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Nick Berry

From Billboards to Clicks: The Evolution of Marketing

From Billboards to Clicks: The Evolution of Marketing

Back When Billboards Ruled the World

Ah, the good old days, when marketing meant plastering a massive sign on the side of a highway, hoping drivers wouldn’t be too distracted by the scenery (or their sandwiches) to notice. Billboards were the real giants of their time – both literally and figuratively. You could gauge a brand’s marketing muscle by the size of their billboard and its prime location. But did they work? Of course! When you’re stuck in traffic, there’s nothing much to do other than gawk at oversized ads.

Then came the radio – the original podcast. Advertisers would interject peppy jingles and catchy slogans between your favorite tunes. Suddenly, your shower performance included the local car dealership’s latest offer. “Buy a car, get a toaster”? Those were the days!

The Yellow Pages: Google’s Grandparent

Believe it or not, there once was a time when if you needed a plumber, you didn’t “Google it.” You turned to a gigantic book called the Yellow Pages. This behemoth of a directory was the bridge between businesses and customers. It was simple: bigger ad, bigger call volume. Just flip those pages, and there it was – every service you could imagine. SEO back then? It was all about having a company name that started with an “A” or a number. “A1 Plumbing” anyone?

Enter the Digital Titans: Social Media, Podcasts, and Google Ads

Fast forward to our ultra-modern era, where billboards have transformed into sponsored Instagram posts, and radio jingles have been replaced by podcast ads. “But wait, there’s more!” as every infomercial ever would say. We’re not just scrolling and tapping; we’re engaging, sharing, and even tagging brands in our posts, hoping for that elusive shoutout or repost.

Podcasts, the evolved cousin of radio, have given birth to a unique ad space. Ever found yourself chuckling over a podcast host attempting to seamlessly integrate a mattress ad into their crime investigation episode? Or a philosophical discussion being paused for a brief nod to website builders? Ah, the wonders of modern marketing.

And then, there’s the undeniable powerhouse: Google Ads. These sneaky little lines of text have revolutionized the way businesses reach their audience. Looking for socks? Boom! Ads for socks. Mentioned socks in a passing conversation? Boom! More ads for socks. It’s magic – or just clever algorithms, but who’s keeping track?

Advantages & Disadvantages: The Great Debate

Let’s break it down. Old school marketing had its charm. It was tangible, often artsy, and reached a broad local audience. On the downside, it was difficult to track its effectiveness. I mean, how do you know how many folks bought that toaster after looking at the billboard?

Modern marketing, on the other hand, offers precise targeting and detailed analytics. You can know how many clicks, views, shares, and sales each ad generates. But there’s a flip side. Digital space is crowded, and attention spans? Let’s just say they’re shorter than that fleeting thought of hitting the gym on a Sunday morning.

Money Matters: Comparing the Bucks

In the golden age, securing a prime billboard spot or radio slot was not cheap. The costs skyrocketed depending on size, location, and duration. And the Yellow Pages? A full-page color ad could cost as much as a small car. 

Today, with a few clicks, even budding businesses can set up ads on Facebook, Google, or Instagram. It can be economical, scalable, and customizable. You control your budget, your audience, and your message. But remember, while starting might be cheap, dominating the digital space can have its hefty price tag. 

Marketing Metrics Mania: Measure Twice, Cut Once

Measuring success in the olden days was, well, a bit of a guessing game. Sure, increased sales post a new billboard was a positive sign, but direct attribution? Good luck with that.

Enter the modern era with its delicious buffet of metrics: clicks, impressions, conversions, bounce rates, and more. Want to know the age, location, or favorite color of the person who clicked on your ad? There’s probably a metric for that. It’s like having x-ray vision but for marketing.

To Each Their Own

In the grand saga of marketing, each era has its heroes. The billboard champions of the past paved the way for the digital wizards of today. At the end of the day, it’s not about old versus new; it’s about reaching the right audience in the right way. So, whether you’re channeling your inner Don Draper or gearing up for a digital deep dive, remember: it’s all about the message. And maybe, just maybe, throw in a free toaster. For old times’ sake.

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