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A brief history of marketing — and why the new Facebook matters

3 min read

Digital Technology

Marketing never sits still for long. At a South by Southwest session, co-led by American Express OPEN and Skillshare, Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow gave his take on the shifting paradigm of marketing and how Facebook’s features are set to challenge the field all over again.

Highlights of Lazerow’s talk:

A brief history of marketing

Lazerow broke down the history of marketing into three buckets: Before 1996, 1996 to 2003 and 2003 to present. It’s no coincidence, he noted, that 2003 is close to when Facebook launched. He analyzed each era through the role of paid, owned and earned media. (Forrester offers an explainer of these terms.)

  • In the earliest marketing era, traditional paid media dominated. Think print ads, radio, etc.
  • With the rise of AOL and the Internet, by 1996, brands were investing in their own channels such as websites and e-mail marketing channels. Paid media remained a big player, and earned media was still a mere blip on the radar.
  • With the rise of social media, brands looked to harness the power of earned media, or word-of-mouth marketing, allowing customers and advocates to amplify their message through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. With so many brands recognizing the power of these channels, earned media has taken its spot at the table with paid and owned.

A shift in spend

While paid media still dominates overall marketing spend, it is projected to remain flat in the coming years, Lazerow said. Instead, marketers are shifting their budgets toward advancing their owned channels (websites, blogs) and focusing more on the boost solid content can provide through earned media. When brands produce content worth reading and sharing, they will be rewarded.

The Facebook impact

Facebook is clearly a main focus when companies think about earned media, and Lazerow said recent changes to the platform have huge implications for marketers. The new Facebook creates a clear link between all three types of media and especially increases the relationship between paid and earned. Beyond the introduction of Timeline to brand pages, content publishers can make media buys to ensure their content appears in their followers’ timelines. Through media buys, content can show up in as many as 75% of a brand page’s followers’ timelines. Lazerow equated that to the e-mail open rate jumping from the existing 16% to 75%, pointing out the huge implications that would have for even the most advanced marketers.

How are you combining earned, owned and paid media in your own marketing efforts?