Kickin’ It Old School: 5 Still Relevant Marketing Techniques from the ’60s

60s marketing

In marketing, we often find ourselves chasing the latest trend. But why not take a break for a moment and instead cast our eyes towards the past? The advertising industry saw significant upheaval throughout the 1960s, which in turn paved the road for many of our modern content marketing techniques.

1. Courting the Youth Demographic

Prior to the 1960s, advertisers usually targeted the adult audience and ignored children and teens almost entirely. But while children and teens didn’t have the most money, they had the most discretionary money. Today, marketers court the youth by looking towards platforms that appeal to them, such as Tumblr and Instagram. By creating a brand association early on, they can acquire lifelong consumers. A child today may have no interest in, say, freelance legal writing, but they may require it someday in the future.

2. Developing a Brand Personality

A culture of individuality would begin in the 1960s… and it didn’t just affect people, but also corporations. The 1960s saw brands developing personalities. Not only could audiences relate to the companies better, but they could also define themselves based on the brands that they liked. Today marketers are achieving brand identity and personality through carefully constructed content marketing campaigns.

3. Using Controversy to Get Attention

Risqué advertising has always been effective, but the relaxing moral standards of the 1960s allowed advertisers to really push the boundaries. Under the philosophy of “all advertising is good advertising,” designers sought to get people talking about their product even in a negative light. These days, we are more conscientious about negative advertising, but we still seek to create content that could potentially go viral. We want our advertising to be part of a discussion, even if it isn’t the product that is being discussed.

4. Becoming “Anti-Marketing”

The anti-establishment counterculture of the 1960s never really faded. Advertisers throughout the decade had to find ways of advertising while not advertising, as the youth culture had become jaded. The same issues apply today, pushing advertisers even more firmly towards content marketing in lieu of more direct marketing techniques. Today’s marketing seeks to solve a problem for consumers instead of simply marketing at them.

5. Highly Targeted Advertising

Demographic targeting was huge in America during the 1960s, in large part due to the nation’s development of a formal U.S. Census. Prior to the 1960s, advertisers needed to rely on localized polling and focus groups, both of which could be heavily tilted towards one demographic or another. Today, we know that the more targeted our advertising gets, the more effective it often becomes.

Society and technology may change, but people themselves generally don’t. There are many marketing tips from the past that are still relevant today. Consider pulling upon techniques from past eras the next time you’re encountering a creative roadblock, or simply using them to bolster an already effective content marketing campaign.

Jenna I is a freelance writer, cat collector and avid gamer. In her spare time she leaps from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, hoping each time her next leap will be… the leap home.


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