6 Tech Moments that Changed the Marketing World

Captured in time – the moments that helped define digital marketing today

December 2, 2016

 moments that helped define digital marketing

It’s impossible to separate marketing today from digital technology. It shapes the experiences, attitudes and expectations of our audiences and defines the terms and channels through which we can try to engage them. This means that marketing, like digital technology, has been defined by a series of breakthrough moments: when individuals made bold decisions or imaginative leaps that led directly to the digital marketing landscape we now operate in. Captured in time, here are six of them:

1975:
Wozniak and Jobs decide to impress the Homebrew Computer Club

  • Homebrew Computer Club

The Homebrew Computer Club, a group of computer and electronics hobbyists in Palo Alto, California, was the first target audience for technology’s most iconic double act. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs wowed the group with a microcomputer that had hitherto unheard-of graphics capabilities. It was an early prototype for Wozniak’s Apple I, and a key step in the journey towards accessible personal computers that could deal in colour and images as well as text. Apple’s role in making technology an indispensible part of consumer life started here.

1980:
IBM needs a new operating system

  • Bill and Paul

Childhood friends Paul Allen and Bill Gates had formed Microsoft in 1975 after successfully writing a programming language for the early Altair 8800 microcomputer. Their big break though, came five years later, when IBM called seeking an operating system for its new ‘personal computer’. MS-DOS was the result, a universal computer operating system that would pave the way for the iconic Microsoft Windows and help to ensure a common global experience of digital.

1989:
Tim Berners-Lee gets fed up of having to log onto different machines

  • Internet

There was a lot of information stored on the computers of CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. The problem was: it was very difficult to get at. Finding the results for a particular experiment would involve tracking down the computer they were stored on, logging onto that machine and, quite possibly, learning a new computing language in order to do so. Tim Berners-Lee, a software engineer at the organisation, had had enough. He saw the potential in using internet technology to connect the machines together – and developed a proposal for indexing and organising information that could make it happen. In just over a year, he’d written the three technologies that remain the foundation of the worldwide web to this day: HTML, URI and HTTP.

1998:
Sergey Brin and Larry Page rent a garage

  • Google.com

The garage in question was rented from Brin and Page’s friend Susan Wojcicki, after the pair decided to take a break from studying at Stanford to base their new company there. They’d already established the domain google.com – and they already had an innovative approach to search, ranking the value and relevance of web pages by the way other pages linked to them. Their more relevant way of finding information would unlock the full potential of the web, establish one of the biggest brands on the planet, and help to redefine the objectives and strategies of marketing.

2004:
LinkedIn shows the value of sharing ideas

LinkedIn’s second year of existence was a critical one: not only did the company start to demonstrate real momentum in reaching 500,000 members – it also began exploring what the real potential of a professional network could be. The launch of LinkedIn Groups started to establish it as a platform for sharing insights and ideas – and a growth tool for small businesses. Within a decade it would be the world’s largest professional publishing platform – and a vital component in content marketing strategies.

2005:
Facebook decides it’s not just for the Ivy League

  • Facebook.com

2005 was the year Facebook started to think global. Once limited to Harvard students, then to Ivy League colleges, it would open membership up to international universities, then high schools, then employees of companies like Apple and Microsoft. By September 2006, it was a social network for anyone with a valid email address aged 13 or over. Social media was ready to arrive as a global platform.

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