Editor's Notes: The Year Marketing Takes Power?
The world of marketing changed 20 years ago, in 1995. That's the year Amazon and Ebay both launched to the public—the first year online shopping really became a thing—and commerce was never the same.
It's hard to pin a definitive "Most Changed" label on the effects of the Internet revolution. I'm not sure life is terribly different (we are not, to my knowledge, strapped into human battery pods to power robots, after all). But just about every aspect of how we do things is different. Your physical presence and distance matter less; your thoughts, ideas and wants matter more. Personal relationships and networks are more important than ever, and are easier to both create and break. The vast majority of information is free, in terms of both access and cost-you can take a class at Harvard online for nothing right now, from your own office.
During those 20 years, marketing, especially direct marketing, has become more important than ever. More and more commerce is done without ever visiting a store or talking to a salesperson—customers simply decide they want something, research what they need online and buy it right there. Or, customers go to the store or call the salesperson, but they're so far along the customer journey already that it's effectively just haggling.
So who has the biggest impact on that sale now? The marketing department-at least when it's working well.
In 2015, it's the marketer's job to control the flow of information about and around your products and/or services. From the ads you're running to your search results on Google, from the articles and content that define your industry to the social media chatter about your company and the competition—that's all the marketer's realm today. From prospect to purchase (or very nearly purchase, depending on your sales cycle) marketing is, in fact, more responsible for getting money in the door than nearly every other unit of the business. It's on you to create a favorable environment for the company to thrive in.