My friend David Brock nearly busted his gut laughing when I said, “Heck we were doing content marketing thirty years ago. It was called print and direct mail.” He wasn’t laughing at me, he was laughing with me, because things have not changed as much as some people would have us believe. Then David said, “You need to write this post.”

In 1982, we had a sales and marketing automation system running on a Digital minicomputer. It sat in an air conditioned clean room. The hard drives were platters the size of big vinyl records that held a whopping 50MBs. This was not archaic; it was cutting edge, state of the art technology.

Everyone in our database was there because they wanted to be there. We only sent what the customer wanted. If they were looking for green boots, they received content related to green boots; not socks or blue sneakers. And when they no longer wanted our propaganda, we stopped sending it.

Today, it’s called Permission Marketing.

Our customers loved it. They received high quality, current information about products and the industry free of charge. Many of our customers created libraries of loose-leaf binders filled with our marketing collateral and white papers that conveniently displayed our logo, name, and contact information. Just like a web page!

Today, it’s called Content Marketing.

For lead generation, lead nurturing, feedback, and database updating, our staff of social PR experts used the state-of-the-art technology of the day – telephones. They called our contacts every 90 days, chatted politely, caught up on news, verified prime contact information, and reviewed the type of content they were receiving. It was very social and excellent marketing.

Today, it’s called Social Marketing.

Networking took place at trade shows, association meetings, elevators, golf courses, squash courts, bridge clubs, watering holes, and any venue where business people congregated. It was as social as social gets.

Today, it’s called Social Networking.

With the help of the content marketing, social marketing, and social networking mediums of the day, we became trusted experts and advisors long before our competition entered the hunt. We sold manufacturing equipment, but our product was information and relationships.

I make no claim to the development of content marketing, many others used the same techniques, and still more long before us. Sears was a content marketer in the 1800s. I’m sure a merchant or two took advantage of Gutenberg’s printing press during the renaissance, and content marketing’s roots may be in cave paintings. Social Marketing and Social Networking were practiced in the most rudimentary forms in the first marketplaces.

When we made complex sales by telephone in 1982, our competition called sacrilegious. Now it’s archaic. Today, the majority of marketing and networking occurs on the internet. Some people thought it blasphemous; now everyone is climbing aboard.

Some things change. Mediums have changed and they will continue to change. In the not too distant future, FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, the iPhone, and the internet, will lose popularity or go the way of the dodo.

Some things never change. As sales and marketing evolve, two things will remain the same; people and their behavior. Basic human behavior remains a constant. That is why networking was, and always will be social. Because if it ain’t social then it truly ain’t networking.

As we adopt new technologies, they should be implemented as support for the core fundamentals that make sales and marketing successful.

Now that I’ve stirred the pot, I look forward to your reactions, responses, and rebukes.