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  • Writer's pictureMadison Richey

The Evolution of Marketing Jargon: A Fun Glossary

Brooke and I recently had a chat about how tech is changing the way we do marketing. Growing up in a family that loves marketing, I got to see how things changed from old-school print and billboard ads to today's tech-filled world. It's like we're living in a place that used to be in sci-fi movies. Remember when stuff like Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality seemed impossible? Now, they're just part of our everyday lives.

Thinking back, it's pretty amazing how businesses used to do marketing without much tech. The creative ideas they came up with were impressive. But here's the thing – are those old ways totally gone? Nope, not in my opinion. Some of the traditional stuff still works; tech just adds a little extra flair.

So, this week, I'm doing something different and taking a trip down memory lane. Exploring how people did marketing back then is not just interesting; the words they used are like a blast from the past. So, imagine a drumroll, and here it is – presenting: The Evolution of Marketing Jargon, a cool list of words from back in the day.

‘Mad Men’ Era (1950s - 1960s)

The 'Mad Men' Era, named after a TV show, was like the "Golden Age" of ads. It happened when print ads were huge, but then TV and radio ads became a big deal too. They grabbed attention with cool phrases, catchy slogans, and fun jingles. This era is known as the Creative Revolution because it changed how ads work. It moved from simple ads to more creative and emotional ones. The Mad Men time shaped how ads are made today, making them more creative, telling stories, and connecting with us in a deeper way. It's the reason why ads today are not just about selling but also about making us feel something.


  • Jingle: Catchy tunes that sell

  • Slogan: Short & sweet brand catchphrases

  • Storyboard: Visual plan for commercials

  • Copywriting: Crafting persuasive ad text

Print Era (1970s - 1980s)

In the 1970s and 1980s, the print advertising era took center stage, and it was a pretty big deal. Before the internet and all the fancy tech, people got their info from newspapers and magazines. Terms like "above the fold" were key – that's the top part of the paper, where everyone looks first. Advertisers knew they had to grab attention there. And then there's "white space" – that's the empty part around the ads. Turns out, it's not about leaving things blank; it's about making the ad stand out. So, in those days, creating ads was like an art – you had to be clever about where you put stuff and make sure it popped off the page. The print era was a time when every inch of the paper counted, and these terms were like the secret code to making a killer ad.

  • Above the Fold: Prime newspaper real estate

  • White Space: Empty areas for visual balance

  • Headline: Eye-catching newspaper/magazine title

  • Circulation: Number of copies distributed

Telemarketing Era (1980s - 1990s)

The telemarketing era took the advertising scene by storm in the 80s and 90s. It was all about picking up the phone and making what they called "cold calls" – reaching out to people out of the blue to talk about products. Imagine that! And to make things even more interesting, there was the "scripted pitch" – a rehearsed talk about the product to try and win you over. Back then, telemarketing was like a direct line from companies to your home. It changed how businesses connected with customers, bringing the sales pitch right to your doorstep, or, well, your phone. It's funny looking back at it now that we receive about 5,000,000 “spam calls” per day, but back then, it was a whole new way of doing things in the advertising world. Telemarketing had its time in the spotlight, showing that there's more than one way to get the word out about products.

  • Cold Calling: Unexpected sales calls

  • Scripted Pitch: Rehearsed sales talk

  • Telesales: Selling over the phone

  • Dialing for Dollars: Popular term for cold calling for sales

Dot-Com Era (1990s - 2000s)

Jumping into the 1990s and early 2000s, we entered the dot-com era where the internet was just finding its marketing legs. Picture this: websites were basic, a bit clunky, but there was something revolutionary about it all. Terms like "banner ads" and "pop-ups" started showing up. Banner ads were these bold rectangles screaming for attention, and pop-ups, well, they just popped up unexpectedly and annoyingly…like they still do today. Back then, the internet was this uncharted territory, and these simple digital ads felt like a whole new frontier. It might seem basic (and a little comical) now, but in those days, it was like we really had something good going there, and to an extent, we did. We were setting the groundwork for the digital marketing adventures we see today.

  • Banner Ads: Online display advertisements

  • Pop-Ups: Attention-grabbing on-screen windows

  • HTML: Language for web design

  • E-commerce: Online buying and selling

Social Media Era (2000s - 2010s)

The social media era, from the early 2000s to the 2010s, wasn't just about making friends online; it changed the way companies marketed their stuff. Words like "engagement," "viral," and "influencer" became big deals for marketers. Brands realized being on social media was key because that's where people were hanging out. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube turned into places where brands could tell their stories. Nostalgia kicks in when we remember the songs on our MySpace profiles or the short tweets on early Twitter. Social media wasn't just for chatting; it became a vital space for brands to connect with us. From the old days of slow internet to today's non-stop scrolling, the social media era not only shaped our online lives but also changed how companies talk to us through marketing.

  • Engagement: Interaction and audience involvement

  • Viral: Content spreading rapidly online

  • Influencer: Individuals with online influence

  • Retweet: Sharing on Twitter

Data-Driven Era (2010s - 2020s)

Rolling through the years 2010 to 2020, we entered the data-driven era of advertising, and things got pretty high-tech. This was when social media went from a cool hangout spot to a marketing powerhouse. Terms like "big data," "CTR" (Click-Through Rate), and "SEO" (Search Engine Optimization) became the superheroes of the advertising world. Marketers dove into heaps of data to figure out what we liked and how we behaved online. Social media platforms got smart, showing us ads tailored to our interests. It was like ads had a crystal ball, predicting what we wanted before we knew it. This era wasn't just about ads; it was about precision – each ad finely tuned to fit us perfectly, making our online experience feel almost magical. The data-driven era turned social media into a marketer's dream, where every click and like became valuable information, shaping the ads we saw and how brands connected with us.

  • Big Data: Large-scale information analysis

  • CTR (Click-Through Rate): Percentage of clicks

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Website visibility optimization

  • Analytics: Examining data for insights

Experience Era (2020s and Beyond)

Skipping ahead to the present, the Experience Era of advertising, from 2020 till now, has become the ultimate showstopper. Terms like "customer experience," "storytelling," and "brand authenticity" have stolen the spotlight. It's a bit like going back to the Mad Men era, but with a futuristic twist. Remember when catchy jingles ruled? Now, it's all about creating an immersive brand journey. Social media has evolved into an experience playground, where brands tell stories that unfold with each scroll. The nostalgia hits when we realize that the essence of captivating storytelling, born in the ‘Mad Men’ days, is now mixed with cutting-edge tech. Artificial Intelligence (AI) tailors ads to our preferences like a personal shopper, and Augmented Reality (AR) lets us virtually try before we buy. The Experience Era brings together the best of both worlds – the timeless artistry of Mad Men creativity and the tech-savvy magic of today, shaping advertising into a captivating journey for us all.

  • Customer Experience: User-focused brand intentions

  • Storytelling: Crafting narratives for brands

  • Brand Authenticity: Genuine and transparent brand identity

  • Omnichannel Marketing: Integrated cross-channel strategies

  • AR (Augmented Reality): Enhancing real-world experiences

The changing language in marketing tells a story of how the industry keeps evolving and being creative. Embrace these shifts, pick up lessons from the past, and navigate the marketing world using words that connect with different times. 

Happy linguistic time-traveling!


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