The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Consider the phrase: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Does this concept make any sense when discussing what digital marketing and e-commerce were 20 years ago? I believe the answer is a resounding “no” for some elements with the entire theme being that the customer focus has not changed.

Looking back 20 years, many retailers doubted the internet’s potential. Google had just emerged, Yahoo only alphabetically listed sites, Facebook was nonexistent, and there were less than 100M people worldwide using the web. In fact, <15% of consumers were purchasing online.

With the core value of putting customers first, retailers have had to adjust their expectations and strategies accordingly. Today, a personalized experience has taken on a heightened role given new expectations fueled by the plethora of disruptive brands and marketing tech power, among other factors. With emerging capabilities of AR/VR, natural voice, and the IoT, there has been a major shift in the customer experience. 

Over the years, pure play brands began driving the dramatic growth of digital marketing and more recently, multichannel retailers have been driving progress while tackling the most challenging opportunities to integrate the digital and physical shopping experience. However, as technology continues to develop, people remain the same in the sense that they seek relevancy, yearn for connectedness and value entertainment.

20 Years Ago…

·      Email was just developing as a marketing channel, and some of us were even secretly collecting names at outlet stores to prove its value.  Many marketers started off using email cautiously in fear of disrupting the customer’s personalized retail experience. Today, email is a main point of contact for retailers, and moves the needle in terms of customer acquisition and retention.

·      Marketers spent our time focused on broadcast media, PR and direct marketing circulation plans. The explosion and complexity of the digital media channels has required an entire new discipline to manage fueling awareness, persuasion, conversion tactics and changing the marketing investment almost daily to optimize. 

·      Belardi Wong was already anchored in helping to build brands, relentlessly focused on customer acquisition with cutting-edge methods.

Reflecting on my favorite quote, “The only difference between a hallucination and a vision, is how many people can see it,” prompts me to share the sentiment that at Belardi Wong, we view ourselves as “growth hackers,” helping brands evolve as so much changes, yet keeping the focus on the customer experience and brand growth.

Staying true to our brand, we really are “an integrated marketing and creative solutions firm, relentlessly focused on driving revenue, profit and file growth.”