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100 Years of Marketing History: From Mass Production to D2C

I’ve been in the marketing world for a long time.

From era to era there are trends that are obsolete, but now, if you are not starting D2C (Direct to Consumer), you are behind.

In 1908, America’s Ford was the first in the world to sell mass produced automobiles called “Ford Model T.” At the time, it was the world’s first marketing for Channel Promotion.

From then on within 100 years, the world’s marketing annexed new technology and utilized new media.

I entered society in 1989, the era when television was at its prime and when I was fortunate to be the production manager for a “Coca Cola” commercial which was said to represent the brand. If you make a good commercial, the product will sell. It was clear that there was a disparity between companies that had national commercials and those that did not.

↑1988. The author of this the second from the left. To the right of me is Kō Sakata (McCann Worldgroup Holdings Japan Inc.)

And then, in the 21st century, Japan entered the world of the flip phone (mobile internet). It was a worldwide PC-centered expansion, but with the arrival of the smartphone (iPhone) in 2010, mobile media became mainstream.

When cellphone carriers introduced flat-rate systems (2003), unlike paid content from services like i-mode, free streaming began with ads. However, most of the clients were dating and adult content…

In 2006, I launched mobile media with the world’s largest client, P&G which had been a great achievement.
Free Mobile Magazine “Hitokoto” first issue!

In 2009, I received the Excellence Award at the Cincinnati HQ from the marketing god of P&G’s GMO, Jim Stengel (the world’s first GMO).

Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies by Jim Stengel

From there, SNS rose, with influencers on YouTube, Instagram, etc. (KOL) in the era of strong media.

With coronavirus, the television recession became clear. Unable to record dramas, new dramas aren’t available and old ones are on repeat. If celebrities are unable to appear in dramas, they cannot live an impression and appeal to anyone decreasing the number of commercials promotions.

In recent years, celebrities are establishing themselves on YouTube, and researching ways to gain more following on SNS.  In this one year, we have been seeing one trend that many celebrities have been retiring from their agencies and making their own. Everyone can’t live without television.

However, unfortunately, the television industry has been in a closed society for such a long time, and have been working a certain way that seems unaware of the certain changes of taste in society.

With that gap, SNS stars have gained a great presence and public support.

Social networks can launch media at cheaper rates than television media. Even if you have no followers on places like TikTok, if you make an interesting video, you can gain millions of views.
◆Forbes First Ranking of the TikTok Stars who Earn the Most, 19 Years Old with a Revenue of 500 million yen ($4,706,790.50 USD) (Japanese)

The enthusiastic clients are making full use of their influencers and ad technology (advertising that is automatically generated by AI such as Wall Street transactions) to obtain great marketing effects with low advertising costs.

Although it is said that the era of television at its prime was long, but it not only a half a century of history from 1960 to 2020.

Clients, with the premise of mass production and mass consumption, are shifting from marketing activities that expect greater effects from larger media to the development of branded products that consumers love for a long time and the development of high value-added products even in small quantities.

However, big clients can’t stay calm. Recently, some influencers no longer do client work. Being the closest to the consumers, influencers are developing their own product projects and beginning to do their own promotion and selling.   Innumerable amounts of private products are being developed.

According to a story I heard the other day, that clients have to wait over half a year to work with influencers like “Hera Hera Sanjūshi”

“Tanaka Desu” with related commerce launched on his frame of selling baked potatoes, the products that sold out immediately

“Genji” is so popular, he is said to be the “Japanet” of smartphones!

Of course, the scale of products made cannot be compared to big clients,  but an influencer with a following of about 300,000 can make about 30-50 million yen a year ($282,322.50-$470,522.50 USD). It is a work style reform for celebrities.
Large corporations alone, including clients and media, cannot hold a society.

Even on a small scale, if you can grasp the needs of a society and adhere to it, you can launch into a new, established society.

*D2C is a mechanism that sells products planned and manufactured by the company directly to consumers through an e-commerce site created by the company through retailers.

Even in the Midst of an Advertising Recession “How a New Order of Commerce is Increasingly Coming to the Rescue for Publishers with Advertising Challenges” (Japanese)