1:2:1 The evolution of marketing [a societal perspective]

The first chapter in the evolution of marketing explores the practice of marketing from a societal perspective. In this chapter we present marketing as an ancient custom that, in hindsight, has evolved in a logical step by step process. This chapter explores the advances in society, the evolution of the consumer, and the evolution of industry.

We explore how people evolved from nomadic hunter-gatherers, where they lived a life as pure consumers and then settled and evolved to become producers and consumers. We discuss how some people then began to specialise and to provide services that enabled markets to develop and to become more efficient and effective. Today, people are rarely producers and consumers and mostly live a dichotomous life as producers or consumers. What this means is, that in the past people were more actively involved in the production and consumption process – if they wished to consume – they must firstly produce. With specialisation production and consumption became separate activities.

The objective of this module is to provide the necessary background knowledge to understand how society has arrived to where it is today. A series of notable events are presented – when the notable events are analysed, 4 overlapping and recurring patterns can be identified; these identifiable patterns help to explain how customers, organisations, the market, and products remain in a continuous state of evolution. The 4 recurring patterns could be described as 4 market quests and are particularly important when marketing practitioners are conducting a marketing audit and when designing and developing a marketing plan and implementing and evaluating marketing action plans.


In this module chapter, we explore the evolution of marketing from a societal perspective. The overall takeaway is that marketing and society are intertwined; marketing has evolved with society, and society has evolved with marketing. As this module unfolds, we will see that markets and society have identifiable recurring patterns – we will refer to these as the 4 marketing quests. Given, that the 4 marketing quests are historically evident, it is suggested that they are likely to provide guidance to marketing practitioners during the CADDIE business-marketing planning process [outlined in section 3].


Most people take the evolution for granted, however, understanding the evolution of marketing will highlight that marketing practitioners have been innovators for thousands of years. The constantly evolving nature of marketing and society suggests that marketing is a dynamic discipline and that marketing practitioners must assist their organisations to adapt to the evolving situational factors.

Video - marketing & society

This video introduces the importance of the evolution of marketing from a societal perspective.

4 recurring patterns or quests

Marketing can be described as ‘the quest for the best’. A search by customers for products that best satisfy their needs and a search by organisations for customers that are best suited to products.  Best satisfying is the very basis of the marketing concept.

From a societal perspective the evolution of marketing reveals 4 marketing quests.

Hunter gathers would bring the bones of animals to a collective site, employ rudimentary tools, in time became fascinated with the afterlife, and how this evolved differently in societies.

At a dig in central-southern Italy, archaeologists discovered a tooth of a ten-year-old amongst the animal bones, they also uncovered rudimentary tools including tools employed to drill through the bones to enable the marrow to be extracted from the bones. What is also interesting is that some of the bones are of animals [e.g., elephants] no longer found in Italy.

Although Scotland is strongly associated with the industrial revolution, it has an ancient history and there are a number of sacred sites where burial rituals were performed.  

Keep in mind that the Neolithic Revolution was not one distinct event, but rather an evolution that unfolded gradually and according to the society. Therefore, marketing practitioners should be mindful that [even today] different markets will have unique situational factors that need to be uncovered and considered.

As people became sedentary, they needed to store food, they kept animals, and had other possessions, however, this made them vulnerable. For protection from marauders and from the weather they came together, built shelters and formed villages.

In time and for protection, peasant farmers formed villages. The crannogs of Scotland are an early example of the transition to village life. A crannog is a large timber framed roundhouse that protected a community and their possessions [e.g., food and livestock]. The crannogs were built over water and joined to the land by a wooden bridge, for defence part of the bridge could be removed. During the day people farmed the land and fished the waters but retreated to their crannog to eat and sleep.

In a quest to better store and serve food and drink people invented and the produced pottery. Pottery is one of the greatest advancements and one that provided archaeologists with tangible records of past societies. The Celtic pottery in Fig. 21 shows sophisticated and highly decorative pottery and how different designs were produced for different functions. Being a specialist trade pottery identifies how communities began to evolve from peasant farmers into specialisations.

In time villages were established, many were walled and fortified for safety and protection of people and possessions. In time populations grew, a great example of the increasing need for safety and protection is the Great Wall of China. It is hoped that a broad view of the evolution of marketing is considered rather than a one country view.

The evolving consumer

The notable events include – the Neolithic Revolution, the agrarian era, the marketplace, the renaissance, printing, the role of the industrial revolution, the evolution of engineering, products, retailing and technology. We could categorise the notable events since the industrial revolution as mass production and mass consumption. Mass production includes the distribution of products, people, and information. Mass consumption includes the evolution from the hunter-gather consumer, to the producer and consumer, to the distinct producer or consumer living in cities across the world.

From hunter-gatherers to farmers

For the majority of human history, people lived as hunter gatherers and developed an ability to learn from each other and adapt to their environment (Boyd & Richerson, 2009). Then, around 12,000 years ago the hunter-gatherers [some suggests that they were more foragers than hunters] began to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Some archaeologists suggest that this was out of necessity rather than choice and some go so far as to suggest that this is the explained through the metaphor of Adam and Eve in the Bible (Dietrich, Huen, Schmidt, & Zarnkow, 2012). This change is often referred to as the ‘Neolithic Revolution’, however, as the events evolved in a gradual and independent process, it is more accurate to describe these events as an evolution rather than a revolution.

From hunter-gatherers to farmers

In time, nomadic hunter-gatherers evolved into sedentary peasant farmers – they built shelters and domesticated animals and plants. They traded what was of value [e.g., furs and hides]. They cultivated plants, selected the best, and modified their environment to maximise their effort. They were largely self-sufficient. They preserved and stored food; for example, cereals were cultivated and baked into bread, vegetables, fruits and dairy were pickled and/or fermented. People were both producers and consumers. Interestingly, many food products that we consume today had their origins in this era.

Exemplar: The Crannogs

In this exemplar we take in a few shops, some magnificent bridges, pass by some magnificent country homes on the road to the Crannogs. Th Crannogs are part of our evolution of marketing and society a time before roads and a time when people began to form communities for safety & security.

Coming together for protection

In time and for protection, peasant farmers formed villages. The crannogs of Scotland are an early example of the transition to village life. A crannog is a large timber framed roundhouse that protected a community and their possessions [e.g., food and livestock]. The crannogs were built over water and joined to the land by a wooden bridge, for defence part of the bridge could be removed. During the day people farmed the land and fished the waters but retreated to the crannog to eat and sleep.

Coming together for protection

With time people left the crannogs and established communities. They farmed the land and honoured their ancestors. In this slide we can see the island that was formed after the decay of a crannog and the adjacent sttlement with the ancient gravestones.

The Great Wall of China

The best known example of building walls and fortifications to protect people, stock, and produce is the Great Wall of China.

Initially people, to access clean drinking water, began to dig deeper wells, however, regardless of the depth the wells became microbe infested and unsuitable for drinking. Infected water has long been a challenge of societies.

In time beer was brewed, this led to the farming of cereal crops, the selecting and storage of the best seeds. Three distinct groups emerged – farmers, brewers, and consumers. Interestingly some brewers today support clean drinking water projects in 3rd world countries. 

In areas suitable for grape growing, grapes were fermented into wine and the wine was mixed with water to purify the water and provide calories [rice is also fermented to wine].

Cuneiform writing was developed in Mesopotamia [the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and often described as the ‘cradle of civilisation’]. The tablet was photographed in the British Museum in London is thought to be 5,000 years old. Transactions were etched into wet clay, the clay ‘tablets’ were dried. In this clay tablet, the symbol for beer is visible 3 times. Note how the writing is icon based [logo-syllabic]. Archaeologists comment that it would be a mistake to consider this a simple form of writing as it was employed and understood by people speaking multiple languages.

What are the similarities between the icon on the clay tablet with the software icons on a laptop or phone and do these icons span a number of languages?

Initially the fermenting of grapes to wine was seen as a method of purifying infected water. This was promoted as a miracle by religious orders and nobility who often controlled the production, promotion, and distribution of alcohol. A system of marketing and distribution that was disrupted in France during the French Revolution. Wine was/is used in religious ceremonies.

Monasteries such as the one photographed at the Château du Clos de Vougeot in Burgandy, France had wooden framed structures and often had large wooden wine presses and large wooden vats. The workmanship of the wine making machinery in the in this collection is from a time before steel when wood was plentiful. A visit to the Château du Clos de Vougeot provides a 900-year insight into the history of wine marketing.

Although stainless steel vats have largely replaced wood in the production process, it should be highlighted that wooden barrels are still used to store and flavour alcohol. In some industries used wooden barrels are passed-on from other producers to provide unique flavouring. Whisky producers generally source used barrels [wine, sherry and port] to add colour and create a more complex and favourable taste than what can be achieved through the distilling process. The type of wood influenced the taste and Oak is preferred. Coopers also char or toast the inside of a barrel to add flavour – a trade rich in history.

Clean drinking water a constant challenge

As people evolved from hunter-gatherers to an agricultural and village lifestyle, they encountered a number of new challenges (Boucquet-Appel, 2011). As a consequence of people and animals living in close proximity, water became contaminated with faeces.

Beer was safer

Drinking beer [fermented cereals] was considered safer than drinking contaminated water.

Beer produced then sold

Beer was produced and traded, exchanges were recorded on wet clay that was dried and stored [cuneiform writing]. We could say that beer played a significant role in the development of writing, management, and bookkeeping. The symbol for beer appears 3 times on this clay tablet – interesting how the word tablet is used today. What is also interesting is how cuniform writing was icon based and could be understood by a number of languages – which is like the icons on our computor, tablet and phones of today.

Wine also allowed societies to form

Additionally, wine [fermented grapes] when mixed with water was seen as a way of purifying water. Wine was a method of preserving fruit; wine, which is high in calories, was a source of energy. Furthermore, wine was used to clean meat before preserving, and for medicinal purposes. The process of grapes to wine was viewed as a miracle – wine became sacred, ‘wine gods’ were worshiped. Wine became ceremonial and was recorded in the histories of Mesopotamia, China, Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire, and Medieval Europe.

The wine trade flourished

The health benefits of wine lead to the cultivation of grapes and the widespread production of wine. Peasant farmers took wine to the fields to purify the stream water and to provide a needed source of energy. Clearly, wine was viewed more utilitarian and less hedonic than it is today. Interestingly, where grapes were not available a rice wine was produced and consumed

Wine as a miracle

The process of grapes to wine was viewed as a miracle – wine became sacred, ‘wine gods’ were worshiped. Wine was deified and ceremonial and recorded in the histories of Mesopotamia, China, Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire, and Medieval Europe. The health benefits of wine lead to the widespread cultivation of grapes and the production of wine. Peasant farmers took wine to the fields to purify the stream water and to provide a needed source of energy.

Alcohol was more utilitarian than hedonic

Clearly, wine was viewed more utilitarian and less hedonic than it is today. Interestingly, where grapes were not available other alcoholic liquids was produced and consumed [e.g., whisky, sake, cider]. Scottish Gaelic referred to whisky as uisge-beatha meaning the water of life (Arthur, 2000; Pearson, 2017).

Alcohol was more utilitarian than hedonic

Clearly, wine and other fermented beverages were viewed more utilitarian and less hedonic than it is today. The overconsumption of  alcoholic beverages brings challenges to families and societies. This example is employed to illustrate that what was once seen as a miracle can also be burden.

The pottery era

To store and transport wine and beer pottery was needed. The production of pottery was a notable event. The neolithic era is often defined as pre and post pottery. From a marketing perspective it represent the specialisation of tasks – facilitating and enabling services.

The early days of markets. Markets often formed at the intersection of two paths. Initially informal, some became permanent and ‘market towns’ emerged. An example of one such town is Saepinum [now known as Sepino]; an ancient pre-roman market town around 130km south of Rome in Italy.

In time trade developed between different towns and in time became international. The advances by the Chinese, the Romans, and the Portuguese are of note.

Markets – places where sellers and buyers came to satisfy their needs became a common feature of many towns and they were recognised by authorities as ‘market towns’. To facilitate a fair exchange common money, standard weights, and standard measurements were introduced.

One feature of markets was that they recognised the title of the goods sold and market exchanges recognised the transfer of the title and protected buyers from claims that they may have stolen the goods, however, it made those who entered transactions outside a market open to accusations. Markets have long attracted the taxes and attention of authorities.

Prior to the inventions of ice-making and then refrigeration food had a limited shelf-life. James Harrison was a Scottish-Australian, the son of a fisherman and editor of an Australian newspaper. Harrison noticed that some of the printing liquids were cold when touched. This sparked his interest in refrigeration. At the time Australia was importing ice and he felt that a cheaper and more convenient alternative would overcome the challenges of society.

In time refrigeration evolved and progressed to include large, refrigerated spaces, the cooling of retail display cabinets, truck containers, and the household refrigerator. What you may spot is that refrigeration is a service provided by machinery. In recent years new refrigerant gases have been developed to minimise the environmental effect.

The origins of marketing

Marketing has its origins in the peasant farmer taking surplus produce to market for trade. The peasant farmer was keen to achieve the best value from the exchange and generally traded with people they knew and trusted.

Although rare today, this ancient process of la transumanza, the migration of livestock, was performed for thousands of years (Clissa, 2001). Today, many of Italy’s modern roads follow the pathways that peasant farmers brought their produce to markets. Generally, the market towns had an entrance gate or entrance gates; this was not only to protect the merchants from marauders but also to levy taxes from the buyers and sellers.

Evolution of the market

Protecting markets and creating favourable market conditions has long been a priority for governments as they were an important source of revenue (Jones, 1993). Guilds were also involved in creating favourable market conditions, enforcing a strict code of practice, a passing on of skills, and the protection of producers and consumers from counterfeit products (Petty, 2016).

Typical 18th Century market

This painting by Frans Snyders records the typical 18th Century market scene [you can almost smell the market]. Clearly when refrigeration was invented and adopted the quality and freshness of the produce would have improved.

Fair trade

In time, peasant farmers began to exchange surplus production. Others traded their skills and labour [the origins of the word ‘tradespeople’]; some specialised; for example, carpentry, butchering, leather tanning, pottery, transport. Other craftspeople specialised in the production of metals – some metals were cast into tools for farming and precious metals were crafted into jewellery and coins. As markets expanded, metals were also cast into weights – to provide a more exact measurement of produce. Standard weights and measures and regulations were introduced to ensure value and fairness – ‘a fair exchange’.

Markets highlight the importance of relationships

What is also interesting about the traditional rural markets is that the relationship between the buyer and the seller could be described as intimate, furthermore, people did business with people they knew and trusted. As markets became more complex, intermediaries were often employed to represent the producers; establishing consumer trust became a priority and this led to the emergence of branded products (Hawkins,2017).

Market Streets

A common feature of larger towns or cities is that there is generally one street that is named ‘Market Street’; this indicates where a market is [or was] located. Towns and cities evolve – sometimes, inner city wholesale markets have been relocated and the historic buildings are re-purposed; often these areas become an important part of the city entertainment scene – for example, the Covent Garden Markets in London, England, sometimes they are transformed into retail food markets – for example, the markets in Dijon in France, or Fremantle Markets in Western Australia.

Markets are experiences

As we discovered in the activity in the definition module, covered markets and street markets remain popular; generally, the markets are held on a particular day or days. Markets are often interesting places for tourists as they provide an insight to the culture, foods, and traditional crafts of a region. Markets often attract local consumers who are searching for a more personal buying experience, better pricing, fresher produce, and local produce. Supermarkets offer a different buying experience than local markets, however, they are popular for their convenience, the range of goods and the facilitating and enabling services that they provide.

The industrial revolution attracted people to the towns and the towns became cities, however, no city was prepared for the increased likelihood of infection.

For example, the population of Liverpool swelled due to the influx of immigrants seeking work. Life expectancy in Liverpool was 19 years. Scottish engineer James Newlands designed and managed the construction of the Liverpool sewage system. The project which included flushing toilets in tenements and public buildings took 11 years and was completed in 1869.  

London for many years experienced what was referred to as the ‘Great Stink’ caused by a mix of industrial effluent and human waste discharged into the Thames River catchment. Regular outbreaks of cholera occurred. In addition, the cesspits caused methane gas and explosions and fires were common. As the Liverpool project was nearing completion London began a similar project, the objective was to improve the health and life expectancy of the population.

If you have ever walked along the Thames embankment in London, you are actually walking above the main sewage pipes. Initially the raw sewage was discharged untreated, however, The Thames is a tidal river, and the effluent often came upstream with the rising tide. It appears as if societies often make progress only to be presented with another problem.

As trade expanded cities evolved some such as London became mega-cities. What is also interesting is that as each society evolves the world of commerce evolves. Florence, whilst known as the banking centre of Europe in the Middle Ages was also known for great advances in the arts and sponsored many great artists such as Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

All the tea in China

To fully appreciate the evolution of marketing and society and how it has influenced our lives we should take a broad and historical view. Go beyond recent history and consider the Middle East, China, Japan, Roman Empire, Scotland [see Ring of Brodgar], England, Europe and New World countries. This may surprise you.

All the tea in China

The history of tea is enlightening. Chow & Kramer (1990) trace the trade in tea in China to the 12th century B.C. and reveal that tea was pressed into ‘cakes’ and included the producer’s seal. These were an accepted means of currency and an early example of branding. Tea was first imported into Europe in 1610 and soon became a valuable commodity. Of course, tea and the taxation imposed on tea played a part in US history.

Today, we often refer to household pottery as ‘China’ out of respect to the origins of the product.

What have Romans ever done for us?

In time, informal markets evolved into formal markets. To facilitate and enable the markets to function intermediaries began to offer a range of supporting services. For convenience, intermediaries settled near the markets and in time ‘market towns’ evolved. An example of one such town is Saepinum [now known as Sepino]; an ancient pre-roman market town around 130km south of Rome in Italy. This market was initially formed at the intersection of two pathways walked by peasant farmers.

What have Romans ever done for us?

The Romans, according to Pressey (2014), were strict market administrators and they enforced harsh penalties for traders taking advantage of consumers. Hawkins (2017) states that the Romans also played a significant role in the establishment of markets through infrastructure including the construction of roads, buildings and the creation of a safe and secure marketplace environment. Rippon (2008) an archaeologist, presents the view that in addition to roads built in England by the Romans, the Romans also built ports for local and overseas trade. Furthermore, he suggests that there is evidence of cooperation between road and water-based transport.

What have Romans ever done for us?

The Roman influence on commerce in Western-Eurpoean ended in the 6th Century [AD]; this according to Pressey (2014, p. 279), was followed by “a 700-year period of economic and cultural regression” – commonly referred to as the Dark Ages. Interestingly, the ‘European Dark Ages’ was a period of great advancement in the middle east.

What have the Portuguese ever done for us?

When we think historically about explorers and traders the Portuguese should come top of mind. For around 6 centuries, in what is often referred to as the Age of Discovery, the Portuguese traders established entrepots [trading ports] in Africa, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East,  the sub-continent, China, and Japan.

What have the Venetians ever done for us?

Venice was also a major international financial centre and place of trade during the middle ages and through the renaissance. Built on a lagoon it was well positioned as a port for Europe and the Middle East. Today tourists to Venice can tour the city and marvel at the ingenuity and the wealth the city produced.

What have the Florentines ever done for us?

Florence was originally a Roman city, however, in the middle ages it emerged as the major centre for commerce and culture in Europe. Florence was a centre for banking and Florentine money [the florin known for it quality of gold] was perceived as the standard currency in Europe. The Medici family of Florence were considered one of the most noble families in Europe. Many of the banking and accountancy practices initiated by the Medici family are still practiced today. The Medici family, particularly Lorenzo de Medici were patrons of the arts and sponsored the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli – this period is referred to as the Renaissance.

The challenge of maintaining a health community

However, with cities and towns expanding and global trade – the challenges of society were never far away and this era is marked by disease and death. Many of these challenges would be addressed with better sanitation, chlorinated drinking water, and refrigeration.

In the above collection we can see how trade developed from small sail powered coastal boats, these were before the time of steam power and were often at the mercy of the tides and the wind.

The beginning of global trade can be traced back to the Dutch East India Company, this was what is commonly referred today as ‘crowd funded’ however it is also the first company to issue stock. Therefore, we could say that the Dutch East India Company is the beginning of the stock market.

We can also see one of the first sail/steam/iron ships, what is also interesting about this ship is that it was a diversification strategy by a railway company. The idea was that wealthy passengers would pay a premium to travel in luxurious surroundings, however, the idea was a little before its time.

Prior to containerisation cargo was loaded individually, the people who undertook this task were often referred to as ‘lumpers’ as they lumped cargo up the gangplanks and into the ship.

Today container ships are a common sight, the idea of container ships is older than most think. The integration of freight over sea and land was common in Roman times. However, the modern container ship had its origins in improving rail and ship transport, today many containers move between ship transport and road transport.

In this collection the innovations of steam and steel from the railways are applied to shipping – we note how innovations in one industry are applied in another.

With concerns for safety of vessels, people, and cargo a network of lighthouses was established to lower the risks associated with shipping. Managing risks and minimising financial losses associated with shipping have long been part of international trade, with archaeologists uncovering ancient maritime insurance contracts in cuneiform writing and around 4,000 years old.

Initially, rivetted steel ships were an extensions of wood building technologies. In the image of ‘Ship construction – Doulis’ we can see how an early steel planked and rivetted ship [built 1914] had a new bow added employing newer technology.

For a number of years passenger ships were an important means of transport, with the popularity and convenience of air travel the passenger numbers declined. However, with repositioning, a focus on the experience, and a new target market cruise ships became an important tourism industry. With large numbers of sated passengers cruise ships were criticised that they overburden the communities and did little for the economies of the destination. In 2020 cruise ships were put into mothballs as concerns for passenger safety were raised. Demonstrating that situational factors influence all aspects of marketing.

Better distribution through shipping

With time ships grew from small wooden coastal and river craft serving local markets.

International trade

The Dutch East India Shipping Company was established in 1602 and ceased trading in 1799. It is considered by many as the first international organisation. It was a group of merchants engaged in many commercial activities – including the trade of spices, wine, sugar and even ship building, funds were raised by what is considered crowdfunding today and was the first publicly listed company. There was a strong linkage between the government and the company and some suggest that it played a strategic role in Dutch foreign policy.

Ships from wood to steel

This ship is interesting as it shows the transition from wooden ships to iron hulled ships [1860] and the transition from sail to steam power. It is said that it was the first major change in ship building in 1000 years. The HMS Warrior was built from the plans for a wooded ship substituting wood for iron – overlapping planks and steel rivets replacing copper nails, however, with time steel ships construction also evolved and the welding of steel plates became an accepted building method.

Evolution of steel ships

This ship is interesting as it shows the evolution of ship building in the left hand image you will see how the ship when constructed in 1914 was constructed with steel and rivets, however, when the hull underwent maintenance many years later it was welded. When it was retired in 2009 it was the oldest ocean going ship. It had a number of names and at one time was a ‘migrant ship’ on the Australian run. It was also a travelling book shop for many years. Today it is an hotel.


Many of the old steamers have been renovated and are employed in the tourism industry. This steamer can be found at Queenstown in New Zealand.

Safe navigation

Before the era of satellite navigation the ships navigates relied on the coastline and the stars. With the growth in shipping came the need for lighthouses to highlight areas of danger. The design and construction of lighthouses has a fascinating history.

The cruise ship industry

For many years prior to COVID 19 the cruise ship industry was experiencing a period of rapid growth. With mass tourism came problems as often the sated consumer spent very little in the ports the ships visited.

The quest for better distribution

International trade has grown dramatically in recent years and one of the catalysts for this growth was the containerisation of shipping. This led to more effective and efficient handling of exports and imports.

The development of super ports

Ports that were strategically located [e.g., Singapore] and sought efficiencies often developed in super ports.

In this collection we reflect on how production was once reliant on muscle power.

The producer/consumer toiling in the field can still be found in some countries. Around 80 years ago it was a common sight in many countries, including countries in Europe, to see people toiling in the field, however, today it is a rare sight especially when men, women, and animals work together n the field to produce their food.

Today horses are seen as part of sporting events. And it is easy to overlook the role of horses and how they were a central part of many people’s lives. Horses helped plough the fields, cart the crops to market, take fallen trees to the mill, transport produce, and take families to the city.

Prior to the railways there were a network of canals that crisscrossed some countries and produce was taken by barge boats that were drawn by horses. Many of the canals are still in use today, however, they are predominantly employed for leisure.

Horses also required a great deal of maintenance and required somewhere to be stabled, regular watering and feeding, grooming, and it took time to ready a horse for work.

The quest for better distribution - horses

For thousands of years in many countries there was a relationship between man and horse.  Man and horse worked together to plough the fields take produce to market and as a means of transport.

These magnificent sculptures by Andy Scott recognise and honour the horses who contributed to the evolution of society. In particular Scott pays tribute to how horses powered the early days of the industrial revolution – including pulling the canal barges.

The horse & the production of food

Before mechanised tractors – horses and people ploughed the fields, harvested the crops, and took the produce to the market intermediaries. Horses and man had a relationship that spanned many tousand years.

The horse and the railways

In this image we can see an early form of railway, powered by horse and directed by a person. We can see that at this stage the rails and carriage, wheels, are made of wood, the carriage is relatively small [a standard size was adopted] to enable a horse to pull it along a flat surface – when there was an incline other horses would be added accordingly [we refer to this as horsepower]. On decline the operator would apply the brake [see picture]. We can see the influence on the railaways to come.

The horse as transport

The horse and the distribution of people. Farmers would employ their horses to get to town. Towns people would use horses to pull their carriages. We saw horses pulling rail carriages but the early trams and buses were also pulled by horse. Horses, required a stable, care and feeding and we tell to think of horses as ‘utopian’ however, many of the city streets were covered in horse manure [consider after the rain] and this brought disease into the home. Horses were high in maintenance and required considerable effort prior to a journey.

The horse and canal boats

With the advent of the industrial revolution, horses pulled the barges that transported produce [often people] to market intermediaries. The pathways were referred to as towpaths. Originally the produce was loaded by hand [the people were referred to as lumpers] – in time geared cranes were employed to increase efficiency.

Engineering and canals

The era of the canal boats required may new engineering solutions and difficulties presented themselves. For example locks, tunnels and bridges [with the canal] had to be constructed. Many of these innovations were later applied in different situations.

With all the talk about steam powered machinery it could lead people to think that the industrial revolution began with steam powered engines.

At the beginning of the industrial revolution England and Holland had the highest average wealth and life expectancy [around 4o years]. Both countries were progressive and with increasing wealth from trade were well positioned to take advantage of their situational factors. Availability and location to natural sources of power were key success factors.

Many of the weaving, flour, and timber mills relied on water from streams and rivers or wind power. We may think about renewable energy as something new, however, these sources of power, although simpler than today have long been utilised. What was also important for success was having access to rivers to transport to and from the mills.

In some mills animals were employed to turn the mills when insufficient natural power was available. There is documentation that animals were often given feed with alcohol as the calories in the alcohol provided the animals with additional energy.

Early sources of power

Although we tend to think of the era of the industrial revolution as a coal fired haze, it is worth noting that originally factories were powered  water, wind or animals.

Early sources of power

Although we tend to think of the era of the industrial revolution as a coal fired haze, it is worth noting that originally factories were powered  water, wind or animals.

Early sources of power

In this slide we can see [LHS] an early weaving loom that was powered by the operator ans an early factory model [RHS}

Reducing the cost of clothing

In this slide we can see the Singer sewing machine. This was a well adopted household appliance as it removed the need to engage a qualified seamstress. At one time the Singer sewing machine factory was the largest factory in Europe. The machine was powered by the operator. One reason for its popularity was that it was originally sold through a hire purchase scheme.

Reducing the cost of clothing

In this slide we can see a small weaving mill origially powered by water and is still operating today and weaving the finest of cloth.

New Lanark - A co-operative

The images we can see in this slide are of New Lanark. A factory, and the largest in the world at one time, was an early adopter of employee relations. The basic premise of Robert Owen was that if the workers were housed in better accommodation, in a healthier environment, with better working conditions, given access to education, and ran their own grocery co-operative then they would better value their employment and provide a better return to the employer. At the time this was revolutionary.

A modern weaving mill

In this slide we can see a modern weaving mill in Portugal as you can see it is ultra clean and technologically advanced.

Back to the future

Early factories harnessed wind and water power and were located near natural power sources, today there is an increasing awareness and adoption of natural and renewable energy sources.

Often when we consider the industrial revolution we think of the advances in health and wealth of people. However, from a societal perspective we should also consider the industrial revolution as a period of great disruption. A time when people [in some countries] were forced off their traditional land as ‘landowners’ tried to industrialise their farms or produced high demanded produce [e.g,. wool for the mills].

Landownership was sometimes gifted arbitrary by those in power and new landowners [often absent] were often brutal. Displaced people were cleared from their land and often forced into cities. Although many were successful in finding work, the dynamic nature of the industrial revolution meant that often employment was temporary, people were forced to travel in search of work and without an income and permanent residence many were imprisoned.

When we consider these events, it is worthwhile to consider that this was an era prior to the rigours of a professional police force and an organised judicial system. A time when someone could be imprisoned and categorised as a convict without committing an offence.

The decline of peasant farming

There are a number of patterns in society that are of interest to marketing scholars; one is the transformation from a producer and consumer to a producer or consumer. Although peasant farming had largely disappeared in western nations by the 1950’s, it still exists in some parts of the world [those of you who have visited rural parts of Asia may have noticed this].

Characteristics of the peasant family

The general characteristic of the peasant family is a self-sufficient and self-reliant extended family [small communes]. The communities grow their own food, preserve their produce for future consumption, build their own homes [often with local materials], and trade their produce or labour, for any items beyond their ability to produce. Generally, peasant families do not specialise and have a wide range of crops and animals; they have a ‘waste not want not’, ‘frugal’ philosophy.

Economic migration

Since the very beginnings of the industrial revolution the peasant family has been a traditional source of factory labour. According to Richardson (1973) the industrial revolution was characterised by a process of economic migration where farm workers, in search of a better life, migrated from the farms to the cities. He suggested that a plentiful supply of compliant workers provided British manufacturers during the industrial revolution with a source of cheap labour and, consequently, low production costs.

Economic migration

Often economic migration from the family farm happens when the family land is unable to support the family. In these circumstances, it is expected that those who emigrate send ‘remittances’ to help improve the life for those who remain in the family home. What is interesting is that migrating to the city is often seen as a temporary solution; however, many migrants never make it home. What is also clear is that it is very hard to return to a peasant life. Some consumer behaviourists have called this phenomenon of being suspended between two places as a liminal state –this is often referred to as liminality.

From farms to factories

As people moved from the farms to the cities, products that had previously been self-produced, needed to be purchased from a merchant. Factory workers were now focused on gaining a return from their labour not producing what they needed. For example, whereas peasant farmers produced soap from animal fat, ash from the fire and perfume extracted from plants; factory workers now purchased from soap merchants. Interestingly, factory workers were now free to choose which soap they preferred and which soap represented the best value.

The history of railways begins with horse drawn wooden wagons laden with coal on track made of wood. However, with a demand for faster transport to increase speed to market the evolution of the railways began. Initially, it was part of the industrial revolution sweeping England, however, in time it touched all parts of life.

Although initially the was a focus on transporting good to and from factories, in time railways became the accepted and affordable means of transport for working-class people. One area of interest is that it expanded tourism as families took the train to the seaside resorts for an escape from the city and the pollution.

In London the railway networks arrive at terminals at the edge of the city, however, as the city grew and to effectively and efficiently move people throughout the city and with no space for above ground trainlines the railways went underground, initially steam powered the were soon electrified.

Many may take the London underground network for granted, however, when it is considered the time and endeavour it is truly a remarkable event for society.

Today in many countries the railways have been rejuvenated and have found a new following. In many countries high speed trains connect cities.

Searching for a competitive advatage

The quest to bring raw materials [originally cotton] to the factories and then get the finished product to market quicker and cheaper than competitors was the motivation that led to the steam powered train.

The convergence of technologies

Appropriating technologies from other industries enable the railway companies to make massive improvements.

The quest for better distribution

As train companies competed they needed to complete a number of challenging project, bridges, tunnels, train statioions.

The quest for better distribution

From market towns to industrial towns

With the expansion of the railways in Britain, Europe and North America small market towns were transformed into cities and often industrial towns as the towns grew the towns required new services.

A standardised time

Prior to the era of the railways each town had its own time largely based on the sun, however, to ensure an efficient rail network a standardised time was needed and this was communicated via the train tracks.

The work of coopers was to keep dry produce dry and wet produce wet. Although we tend to focus on wine and whisky, barrels were made for a variety of produce.

In the era of wooden ships coopers were in high demand, they often worked on wharfs and accompanied voyages to re-assemble barrels for the return voyage.

In this collection we can see large barrels still  employed in the whisky industry. We can also see how barrels were modified and employed in the  making cheese and butter.

Barrels were also employed in early washing machines – initially with the barrel rotating, later wringers were added. Obviously, this is before the general adoption of electric motors in household appliances.

Today, barrels are often employed within hospitality venues to help create a sense of theatre and as part of the meta-narrative of the product or brand.

Washing machines

In this slide we can see early washing machines. The early washing machines were powered by hand and the water reservoir was made from a half wine barrel – we can see how washing machine manufacturers borrowed the skills from another industry. The wringing apparatus was referred to as a ‘mangle’ after it inventor and was a common cause of hand injures [mangled].

Cheese makers

In this slide we can see and early cheese making machine. The early cheese making machines were powered by hand and the milk was poured into a former wine barrel – we can see how manufacturers borrowed the skills from another industry and applied it new ways.

Reducing the cost of clothing

In this slide we can see a Carron cast iron stove built for a stately home around 1857. The wood burning stoves were made Carron Company who were a leading manufacturing company of the industrial revolution and an innovator. Today many stately homes have Aga range cookers and if you look closely there are similarities.

The relationship with the horse spanned 1,000 of years, however, the arrival of the first ‘safety bicycle’ in 1839 was the beginning of the end of the horse. The safety bicycle replaced the ‘penny farthing’ style of bicycles. The penny farthing had one large wheel at the front and one small wheel at the back. The safety bicycle had two wheels of even size and employed a chain and geared system to replace the large wheel small wheel configuration. This enabled riders to reach the ground with their foot when stationary.

By the 1880s the safety bicycle was in mass production and took advantage of the advances in steel and the casting and machining of steel parts.

The bicycle was particularly popular with people living in cities as it could be stored safely and more conveniently than a horse, plus there was little maintenance.

In the collection above we can see how bicycles have continued to be an important means of transport for many and for some a lifestyle choice. The evolution of the bicycle bifurcated with one stream evolving into the motorcycle. In the collection above we can see some of the steps in the development and also see some luxury brands of motorcycles.

In time advances in wheels, tyres, gears, electrics found their way into the motor car. This evolution is outlined in greater detail in the exemplar ‘Indian Motorcycles’

The quest to better satisfy + adopt the innovations in one product and apply them to another led to the development of the motor car. We can see how innovations by bicycle and motorcycle manufacturers were reapplied and began a process of the evolution of the automobile.

Each year automobile manufacturers would audit their customers, their organisational capabilities, the market, and the products and go through a process of constant product development. To many countries the automobile industry is part of national pride; there is a hierarchy, which is challenged from time to time. There are also mergers of brands and collaborations to seek economies of scale. Out of sight from the customers are the global original equipment manufacturers [OEM] who supply parts across manufacturers.

When we look through a car museum or attend a vintage car rally, we can see how some manufacturers have been consistent with their branding over the decades, for example the Ford logo. How many once successful brands have simply disappeared when they now longer had product leadership within their selected market segment, and we can see how features once found in luxury brands are adopted and trickle down to other brands.

We can also see how this constant product development has also applied to commercial products and how innovations in automobiles are applied in commercial vehicles.

In the northern Italian city of Como is a statue of one of their favourite sons, Alessandro Volta, each day thousands of people walk past this statue and probably only a few would consider how Volta’s invention has changed the world. Equally it would have been impossible for Volta, 1799, to imagine the way his invention would influence society.

Consider for a moment, the products you own that have batteries to enable them to function. Also consider how battery life is often the determinant product quality when selecting a product.

In this collection we can also see the evolution of the petrol bowser and how initially it was hardly convenient and how over time it became more ‘user friendly’. We are beginning to witness the adoption of the electric car with more efficiency and the ability to travel further between charging. And just as the petrol bowser evolved it is likely we will see advances in the electric charging stations.

In the above collection we can see how electric trams once criss-crossed many cities and how today in an effort to meet the challenges for better air quality electric trams are having a rejuvenation. Interestingly, the motor car was initially promoted as been a safer alternative to horse drawn carriages as horse manure carried disease and this disease was then introduced to homes on the soles of the feet of family members.

the evolution of retailing

The evolution of marketing is the quest for best. If we consider the 4 recurring patterns we can see that retailing has evolved from a relatively informal process to often quite a sophisticated process. Not only have we seen the adoption of technologies to create a better retail experience we have seen the adoption of technologies to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing practice.


The birth of the consumer society

As part of the industrial revolution people moved from the farms to the cities, products that had previously been self-produced, needed to be purchased from a merchant. Factory workers were now focused on gaining a return from their labour not producing what they needed. For example, whereas peasant farmers produced soap from animal fat, ash from the fire and perfume extracted from plants; factory workers now purchased from soap merchants. However, factory workers were now free to choose which soap he/she preferred and which soap represented the best value.

Furthermore, time took on a new meaning, people began to calculate the amount of time required to earn the money equal to the purchase price of a product; therefore, time became a component of value. The home of the peasant family was a place of production, storage and for sheltering family and animals; however, the home of the factory worker became a place of consumption, rest, and leisure.

The economic migration from farm to factory, the ability to spend money, and a general increase in prosperity brought about other important changes. For example, production began to have less influence over consumption and consumption began to have more influence over production. With the increase in prosperity, consumers began to demonstrate their wealth/status; this generated new products and choice. With choice, the route to mass consumption had begun. The obvious demonstration of the wealth/status of the middle and upper class through luxury products is often referred to as conspicuous consumption.

In the above collection we see some ‘peddlers’ on the Indonesian island of Bali. I enjoy watching them for a number of reasons. One of the key reasons is how much effort they put into their ‘selling’ and how they work hard and value their time. Another reason is that I like to observe tourists who bargain hard over what is essentially very little to them but a great deal to the peddlers when I get the opportunity, I ask them would they behave the same way if they were in a luxury watch shop rather than a copy watch seller on the beach. Often, they would not, and I feel that we behave according to how much power we feel we have.

Although there were arcades in Ancient Rome and covered walkways in many Roman cities [e.g., Bologna], the Burlington Arcade in London, the Bn Marche in Paris and the Galleria in Milan are great example of the birth in modern retailing.

In London in the 19th century a number of arcades soon followed the Burlington arcade to provide better upstairs accommodation for the merchants and a better retail experience for shoppers.

Interestingly, the arcades employed security guards who in time became the London Police. Today, the arcades occupy some of the prime real estate in and are the flagship stores for a number of brands. When talking about retailing the arcades and shops of Singapore offer a range of shopping experiences from convenience to extraordinary shopping experiences.

The evolution of retailing has many notable events. Some such as the cash register recorded exchanges and provided proof of purchase. In some countries customers were checked for cash register receipts to ensure that shopkeepers were recording transactions correctly for tax purposes.

The history of modern retailing has many notable events. For example, electricity to homes and electric motors produced many new household appliances. Electric lighting in retail spaces replaced the need for natural light, this allowed for better use of floor space, for longer shopping hours, and for better illumination of products.

The invention of plate glass enabled large one-piece shop windows. Window displays are an important form of marketing communication [promotional tactic] for many retailers. Window shopping is a popular pastime and part of the buyer decision process – particularly in the lead up to Christmas. Window displays provide a glimpse of the products on offer, and an opportunity for product positioning and branding. Many online retail organisations use the web-site home-pages as a substitute window display.

Customer convenience and comfort are important qualities are pre-purchase determinant qualities and then evaluated post purchase – they become part of customer satisfaction and repeat purchasing behaviour. Therefore, retailers face an ongoing constant challenge of maintaining a best satisfying customer experience.

The evolution of retailing

Whilst retailers have long employed in-home catalogues to reach customers, the Internet has provided a new medium for shopping. And with modern technologies the searching patterns of consumers can be collected and automatically analysed; organisations can now promote products to align with an individual consumer’s searching patterns.

The evolution of retailing

Whilst retailers have long employed in-home catalogues to reach customers, the Internet has provided a new medium for shopping. And with modern technologies the searching patterns of consumers can be collected and automatically analysed; organisations can now promote products to align with an individual consumer’s searching patterns.

Basic retailing - Europe

In this picture we see the very basic type of retailing where itinerant traders are approaching customers. We can also see that the Police are asking them to move along – when asked it was stated that they didn’t pay the same taxes and have the same costs as brick and mortar retailers. I wonder if they are as enthusiastic with online traders????

Basic retailing - Bali

In this picture we see another type of basic retailing where a trader is selling his wares and where people are approaching customers. Although, not unlike the previous slide, the photographs are taken in Bali where there is a long established and organised tradition of this type of retailing. What I love about these traders is that they will bargain enthusiastically – but know their exact break-even point and will never make an unprofitable sale.

Burlington Arcade -London

In this slide we see Burlington Arcade in London. This arcade was the first of its kind in London and takes its design from earlier arcades in Rome, Bologna, and Paris [assume the middle east]. The shopkeepers had a healthier environment, lived above their store, and had a covered roof to ensure all weather trading – many others followed.

There is an exemplar that may shed more light on Burlington Arcade

Burlington Arcade and security

In this slide we [again] see Burlington Arcade in London. We can see that this is a prestige shopping arcade and that the retailers are carefully vetted and selected. One point of interest is how immaculate the retail environment is. Interestingly, when the arcade was opened it employed security guards as other arcades opened and followed the security guards formed the London Police.

The era of the arcade

Typically when an innovation is introduced – others soon follow. In this case we can see how other arcades followed Burlington Arcade.

The era of the arcade

Typically when an innovation is introduced – others soon follow. In this case we can see how other arcades followed Burlington Arcade.

The era of the arcade

Typically when an innovation is introduced – others soon follow. In this case we can see how other arcades followed Burlington Arcade. This slide shows an arcade in Scotland – diffusion of an innovation.

The era of the arcade

Typically when an innovation is introduced – others soon follow. In this case we can see how other arcades followed Burlington Arcade. This slide shows arcades in Australia – diffusion of an innovation. If you inspect the slide you will see how the introduction of steel has enabled the buildings to be wider, higher, and more ornate.

The era of the arcade

Typically when an innovation is introduced – others soon follow. In this case we can see how other arcades followed Burlington Arcade. This slide shows arcades in New Zealand – diffusion of an innovation.

The Galleria Milan

The most famous of the arcades is The Galleria, in Milan. We can see how steel and glass are employed to give a grand feel. Note how hard wearing ceramic tiles have been employed in most of the arcades. As you would expect from the premier shopping arcade in Milan [one of the top fashion centres in the world] the shops are beautifully presented and are the flgship stores of many brands.

There is an exemplar on The Galleria Milano

The era of the department store

The advances in steel technology influenced a number of areas, bridge construction, railways, and buildings. The first steel framed department store was Le Bon Marche [the good market] in Paris. Interestingly this was designed for Aristide Boucicaut by Gustave Eiffel, who went on to design what is universally known as the Eiffel Tower. Boucicaut, provided many innovation and comforts for his customer and advanced the cause of women. In London department stores like Fortnum and Mason and Selfridges quickly adopted this innovation.

Fortnum & Mason were established in 1707 lease visit the exemplar

Selfridges department store

Another retail innovator was Harry Selfridge. Selfridge was hugely successful with a strategy based on best satisfying through great products and a great experience. He was a champion for customer rights and advanced a number of social causes. Although the store is still a London landmark and retail institution, sadly Harry Selfridge had an unfortunate decline due to mental health issues. Selfridges store was also a steel framed construction and like Le Bon Marche was an early adopter of catalogues.

The evolution of the catalogue

In this slide we [again] see how retailers that had long distributed catalogues to their customers and had a mail order system in place seamlessly adopted technology to to create the online catalogues – internet shopping was born.

The cash register

The cash register revolutionised retailing as it enable multiple prices to be calculated and recorded. Introduced around 1890 the cash register has undergone a number of transformations; including from mechanic to electronic and shopkeeper operated to self-service. The cash register provides a method of reconciling sales and providing legal records.

Escalators & elevators

Retailing is a very competitive business and the quest to best satisfy is ongoing. In 1898 Harrods revealed an escalator in their Knightsbridge store. Although customers were initially apprehensive they soon saw the convenience of a moving flight of stairs.


The invention of refrigeration enable food to be preserved for longer, remain fresher, and be offered at a temperature best suited for consumption.


The invention of airconditioning allows shoppers, particularly when temperatures are extreme, to shop in comfort and in the case of shopping malls to escape to a world of comfort.


It is hard to imagine a world without electricity and lighting.

Neon Lighting

Outdoor advertising informs consumers and creates competition

The telephone

The telephone revolutionised communication for business and consumers. Communication that was once confined to mail or face to face conversations could be conducted faster and with less inconvenience. The evolution included PABX systems, answering machines, facsimile machines, data sharing, and then the mobile phone and the advances in mobile technologies.

The smartphone

The smartphone evolution has created a device that includes multiple services and applications. We now think of a phone as a text communicator, camera, video recorder, image editor, calculator, map service, music player etc.

The typewriter

The evolution of the typewriter can be traced back to the 16th century and then a series of incremental improvements. Areas of interest is the invention of carbon paper [1801] permitted copies of typed letters to be copied, later we had carbon less paper, white out paint and typewriter erasers to correct mistakes, golf ball printers permitted different fonts. Some of us may remember the ribbons with red and black ink.

The typewriter, word processor, laptop

This slide shows a ‘portable’ typewriter, word processor, and laptop. Interestingly, the QWERTY typewriter keyboard [1878] including Tab, and Shift keys was adopted by laptop keyboards.

Out of Home Advertising

Ou t of home advertising is becoming increasingly important with improvement in technology and screen quality.

the mannquins

The use of mannequins allows for better more exciting displays

Plate Glass

The invention of plate glass allows shoppers to see into the shops and provides retailers the opportunit to better display their shops and products.


The introduction of franchising enables consumers to build preferences regardless of location, knowing that a relatively uniform product will be delivered. It provides business owners with a degree of security knowing that there is a well known support network. Franchising is a risk reduction strategy for consumers and for business owners.

Enabling services

There has always been services of intermediaries and in recent times there has been a growth in services that help facilitated and enable a sale – think credit cards, the internet, deliveries to your home.

Established industrial countries often state that emerging countries are copying their ideas. It may seem as this is a new phenomenon, however, there are those who argue that it is a recurring theme of business.

In 18th Century Britain, there was a rising middle class. Consistent with consumer behaviour theory the middle class coveted the status symbols of those they aspired to be like.

They travelled to Europe, sought out the architecture and art and returned to Britain as members of an exclusive class of people. They employed their new connections and knowledge, and some suggest that this contributed to the innovations of the industrial revolution.

Today many young people follow in this tradition and undertake the modern version of the Grand Tour – the Contiki Tour.

In this activity we explore the evolution of marketing and society; our objective is to learn from the past, identify the historical patterns, and be able to recognise how this knowledge can assist marketing practitioners to design and develop best satisfying products in the future.

Exemplar: The Indian motorcyle

This exemplar employs the evolution of the motorcycle in the USA to highlight the 4 recurring patterns and quests and how a best satisfying product that is neglected can loose its way. Fortunately, in this case it was given a new lease of life. [click on the image to access the exemplar]

Exemplar: New Lanark

This exemplar identifies a notable event that changed the way some thought of creating profits4 by improving internal quality and then external quality.  [click on the image to access the exemplar]
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