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The Impact of Technology on Marketing and Advertising

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The Impact of Technology on Marketing and Advertising

Melinda Stach

Pace University

April 15, 2015

This paper was prepared as an Independent Study, iPace Spring Term 2015, advised by
Dr. Kathryn F. Winsted.


With the continuing emergence of new technology and media, traditional marketing and advertising methods such as print advertising, broadcast advertising, and direct mail are no longer reaching targeted audiences as effectively as they once did. Today’s marketers need to strategize on how to reach their customers through smartphones, tablets and social media, among other digital channels. Marketers need to consider the expense of traditional advertising vs. more affordable forms of online advertising, and they need to consider the speed with which online advertising is delivered. This independent study is being conducted to look at the evolution of advertising from days in which print and broadcast were prevalent to today’s digital advertising strategies, and how technology will continue to influence future marketing practices.

Traditional Marketing

        Scholars believe marketing and advertising have existed since the beginning of human commerce (Berger, 2013).

“There is considerable evidence of marketing throughout human history. Hawkers announcing the availability of products were a constant feature of public life in ancient Greece. In addition, archaeologists have uncovered printed materials promoting wares from ancient Pompeii, Carthage, and Rome. Advertising posters featuring alluring drawings of products for sale were common throughout medieval Europe,” says Berger (2013).

But, it was when Gutenberg invented the mobile printing press in 1450 that the production of posters and circulars would become the first forms of printed advertisements reaching the masses (Tolani, 2007). Over the next couple hundred years, advertisements would become commonplace in newspapers and by the mid-19th century, the first ad agencies would be formed (Tolani, 2007).

        Advertising would continue to evolve through the next century. Propaganda would be used to recruit soldiers to fight in wars (Tolani, 2007). The emergence of radio and cinema in the early 1900s would give sponsors opportunities to advertise their names and products during program intermissions, which would later be surpassed by television broadcast advertising after World War II (Tolani, 2007). By the 20th century, advertising would be used across many forms of media including newspapers, television, direct mail, radio, and billboards (Tolani, 2007). These various forms of early advertising and marketing methods are referred to as “traditional marketing.”

Marketing Campaigns Today

        When strategizing to deliver an effective marketing campaign today, a marketer needs to determine which marketing channel would best accomplish the goal of promoting a product or service and enhancing a company’s image and brand. It’s evident technology and the Internet has had a significant impact on traditional marketing. Television and print readership have decreased as Internet use has increased (Berger, 2013). And, not only are people using their desktop computers to access the Internet, they are also using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. However, traditional marketing has not become obsolete, especially when targeting older audiences. Instead, the approach to traditional marketing is changing, and services that primarily offer traditional forms of advertising are adapting. Lavinsky (2013) states (1) newspapers and magazines have reduced the cost of advertisements to be more competitive with online ads;  (2) television and radio ads and billboards are still options for businesses with larger marketing budgets; and (3) even direct mail has not succumbed to the online age—promotional offers and advertisements are still being printed and mailed.

Still, when marketing to a younger audience, traditional methods are less effective with the generations growing up in or acclimating well to the digital age. For example, while direct mail is still a method used to deliver coupons and offers, promotional sales communications delivered online and to mobile devices can offer a fast, convenient method to deliver the same types of offers to consumers; it can also give consumers the ability to make an immediate purchase (Laudon & Traver, 2013). Quick Response (“QR”) codes are barcodes, which can be scanned, that deliver various forms of information to a consumer, including discounts, promotions, and advertising messages. And, location-based technology can help local businesses leverage use of the Internet and cell phone GPS to find consumers to sell its products (Laudon & Traver, 2013).

Today, ask anyone older than 40 to define advertising and the answer would be simple, “it involves someone—usually an organization of some sort—paying for the right to display a message of his or her own choosing at a particular space or during a particular time, usually in some form of mass media with the aim of persuasion of some kind” (Campbell, Cohen & Ma, 2014, p. 7).

Ask the same question to someone younger and the answer will most likely include mention of the Internet, social media and handheld devices.

Digital and Internet Marketing

        It was during the late 20th century when digital and Internet marketing methods started to emerge. Laudon and Traver (2013) write that there have been three phases in the evolution of the Internet: 1961-1974, the Innovation Phase; 1975-1995, the Institutionalization Phase; and, 1995 to present, the Commercialization Phase. During the first two phases, the fundamental building blocks of the Internet were conceptualized and realized in hardware and software, which were then legitimatized through the funding of large institutions such as the Department of Defense (Laudon & Traver, 2013). However, it is in the Commercialization Phase that “private corporations were encouraged to take over and expand the Internet backbone to ordinary citizens—families and individuals across America and the world” (Laudon & Traver, 2013, p. 105).

From 1995-2000, e-commerce, commercial transactions conducted over the Internet between organizations and individuals, would go through a period of explosive growth (Laudon & Traver, 2013). According to Laudon and Traver (2013), during this early period, e-commerce was heavily concentrated in companies selling retail goods and Internet marketing was limited to simple display ads and search engines. However, during the period between 2001-2006, search engine marketing (“SEM”) would become more dominant (Laudon & Traver, 2013). Advertisements through search engines are delivered to users based on their queries and behaviors and include a mix of text, display ads and video (Laudon & Traver, 2013).



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