Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

How marketing ideas have changed over the last 100 years

The history of marketing goes a long, long way back: did you know that already in ancient Rome, the most successful gladiators were getting paid to wear and advertise products? Ever since people have had things to sell, there has been marketing.

Sales and marketing interact with changes in society and advances in technology, always searching for the best way to get people to buy what you’re selling. Let’s go over the biggest developments in marketing ideas over the last 100 years:

Before 1900

Since goods were produced in small batches, usually by hand, marketing was usually done by word of mouth, recommendations, and influencer marketing – having popular and respected people use and recommend your goods to others. As mass production set in, it became necessary to sell more and more products, and marketing as we know it was born.

Early 1900

In 1904, the University of Pennsylvania offers a course in “The Marketing of Products”, and the term “marketing” is officially born. At the time, the industry was focused on increasing production, and at the time marketing was little more than efficient product distribution.


A famous quote from Henry Ford sums up the spirit of marketing in this decade perfectly: “They can have any color they want as long as it’s black.” Marketing efforts at this time focused on pushing what you were producing, since products pretty much sell themselves at this point.

“They can have any color they want… as long as it’s black.” – Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company

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