North Star Marketing - Marketing Tip #123 - Remembering 1989: How we've evolved - and why it matters...

Remembering 1989: How we've evolved - and why it matters...

Doogie BauerA milestone anniversary can be a source of pride for any organization. Even better, it can provide an opportunity to gain valuable perspective on how business has changed - and how best to move forward.

To celebrate North Star Marketing's 20th anniversary, we looked at notable people and trends from 1989 and compared them to their 2009 counterparts. But what started as an exercise to amuse friends of the firm (and ourselves) quickly revealed important truths about how different the world is today. Take a look:

That was then...(1989) This is now...(2009)
Doogie Howser, M.D. 24
Batman The Dark Knight
Doug Wilder, first African American governor (Va.) Barack Obama, first African American president
Paula Abdul Beyonce
Junk bond market collapse; Dow at 2,500 Housing & financial market collapse; Dow at 7,000
Exxon Valdez oil spill Concerns about global warming
Tiananmen Square protests War in Iraq, Afghanistan
Protocols for a "World Wide Web" developed WiFi, Blackberry, mobile Web access
Direct mail Search engine optimization
Phone book Facebook
The Simpsons The Simpsons (OK, some things never change)

If you're old enough, you'll surely remember most of the items on the left side of this list. If not, you can just Google them. And that's precisely our point: this little list says a lot about how the world has changed. It also provides context for how we do business today - and where the next several years may be taking us. Consider these lessons:

  • Our problems have gone global - and gotten more complex; a lot closer to the worldview of 24 than of Doogie Howser. The economic concerns of 1989 (another recession year) pale in comparison to the systemic challenges of today.

  • The way we communicate has become far more immediate - and far more complicated. Today, reaching the right audience depends on them finding you, not just on reaching out (and spending a lot) to capture your audience.

  • Older marketing techniques (take broadcast advertising) cast a wider net, but involve waste. Today's interactive strategies, including social media, target specific audiences, but require sophistication and nuance (qualities absent from this year's Super Bowl ads).

  • Change continues to accelerate. While we once had years to adopt new strategies, we now have just months.
What does it all mean? While our anxieties may have intensified, opportunities still abound for those willing to adapt. If you haven't yet explored how social media can boost business or don't know where your web traffic is coming from, now is the time to think about it. After all, 1989 is long gone, and it's never coming back.

North Star Marketing has been building brands for 20 years, evolving continuously and now tailoring our integrated marketing approach - branding, interactive, public relations - to each client's situation. Have a significant marketing challenge or need to explore new directions? Contact me today so we find the best approaches for you.

And, if you have an interesting memory about 1989, drop me a line. I'm very interested to hear other memories and perspectives from that noteworthy year.

Kae Groshong Wagner
Founder and CEO, North Star Marketing

If you feel like part of your marketing approach may be stuck in 1989 (or even 2005), we can help bring your marketing up-to-the-minute. We'll even provide a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your website. Why not contact North Star today?

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