The History of Digital Marketing: A Story in Progress


Today, who doesn’t have the latest phone, the latest connected watch, and one or more computers at home? How do we communicate with our family, our colleagues, without a phone? To send a text or email to the other side of the world, no matter the time of day or the location of the recipient, is an accepted and expected convenience.

How did we shop before the internet and its millions of stores at our disposal? How did athletes know how long or how many kilometers they ran, or if their heart rate was normal? How did we join a club before social networks? 

These tools have entered our lives, have become indispensable, and we can’t imagine living without them. 

We don’t even remember what it was like “before”.

New jobs have even had to be invented for these technological objects. Marketing for example has experienced its digital revolution. It has become necessary to have digital marketing professionals, such as Invicta Marketing, to help companies develop their website and their visibility on these digital tools.

Who has never heard of digital marketing, SEO?

 But do we really know what these terms mean and how it all started? 

According to the dictionary, marketing refers to all the techniques that have for object the commercial strategy, the sale of goods to say it more simply.

Digital is everything that operates on digital data, everything that will end up on your computers, phones and other electronic devices connected.

Digital marketing is therefore the set of practical actions allowing a company to attract new customers, through all modern digital media. The process being in constant evolution, it adapts permanently to the daily activities of the targets.

It will therefore consist in trying to attract potential customers by creating traffic on the website or social networks of a company. To do this, several tools will be at our disposal. For example: 

– The optimization of the website or SEO for Search engine optimization

– The optimization of the referencing of a website

– Digital advertising, i.e., advertising on the Internet and on various connected objects such as computers, tablets and telephones 

– Email marketing 

The digital revolution

To understand how the Internet was created and developed to become the indispensable tool we know, you just have to visit the CNRS or CERN websites, which celebrate this invention.

The story told is the following:

The Internet was born in the 1960s in the laboratories of the American army, but it was the invention of the Web by the community of particle physicists that popularized its use. In March 1989, in Geneva, the British Tim Berners-Lee, then a computer scientist at CERN, laid the first foundations of the Web, a concept described by his superior as “vague but promising”. His objective: to propose a technology allowing the easy sharing of the same information between physicists working in universities and institutes located in the four corners of the world. Before this invention, it was possible to send files and correspond by e-mail, but not to have a single reference copy stored in a given location and available to all.

The World Wide Web was truly born in 1991, when the first site became available outside CERN. Since the CNRS is a long-standing partner of CERN, engineers at the IN2P3 computing center (CC-IN2P3, CNRS)2 were already working regularly with Tim Berners-Lee and his team, in particular on the processing of data from large particle physics experiments.

In September 1992, Tim Berners-Lee presented his invention for the first time at a scientific conference jointly organized by CERN and the CNRS in Annecy. Following this conference, Wojciech Wojcik, a development and user support engineer, returned to the CC-IN2P3 with the technology in his pocket and installed the server (based on the CERN server, on a NeXTcube3 station, the same computer used by Berners-Lee. The first French Web server was born. 

He then created, with Daniel Charnay, a network engineer, the first Web page of the first French Internet site, the fifth in the world. It contained some summary information about the CC-IN2P3, a photo of the building and links to the first other Web sites in the world4.

The Internet as we know it was born! “

But we still need to be able to communicate ….

A great inventor who should not be forgotten either is called Ray Tomlinson. This computer engineer should be credited with the birth of digital marketing because he sent the first-ever email in 1971.

He creates a mailbox on two separate computers and has the idea to send a message from one computer to the other. Email was born and the possibilities will become infinite.

In the 90’s, Yahoo and Hotmail for example were born and developed and democratized the sending of emails. Impossible today to work or communicate without this indispensable tool!

Another important date:  On September 4, 1998 in Menlo Park, California, Google was born and will continue to develop powerful digital tools and will allow everyone, worldwide to access information on thousands of websites. In 2004, Google creates Gmail, an electronic messaging service, free for individuals, which will also become the most used in the world. E-mail marketing will then become a must for brands.

The trade is digitalized and more and more businesses do not hesitate to have digital stores. Amazon is still revolutionizing this sector by doing nothing else but selling on the internet.

Once these milestones are reached, digital marketing develops to become a must for all businesses today, large and small.

The digital revolution is underway! How far will it go, and is the best still to come? To be continued

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