1.3 The Shifts in the Marketing Field: Branding, Management, Customers
As seen in the previous section, the business world underwent many changes that supervened as collateral effects of the global societal movement. “Customership” has existed since the very first trade activities between tribes and villages, but it had a different cause. Today being a consumer is all about receiving high-quality services, while back then being a customer simply meant buying or trading for basic items like food and clothing.
In the past, business owners were essentially merchants who managed their stores on their own, so even the company name would often have a personal touch, like the famous watch brands Rolex and Bvlgari. In contrast, many other shops bore the name of the owner. Even today, Japanese manufacturers continue with the tradition of naming businesses after family names: for example, Honda or Suzuki. Shop owners focused on production and distribution, offering only superficial attention to the advertising and marketing of their products. Employees were sometimes as few as one accountant and perhaps a boy running errands and delivering packages. Buyers chose stores and products from manufacturers that had long-standing relationships with their families or through word-of-mouth in their closest social circles.
The Industrial Revolution brought mass production and machines that would handle the production and distribution processes. This eventually led to higher demand, and shop owners were driven into partnerships or hiring more people to answer those demands. Customers became more involved in the business processes because they had a wider variety of products, prices, and levels of quality to choose from.
Through having this freedom of choice, clients developed an understanding about the relationship between quality and price. The main market was formed by cheaper products that were mass produced and distributed, while expensive products were uniquely crafted with special deliveries.
The Industrial Revolution also triggered changes in the organizational dimensions of businesses. Local communities could not absorb the large quantity of mass production, and therefore manufacturers had to expand and to create sales divisions within the company for logistic purposes and winning more customers. However, the main goal was still meeting orders, with little concern for or awareness of what the clients wanted. Looking at the impact that the Industrial Revolution had on the market helps us build an image of the development of the business world.
A second large shift was the Technological Revolution, including the invention of the telephone, call centers, email, and later on the wide jungle of the Internet. A direct effect of the technological revolution was the development of the world’s economy and the expansion of the international market. With greater access to customers and increased competition between firms and manufacturers, business owners had to pay more attention to clients’ requirements. The sales divisions were facing the challenge of re-thinking their market strategy and the quality of their products. A more viable communication method was necessary to connect the three channels: customers, sales divisions/employees, and management/owners.