Mad Men of the Modern Era

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How Advertising Has Changed in the 21st Century

We all know many aspects of the advertising industry portrayed in the popular Mad Men series are different now than they were half a century ago. A slightly more relaxed dress code and less blatant alcohol abuse are two of the more obvious things that distinguish the Mad Men era from the 21st century industry. But beyond workplace conduct and casual attire, what are some of the innovations that most define marketing today?

Forbes last year published an article in which it discussed these very 1 Mad Men of the Modern Eraquestions with some of the most prominent figures in the industry. The answers they got were varied, but certain themes emerged. Let’s take a look at some of the key elements of modern day Mad Men marketing, and their implications on the future of business.

Consumer Interaction

This takes a variety of forms, but is one of the core tenets of modern-day advertising campaigns. Unlike the old days, the advertiser-to-consumer avenue is no longer a one way street. The explosion of viral and internet marketing (which we will get to later) have opened up numerous channels for getting connected to your consumer base.

Social media is perhaps the most obvious of these channels. Businesses now create pages and profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as ways of directly engaging potential customers and making business quick business connections. Promotional campaigns on an instant platform were not available to advertisers in the Mad Men era, and what promotions they did have were not nearly as visible. These days, any creative marketing idea can be seen, clicked on, and investigated by a customer within seconds.

Crowdsourcing is another way of using the Internet to promote consumer interaction and build support for your business. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have capitalized on the emergence of this market niche by creating a platform through which business can directly engage support in a meritocratic way.

Creativity is perhaps more valuable than ever in engaging consumers. “In the 21st century, what builds a brand isn’t mass communication,” explains Rei Inamoto, chief creative officer at AKQA, in the Forbes article. “We live in a world where some of the most influential brands of the 21st century need little if any advertising to be successful. It’s really connection that builds a brand now.”

Inbound marketing

The term “inbound marketing” is a relatively new one—a product of the Information Age—and not something Don Draper and his gang would have been throwing around. That’s because it relates to how companies utilize the web to make marketing more targeted and more efficient.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the main form of inbound marketing, and it has developed into an entire industry. Instead of trying to attract the attention of potential customers, inbound marketing is focused on attracting those customers that may be looking for you. That’s where SEO and search engine manipulations strategies come into play.

Taking advantage of internet/mobile advances

Even more specific than inbound marketing is the increasing relevance of mobile marketing. A 2010survey by the Pew Internet and American Life 2 Mad Men of the Modern Eraproject revealed that 59% of American adults have wireless access to the internet, with predicted increases in this number expected to grow annually.

Wireless access means more daily tasks are being done on mobile devices. This includes shopping. Advertisement in the modern era relies on mobile marketing to even further expand its market mobility. A smart 21stcentury business will turn to an in-house team of advertisers or a reliable mobile marketing agency to send their product flying to the furthest reaches of the web. With a virtual shopping cart in the hand of a majority of Americans, mobile marketing in combination with inbound marketing strategies and social media utilization can have a game-changing impact.

The Mad Men of the 60’s were extremely revolutionary in some ways. The advertising industry that they set up continued under their models for decades. But the growing reach, speed, and efficiency of the Internet has changed everything. Creativity and interaction is more important than ever before, and can be much more effective. So you can put the suit away, Mr. Draper, things are different now. Cheers to that.

This is a guest post by Kate Simmons, a freelance business writer and blogger. Kate focuses on business topics related to marketing, digital advertising and especially mobile marketing – keep an eye out for more of her articles on Twitter!

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