tricks.
Banks used to give away small electronics, like toasters, to convince people to sign up for new accounts. The practice stopped when toasters became low-cost enough that giving them away was no longer a viable way to entice new clients.
People used to knock on doors and ask if they had a particular product. If the home did, they got a prize.
When television came on the scene, it needed money. The funds that allowed TV to become what it comes in part from advertisers, who realised it was a good way to get the word out about their products.
Of course, in the modern age, the tool known as hype building has built a niche. You don’t just have companies making announcements anymore. You have them announcing when they are going to make a big announcement. It sounds redundant, but it builds interest and hype.
You may now click home to return to your regularly scheduled promotions.