Advertising & Marketing Hasn’t Changed!

In the last 2 days, I have had several conversations with people who think advertising on the Internet is completely different than advertising on Mobile devices.

They also all wanted to vent their frustration with me about how they can’t seem to get anything going for their own Internet businesses.

In each situation, I kept trying to get them all to understand that Advertising and Marketing hasn’t changed in almost a century. (Maybe longer than that, but I don’t study stuff beyond that point.)

In a nutshell, here is what I want you to understand if you are having this same issue:

Advertising and Marketing hasn’t changed! Only the medium we use to get our message across changes.

I was telling one guy the story of how Sears went from a mail order catalog business to being the largest retailer in the United States at one point.

Here is the link to the Wikipedia article about Sears if you want to read more about them.

But what many people don’t realize about Sears was that Richard Sears, the man who started Sears in the late 19th century, was a master copywriter.

His copywriting skills is what gave him an advantage over his competition.

Basically, he was able to master the art of writing words that were designed to get people to want to buy the stuff in his catalog.

Now he also had to compete in price as well and understand the wants, needs, desires of his target audience, etc.

But nonetheless, his unique skills gave him that competitive advantage over other companies who were advertising and marketing to the same audience.

What’s you competitive advantage?

What’s your unique skill set?

(If you can’t answer the two questions above, you have a serious problem that is hindering your ability to be successful with your advertising and marketing strategy.)

In the late 19th century, mail order was the premiere method for advertising and marketing.

It was on the cutting edge of the times.

Then radio came along…

Then TV…

Then the Internet…

Now Mobile is emerging as the new medium that everyone is touting as being the “Next Big Thing.”

But the basic foundation of Advertising and Marketing is still the same as it was many, many years ago.

And it ain’t changing no time soon!

The only thing you should really be focusing on is being able to send a clear message to your target audience about what you have to offer and how it will add value to their lives in some way.

If you can’t effectively get your message across, you will be unsuccessful regardless of what medium you choose.

Whether you are using the Internet, Mobile, or any other medium for Advertising and Marketing, you really need to understand that the medium doesn’t matter as much as many people like to make it seem.

Any message can be adapted to be effective for any medium with the right tweaking.

And when you get people to your offer, you need to have a strong enough offer to “seal the deal.”

It’s all about traffic and conversions at the end of the day.

Can you get eyeballs to your offer?

When you get them to your offer, can you convert them?

(Here are two more very important questions you need to ask yourself that’s much more important than worrying about what medium to use.)

There are many advertising and marketing mediums that exist today and many more may be created before it is all said and done.

But one thing is for sure:

The basic foundations for Advertising and Marketing hasn’t changed.

Post your comments, issues, etc. below and continue the conversation. :-)


5 Responses to “Advertising & Marketing Hasn’t Changed!”
  1. Dave says:

    Hey Tommie

    Nice way of looking back to look forward. Mail order was HUGE-and guess what? It still is. I bought tons of stuff all the way up until the 80’s as a kid from the giant Sears catalog. DESPITE living right here in the Sears hometown, Chicago.

    Quick sidenote, another reason people loved that Sears catalog was they used it for toilet paper. Seems comical but it was great marketing. People shopped on the john. And they still do; J Peterman picked up on that Sears style of super descriptive writing and made millions-and even became a running joke on Seinfeld (more exposure).

    So the mediums change but a good message is a good message. I think there’s a Rich Shefren product out there where he goes through some of those 70’s comic book mail order ads. And here we are today where comics are sold digitally-but guess what? Same kind of ads!

    Now, as you know I’m deep into mobile, so it DID take a certain amount of experimenting to learn that adjustments have to be made to HOW you convey a message when you switch media-so that has to be taken into consideration-but generally WHAT is being said is still the key. But your readers already know this; we went from static websites, to blogs, to twitter/facebook to mobile in like 5 years.

  2. Tommie says:


    As usual you bring up some excellent points.

    The toilet paper stuff is classic!

  3. @Tommy

    Whittling marketing down to two unique questions is brilliant, especially since we often time get all caught up in the shiny object. The internet has given the small business person the thing they have been screaming they need to compete against the bigs but they are so confused they are hardly even taking advantage of it. Maybe when we as marketers communicate, “hey guy/gal it is the same stuff you’ve been doing only now we are just using cooler tools to do it with,” they may finally harness the power waiting at their fingertips

    As you said business hasn’t changed since man learned how to trade to get things we want most, just the tools we use have changed. I totally agree.


  4. Tommie says:

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Yes, the tools are very different these days and that’s a good point I should have used.

    But tools can’t replace good ole basic and fundamental knowledge of effective advertising. A tool used in the wrong way you get you the wrong results.

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