What is Online Marketing? A Hope for Improvement!

What is Online Marketing? A Hope for Improvement!
“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

This question is asked quite often.  What is online marketing? If you want the technical definition try Wikipedia. Here is the truth; “What has been will be again, there is nothing new under the sun” Solomon. What is online marketing?  Keep reading!

A Story for the Ages

In 1858 a 14 year old man left home. Traveling to St. Joseph, Michigan he became a salesman, clerk, and store manager. After two years he went to Chicago and got a job with a dry goods store.  He learned about fair dealing from the store owner, but one day the job ended.   Traveling through the South he met many struggling rural consumers. The names and faces were different but their stories were all the same.  Local retailers were exploiting consumers with high prices.

He started planning! His plan?  Purchase goods at low costs, eliminate the middle man, and offer them directly to the consumer. How would he accomplish all this? Invite people to place orders by mail and deliver them to the nearest railroad station. His plan is the model used for product marketing and building customer loyalty.

The young man went back to Chicago and began working with a wholesaler and retailer. He tried to raise capital for his plan by telling people he knew.  None were interested. He saved his money!  He purchased some products and printed a price list. His mailing list was an association of farmers. That was in 1871.  He lost everything in the Great Chicago Fire. This was a bump in the road but he stuck to his plan, suffered a few more setbacks, and purchased more merchandise.  He printed the world’s first general merchandise catalog in 1872.

Arron Montgomery Ward died in 1913 at the age of 69. These two quotes from the Grolier Club say it all.  “No idea ever mushroomed so far from small a beginning, or had so profound an influence on the economics of a continent, as a concept, original to America, of direct selling by mail, for cash. Aaron Montgomery Ward conceived the idea….” “The Mail order catalog has been perhaps the greatest single influence in increasing the standards of American middle-class living.”  He introduced the “Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back”  in his 1875 catalog.

    His idea lives on.  His concepts have been built upon by others like Lester Wunderman.  He coined the phrase “direct marketing” in 1967.  His ideas gave us the toll free number, and American Express Customer Rewards among others. Although this story ends here, ours continues.

Back to the Future!  What is Online Marketing?

Unemployment around the world skyrocketed because of a global economic downturn. What is online marketing? Thanks to online marketing gurus we know the answer.  They developed the tools needed for online success.   Created digital products teaching others how to make money online. They have overcome setbacks and have given people around the world an opportunity to earn a living. I say to them Thank You!  Keep testing! Keep teaching what works and helping others to understand the answer to what is online marketing?   Teaching them how to make money online so they too can teach others.   What is online marketing?  A Hope for Improvement!

By David Baker

Thank you for reading!  If you enjoyed this article like or share it on your social media!

Thanks to Western Libraries and Wikipedia  for providing the information used for this article.


Thanks to Marshall Scott for the inspiration I used for my writing.