Marketing channels are the paths taken by goods and services from production to consumer. A marketing channel can be as short as being direct from the vendor to the consumer or may include several intermediaries such as wholesalers, distributors and retailers.
Marketing is a relatively young discipline having emerged in the early 1900s. Prior to this time most aspects now commonly associated with marketing were either classified as economics or simply not yet explored. Modern marketing developed with the rise of mass production in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was greatly motivated by businesses’ growing needs to understand and capitalize on the relationships between sellers and buyers. The study of marketing led companies to recognize that adopting certain strategies and tactics could significantly benefit the seller/buyer relationship.
Marketers have learned they can no longer limit their marketing effort to just convincing customers to buy more. They must have an in-depth understanding of who their customers are and what they want. Hence the rise in popularity of social media marketing channels.
As the study of marketing has evolved over time and more is learned from trial and error, the corresponding marketing channels have evolved as well. The following is a timeline highlighting some key marketing channels in history.
- 1800s – Billboard advertisements go up as more people have access to automobiles.
- 1864 – Earliest recorded use of the telegraph for mass unsolicited spam.
- 1880s – Businesses start to utilize trademarks and logos as branding.
- 1920s – Radio advertising starts to take shape.
- 1941 – First recorded use of television advertising.
- 1950s – Systematization of telephone marketing, or “telemarketing.”
- 1960s – Print advertising gains popularity as companies dedicated to marketing services start to take shape.
- 1970s – eCommerce invented
- 1980s – Development of database marketing and computer oriented spam.
- 1984 – Introduction of guerrilla marketing
- 1985 – Desktop publishing increases as computers are more accessible to the public
- 1990s – Concept of CRM begins to take shape
- 1995 – Yahoo search is launched
- 1998 – Google search is launched
- 2000 – Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertisement gains momentum
- 2004 – Facebook launched
- 2005 – YouTube launched
- 2006 – Twitter launched
- 2009 – Facebook advertisements gain momentum
- 2011 – Google+ launched
Traditional media like print and TV still exist today but businesses are increasingly allocating more budget in digital media. Marketing experts predict a further rise in internet based marketing channels and even an evolution into marketing opportunities within video games and virtual reality spheres.