The Evolution of Marketing


Marketing emerged as a discreet discipline in the early 1900s, but it didn’t affect most companies right away.  In general, business was first driven by production, then by sales, and then by marketing.

The Production Era

The period extending from the industrial revolution to about 1930, during which companies focused on perfecting their manufacturing techniques.

The production era had sellers’ markets in many industries, meaning that demand for products exceeded supply.

The Sales Era

The period from approximately 1930 to 1950, during which companies focused on promoting and distributing their products.

Manufacturers believed business success lay in outselling the competition.

Companies emphasized product promotion, formed direct sales forces, and established relationships with dealers and other firms that could push their products into the market.  Advertising also took on new importance during this time.

The Marketing Era

The period that began in the 1950s and continues today, during which companies formed marketing departments, began to pay attention to customer wants and needs, and started to implement the marketing concept.

Production efficiencies in the latter part of the production era led to buyers’ markets in many cases; that is, supply exceeded demand.  This resulted in;

  1. The marketing concept
  2. Vigorous competition

As the marketing era progressed, the method of conducting business shifted from pushing products on customers to finding out what buyers wanted and then filling that need.


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