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Return to the Roaring 20s:What to do now in terms of marketing if things take off? Again…

“It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald

One hundred years ago, as the great “Spanish Influenza” came to an end, the world economy began to take off. Here in America, people were so overcome with the flu’s 600,000+ death toll, and the lingering impacts of World War One, that everyone just wanted to get back to living. And the Golden Age began…



But the original Roaring 20s were an age of contradictions too. Prosperity and society advancement was matched by unrest and violence. The same decade that bore witness to new ideas and modernism also saw the rise of violent racism, Prohibition, anti-migration policies, nationalism and trade and political extremism. America had suffered, and came to a crossroads of innovation and isolation. Many prospered, but many did not. It mirrors so many of the opportunities and threats we face today.

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was what kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald

To Fitzgerald’s point, this is not the time to go back to 2019. Along with traditional ways of selling. The growth ahead, thanks to new tax laws, may be for some, but not for all. Even back in the 1920s more than 60% of Americans lived below the poverty line. And, today in our-shaped recovery we see some prosper, as many struggle. But we can learn from that era, and find new ways to market into a boom.

We can take many lessons from 100 years ago – as new tech changed the way people lived: Cars became affordable, movies and radio along with electricity and phonographs changed our free time too. Travel boomed, as did the stock market.

Behind this was a new idea: mass production that lowered prices on most consumer goods – so things were more affordable to more people. Sleek transcontinental railroad lines and new trucks fed a national market.

And, this was the dawn of modern marketing – as magazines, newspapers, as well as radio and films boomed. Smart ads built brand loyalty – and fortunes were made. From Jell-O to Lucky Strikes – the great American brand was born.

For the first time, marketers could reach millions of consumers – and smart ad and PR leaders could persuade consumers to buy all types of new and cool products. Consumers had more power, as they had more choices, but fashion and endorsements became crucial, too.

Today, we know that the new medium is digital, not printed. Where once Life Magazine ruled, today we have new geo-fencing - a virtual perimeter for a real-world area. A geo-fence can be a predefined set of boundaries that define where a consumer is and what they do. In this geo-marketing world, geotargeting delivers different content to customers based on their geo-location and Google profile. In paid search campaigns, geo-targeting is used to reach local prospects. You only pay for the people you want, not the ones you don’t.

This is the new mass media, and it is highly targeted, and very effective. We live in a noisy world – ads everywhere, and our phone is never too far off. We can’t easily avoid ideas, real and fake knowledge, and opinions tossed at us constantly through our phones, social media, and all based on who we are and where we live. We barely have time to sit and breathe in the bold new world of smiles and seeing people again. Pandemics have taught us to make tough decisions, and now we are ready to roll. We want a break, but everywhere we turn, lots of noise follows.


So, as a new golden era emerges, invest in a powerful website, strong blog, smart digital marketing – but remember that not everyone is on the path to riches, and a social responsibility program is a good idea.

A website is the new Main Street store. SEO is key to get folks in the door – and a magazine like blog will win you sales and good will. And care about something – share your values – and stand behind the causes that matter to you and your customers. Don’t be like Jay Gatsby – all he cared about was Daisy, and that did not end well. And get ready for the new era!