The good-ish old days

There’s nothing like attending a milestone birthday to get you talking about the good old days. The days when you walked around a shop with a trolley to buy your food, you faxed insurance renewal forms, the closest thing to hummus was Shipham’s paste and you put a needle on a record to listen to your favourite hairbrush-grabbing track.

Like our shopping and social consumption habits, the world of marketing has changed beyond recognition. I doubt if my children (who will probably think that The Yellow Pages are a has-been pop duo) will ever receive a door drop or read a classified ad.

Once upon a time the budget battle was TV versus print. Today it is digital against traditional. Twitter versus LinkedIn. Alexa or Invoke. Hyper-personalisation and localisation battling influencer-isation. Social against the world.

Credit and loyalty cards were once the business-changing technology for monitoring what customers liked and wanted more of. To ascertain which brands were in and which were on their way out – cast aside like a once coveted rah-rah skirt. Now we have appliances in our homes that we talk to while they listen. And then maybe they share our secrets with who knows, out there, somewhere. Our very own in-house spy.

The rules of marketing have changed. The players are unrecognisable. The targets never stay still. The playing field is a mine field. The joy of winning is short lived. And your loyal fan base has become flighty.

However, the fundamental basics of marketing remain the same today as they were in the good old days of pedal pushers and Look-In. The search for differentiation. The need to understand customer behaviour. The battle for brand supremacy.

The need to win. Whether it be sales or conversion, brand recognition or esteem, number of likes or shares. The need for industry–accredited awards. We all still want a pat on the back. Real or virtual. From the company boardroom or the Facebook chatroom.

So they may have been quite good those old days, but back then you couldn’t offer your 40th birthday party guests 178 brands of gin to wash down their vegan chipotle foam hors d’oeuvres could you?  Now that’s what I call progress. Gordon may disagree.

Had Gordon had a secret spy he may have known that London gin was so last year. He would have known that customers need a rare and exotic blend of berries and the name of their local town on the label for a gin to make it onto their drinks trolley. Yes drinks trolleys are back. Ah the good old days…

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