Embracing the Digital Revolution in Local U.S. Markets
Welcome to the exciting world of digital marketing! As we celebrated our 20th anniversary at CityLocal Market in September 2018, we couldn't help but reflect on the significant shift that has taken place in advertising and commerce over the last two decades.
Go back twenty years, and I was a process engineering specialist at a tech firm. However, as layoffs began to affect those around me, I decided to take control of my destiny and start a venture into digital marketing. It turns out, this was the best decision I ever made.
Back then it wasn't called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or even digital marketing. The industry was so new; it didn't have an official description when I filed insurance paperwork for our company. Hiring experienced workers was a challenge given how nascent the industry was. Broadband wasn't great back then, and Google hadn't yet become a verb. The internet was much like the Wild West - unchartered territory full of opportunities.
Back then, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Lycos and Excite ruled the roost when it came to search engines. Google had just been founded in 1998 and slowly started gaining attention over 1998 and 1999. Pay Per Click advertising was introduced by Goto.com before they became Overture and were eventually acquired by Yahoo. Google launched AdWords in response, marking a significant shift towards paid digital advertising.
Looking back, we had to overcome three main obstacles:
(1) Security Concerns: In its early days, people were hesitant about shopping online due to security fears. But look at us now; we've all come a long way, with Amazon becoming a regular part of our lives.
(2) High Speed Internet: The rapid evolution of the internet wouldn't have been possible without fast and affordable broadband connections. Imagine not being able to stream movies or having to wait endlessly for Amazon pages to load!
(3) Dot Com Boom: The initial hype around the internet gave it an uncertain reputation, with many businesses failing during the Dot Com Boom. However, as we now know, the internet was here to stay and flourish!
Indeed, digital marketing has revolutionized how businesses operate and how consumers shop. Companies that could not adapt fell by the wayside as online giants like Amazon rose. People spend more time on Facebook than they do creating scrapbooks. And when was the last time you used a physical phonebook? Businesses today need an appealing online presence just as much as physical stores need to be clean and attractive.
Take Amazon for instance. Although not necessarily the biggest achievement of the internet age, it's certainly one of the most prominent examples of digital marketing success. Without a single physical storefront, it’s become one of America's largest retailers.
So what does the future hold for digital marketing with CityLocal Market? As long as there's an internet, there will be digital marketing! One exciting development is artificial intelligence (AI). Google is already using AI in their RankBrain project/product, but this technology will soon permeate other sectors too. Websites will become more intuitive with AI; they'll know your preferences and which ads you're likely to click.
In fact, in future you may not even need to search for what you want – AI will bring it right to you! Imagine websites reorganizing themselves based on your preferences – each visit offering a unique experience tailored just for you!