The Evolution of Marketing

Marketing develops as the society and its economic activities develop as well. Also, the need for marketing arises and grows as the society moves from an economy of agriculture and self-sufficiency to an economy built around division of labor, industrialization and urbanization.

During agrarian economy, the people are largely self-sufficient – they grow their own food, produce their own clothes, build their own houses, etc. There was no marketing, because, little or no exchange was in place.

However, over time, the concept of division of labor began to evolve. People concentrated on producing more than the quantity they needed; and whenever people make more than they wanted, the foundation is laid for trade, and trade (exchange) is at the heart of marketing.

At first, the exchange process was a simple one. The emphasis was largely on the production of basic needs which usually were in short supply. Little or no attention was devoted to marketing, and exchange was very local.

Then came the era of marketing; this came about when some producers began to manufacture their goods in large quantities in anticipation of future demands. At this juncture, it can be stated that marketing evolved in the United States as a by-product of the industrial revolution.

Therefore, up to 1910, the American economy was very low. It was characterized by shortages of economic resources (goods). The middlemen were very strong; the main problem was that of production and distribution.

Modern marketing came of age after World War I and II when surplus and over-production became an important part of economic activities.

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In 1929, (the manufacturing era) there was the manufacturing of goods and services, but below the expected demands. The main concern was to produce enough to meet the demands at hand.

Between the 1930 and 1940s (sales era/depression era), there was enough production of consumer goods and services. The major problem at hand was that of marketing/distribution. The concern was to design the most effective channel institutions among the various alternatives.

Between the 1940 and 1950s (the war era), all efforts were geared toward the production of war equipment, at the expense of consumer goods. When the war came to an end, there were shortages of consumer goods. Hence, efforts were geared toward the production of consumer goods.

During these periods, various authors came up with different theories; for instance, Professor Joe Robinson wrote on the monopolistic economy. He assumed that if a company can produce an item in such a way that the marginal returns will offset its price from the marginal costs, and the markets are segmented equally, then such a company would be able to maximize its profits. Thus, people became interested in this theory.

There was another author named Wanded Smith. He wrote an article on ‘why people must segment their markets and differentiate their products’. His argument was based on the fact that various companies use different machine for the production of war equipment.

Besides, consumer purchasing power and tastes are not the same. During this period, marketing concept evolved. Marketing concept is a business philosophy that states that “the satisfaction of consumer’s want is the economic and social justification for a firm’s existence”.

It is a managerial philosophy for performing business activities, which sees the entire business activities as a unit to be planned, and mobilized to produce goods and services to satisfy consumers’ needs in such a way as to enhance the profit of the firm.

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The 1960s (marketing control era) was the period when marketing department became well known and so much important in the U. S. A., for instance. One of the authors of the time, Peter Drunker states that marketing department is so complex that it can’t be handled by a single individual.

The attention, at this period, was directed towards markets. Also, consumerism came up due to the failure of the marketing concept. Consumerism is an organized movement of citizens and government to strengthen the rights and power of buyers in relation to sellers.

Consumerists seek to increase the amount of consumer information, education, and protection. From the 1980s to date (societal era), communication has turned the whole world into a global village. The effort has been on how to satisfy the needs of society, and consumers have become, increasingly, conscious of their rights.

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