The Most Impactful Marketing Innovations or Concepts since the 1900s, and how AI fits in.

Al Leong
June 2, 2023

1900: The concept of market segmentation was introduced by Walter Dill Scott in the United States.

1901: The first documented use of a celebrity endorsement in advertising, featuring actress Fanny Brice for soap products in the United States.

1911: Procter & Gamble pioneered the concept of brand management, focusing on building and maintaining strong brands in the United States.

1922: The first radio advertisement aired on WEAF in New York City, United States, marking the beginning of radio advertising.

1931: Neil McElroy developed the concept of brand management and introduced it at Procter & Gamble in the United States.

1941: Herta Herzog conducted groundbreaking research on consumer motivations and advertising effectiveness, laying the foundation for modern market research in the United States.

1955: The concept of the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) was introduced by Rosser Reeves in the United States.

1960: The Four Ps marketing mix framework (Product, Price, Promotion, Place) was popularized by E. Jerome McCarthy in the United States.

1971: The first email marketing campaign was launched by Ray Tomlinson, who sent an email to promote a computer system in the United States.

1984: The concept of permission marketing was introduced by Seth Godin in his book “Permission Marketing” in the United States.

1995: launched as an online bookstore, pioneering e-commerce and revolutionizing the way people shop, in the United States.

1999: The term “viral marketing” was coined by Tim Draper and Steve Jurvetson in the book “Viral Marketing” in the United States.

2004: The emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube provided new avenues for digital marketing, connecting businesses directly with consumers worldwide, originating in the United States.

2006: Twitter was launched, enabling real-time communication and facilitating social media marketing globally, originating in the United States.

2010: The rise of influencer marketing, leveraging social media influencers to promote products and services, gained significant traction worldwide.

2013: Programmatic advertising, using automated systems for buying and optimizing digital ad placements, became prominent, impacting the global advertising landscape.

2015: The concept of content marketing gained popularity, focusing on creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage audiences, globally.

2018: The implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union reshaped digital marketing practices and data privacy regulations worldwide.

2020: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital marketing strategies and e-commerce, transforming the marketing landscape globally.

And, today 2023: The Invention of ChatGPT and how this impacts marketing — from market research, brainstorming and ideation, strategy development, to copywriting to marketing tactics, budgeting, analysis, and project management.

In the era of AI tools like ChatGPT, the role of a marketing manager or director will evolve, and the determinants of performance will shift. Here are some key areas that may become more important:

Strategic Thinking: While AI can generate reports, it’s the human manager who sets the strategy. The ability to understand market trends, customer behavior, and business objectives to develop effective marketing strategies will be crucial.
Data Interpretation: AI can provide data, but interpreting that data and drawing meaningful insights require human intelligence. The ability to make sense of data and use it to inform decision-making will be a key performance indicator.
Creativity: While AI can generate content, it doesn’t replace human creativity. The ability to come up with innovative marketing ideas and campaigns will still be a valuable skill.
Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and responding to the emotional needs of customers and team members is something that AI can’t replicate. Emotional intelligence will become even more important in the age of AI. (AI has no empathy, kindness, ability to decide, or EI).
AI Management: The ability to effectively use and manage AI tools like ChatGPT will become a key skill. This includes knowing when to rely on AI and when to rely on human skills and judgment.
Leadership: Leading and managing a team, fostering a positive work environment, and driving team performance are skills that AI can’t replace. Leadership takes courage.
Ethics and Compliance: Ensuring that the use of AI tools like ChatGPT complies with all relevant laws, regulations, and ethical standards will be a key responsibility. (AI will not force a person to remain legally compliant).
In essence, while AI can automate certain tasks, the role of a marketing manager will become more strategic, creative, and focused on leadership, interpretation, and ethical considerations.
Please note that while these innovations, concepts, or developments were influential, there were often multiple contributors or variations across different countries. The list represents some key milestones in marketing history.

— –

This content is a collaborative effort between Al Leong and ChatGPT, an advanced AI language model developed by OpenAI. While ChatGPT contributed significantly to the final copy, Al Leong provided valuable input and guidance throughout the writing process.


Al Leong

Chief Marketing Officer, Advisor, Board Director

Award-winning CMO, Board Advisor, Board Director, CEO, and executive with 31 years of experience with Fortune 500 brands, blockchain firms, and SMEs. Former Board Director of the American Marketing Association (both BC and Toronto Chapters), Metro Vancouver CrimeStoppers. Board Director for BC Bostal Association, the AI 2030 think tank. Former "CI" for the FBI, SEC and Ontario Provincial Police.

Know more ❯

How Can I Help?


Follow on LinkedIn