Traditionally, the role of marketing is to engage prospects and to support existing customers. But the Internet has changed the way we do this.

Before the Internet, businesses (or their agencies) provided prospects advertising, and public relations. The work was divided (and still is) into “b2b” and “b2c,” that is, business to business (providing information in trade or other journals) and business to consumers (providing advertisements on radio, print, outdoor and television in consumer media).

With the Internet, marketing departments, created and posted messages on their sites, and on allied Internet and social sites. In addition, they offered live events (trade shows and subject matter presentations), installed CTA’s (calls-to-action) on their own websites, posted messages in their own stores and in public areas (such as bus depots, train stations, airports) or on allied sites.

No question, placement opportunities exploded with the Internet. And managers were constantly weighing and re-weighing various costs in reaching out to potential customers. At the same time, mega agencies, which pre-Internet could do everything for many large companies, vanished all at once. It became a DIY (do-it-yourself) function. The “agile” (i.e. “small”) marketing shop, whether in or out of house, became the way to do business. And it still is.