May 3, 2016 ByDave Larson
Sales & Marketing Technologies (SMT) is proud to be
celebrating our 25th anniversary this year and in celebration,
wanted to look back at all that has changed in the digital world since we
started SMT in 1991.
December 20, 1990, Tim Berners-Lee launched the world’s
first website, which is still live today.
In the following years, many more websites emerged offering users information
with bare-bones usability and optimization.
As the Internet began to grow with more and more websites,
search engines filled a need for structure and accessibility. In 1993, Excite
revolutionized how information was cataloged, sorting results based on keywords
found within the content and backend optimization. It would soon be followed by
Yahoo (1994) and Google (1998).
Do You Remember?
- In the very beginning, domain names were free. But by the
time we were in, Network Solutions (1993) had a monopoly on domain names until ICANN
forced a change. Network Solutions charged $70 each per year.
- Dial Up Internet Access (1992) is something we’ll never forget.
- HTML websites (1993) were built from scratch.
- Starting out, we had to sign people up for email accounts
because people didn’t know what email was (1993).
- AOL (1991) was the Internet on training wheels. It brought millions
of people online with their disk mailers.
- VeriSign Secure Certificates (1995) ushered in the e-commerce age.
Before the certs made communication secure, you had to fax in orders with
- High Speed Internet Access (1990s) – Game changer when cable
companies rolled out Road Runner High Speed Internet access. Telecom companies
followed with DSL. It was high speed yet slower than cable and had a shorter range.
The Rise of New
Things began to shift in the early 2000s, where in the wake
of unethical optimization tactics, Google took charge of creating a more level
playing field for brands. This period brought on many infamous Google algorithm
updates that penalized bad links and keyword stuffing. Also in the year 2000,
Google Adwords launched and gave marketers a new platform to advertise online.
Around this time, social networks were growing in popularity
as Myspace (2003) dominated the landscape. But soon, Mark Zuckerberg, and his
Harvard roommates, would release the social media giant of today, Facebook.
This social media growth led to a new era in digital marketing. Social media
eventually stopped being a way to just chat with friends and became a way to
connect with brands, complain, spread news, shop and even influence other
Do You Remember?
- Paid Search – The big player was GoTo (1996). Later forced to
change its name to Overture. At one time, you could buy advertising in 85% of
the world’s search traffic from this one company. They paid Google for search
results if they had no paid ads. This is what helped Google to get off the
ground. Yahoo later bought it.
- Napster (1995) – Totally disrupted the music industry.
- Content Management Systems (Late 1990s) - Business loved them because they
could make some of their own changes. In many ways, this allowed website
quality to go down, as people with no design skills got a chance to make pages.
- Open Source (Late 1990s) – A game changer when programmers started giving
their work away. WordPress, Drupal, and other open source products would not have been possible without people donating their time and effort to these projects.
- Flash websites (Early 2000s) when designers had enough with text based sites
- YouTube (2005) rose up to come the video king and second largest search engine.
The Sophistication of
As the new millennium continued, marketing started to include
more and more digital techniques. Consumers continually adopted new devices,
such as smartphones, and services that companies could use as advertising
mediums. Because of this, almost every web channel has been converted into an
But, the Internet allowed for more than simply advertising.
It allowed marketing tactics to be open for interaction. Things like television
commercials, billboards and magazine ads are effective, but they don’t allow a
market to interact with a brand.
These types of two-way interaction lead to more than just
advertising on the web, it created a way for businesses and brands to build
loyalty as well as increase sales.
Do You Know?
- Marketing automation and sales funnels give marketers the
chance to provide better, more personalized offers to customers.
- Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
and Pinterest all have advertising capabilities that integrate social selling
into platforms where people already are.
Today, there are more than 600 million websites worldwide,
500 million tweets are sent every day, and an estimated 2.4 billion people go
online. The truth is, without the web, there would be no websites to optimize,
no social media channels to advertise on, and certainly no Sales &
Marketing Technologies. There will always be new and exciting changes in the
digital marketing realm and we look forward to growing right along with it. So
to you we say thank you, and here’s to the next 25 years!