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A decade in Marketing

Posted over 4 years ago by Rob Markwell
Pexels Photo 1051747

There have been significant changes over the course of the past year. For example, consumers have become more driven by factors like convenience, personalisation and experiences. However, whilst it is easy to reflect on the past 12 months, the more marked differences are apparent when you examine the past decade.

The Rise of Digital

We (and other marketers) could not look back on the past decade without highlighting the rise of digital platforms as a turning point within the marketing, PR and communications industries.

According to the ONS internet users report even as early as 2011, internet use was skewed in favour of 16-44 year olds (with around 90% of the demographic being active users compared to around 20% of those aged 75 and older). Statistics from the ONS internet users report  demonstrate that even here marketers have seen increases with nearly 100% of 16-44 year olds now using internet services and 75+ year olds increasing their use to around 40%.

Though many factors may account for this surge, the increased favourability towards mobile devices has been key. According to Ofcom’s communication report, only 17% of people owned a smart phone a decade ago, this has now increased to 78% of the general population.

From a recruiter perspective, this rise in digital usage has created a plethora of new jobs which were pretty much unheard of a decade ago. These include: digital marketing specialists, SEO analysts, Data experts, UX/UI designers, Social Media Managers and (lest we forget) the more creative roles such as Content Creators, Vloggers and Influencers.

The rise of digital platforms has also changed the way marketers approach their profession, with 78% of direct brand marketers globally believing digital marketing is important.


One key shift in the past decade has been consumer expectations of brands to be more transparent with their actions and motivations.

The Millennial consumer has dominated the past decade, where a reported 73% would be prepared to pay extra to shop with more sustainable and ethical brands.

Yet despite this, increases in ethical spending according to the ethical consumer markets report (2018) did not fully occur until between 2016-2017, where spending through ethical money, by using ethical banking services and investing in ethical companies and innovations, alongside community actions or food and drink near doubled.

This may have been as a result of increased pressure, following education pieces circulated by the media during this period regarding protecting the environment and enforcing more standardised human rights and working practices globally.

With 96% of consumers in the UK and USA now believing their actions in buying ethically can make a difference to the global environment, it is clear the shift towards transparency and ethical goods is set to be a key trend in the next decade - something marketers should be keenly aware of.

Whilst numerous other trends have helped define the past ten years in marketing, a nod is noticeably deserved towards the increased desire for personalisation; the need for stronger brand consistency;  and the rise of omni-channel marketing (a fully integrated shopping experience which includes marketing from multiple platforms).

To conclude, whilst the last decade have proved memorable for a whole number of reasons, the need to adapt to the ever changing digital age whilst maintaining transparency and an ethical stand point has been at the forefront of numerous Marketing and Communications campaigns. Whilst this has undoubtedly affected the manner that marketing experts now work, it has also significantly influenced how consumers interact with those brands.

Image credit: 

Header: Come in we're awesome sign by Artem Beliaikin

Image 1: Space grey iPhone 6 on macbook by Peter Cors

Image 2: Bottom view of clear glass building under blue cloudy sky during day time by by Pixabay