What Can Ancient Romans Teach Us About Online Marketing?

Add Your Comments

I’m back from Italy. It was a wonderful trip: lots of fun and lots of memories. Of course, me being a hopeless workaholic, I couldn’t stop thinking about work (don’t tell my girlfriend that, she will kill me). The title of this posts says it all :)

So what can the ancient Romans teach us about marketing online? A few things actually. One of the most well-known symbols of ancient Rome is, of course, the Colosseum. Believe it or not, the Colosseum was actually a marketing tool, not much different from your company’s website. What were the Romans trying to market? Power, influence, nationalism, government’s points of view (propaganda), just to name a few. So what can we learn from ancient Rome’s marketing campaigns?

Invest in good infrastructure early on. The Colosseum was built to hold 50,000 spectators, something that most modern stadiums can’t brag about. Practically every company I’ve worked for (including this one) did not realize how quickly they will grow. If you are trying to figure out which blogging platform to use for your new blog, always pick the bigger one. You might not need categories (or any other feature) right now but you won’t believe how quickly you will be forced to add more and more features. We have started Search Marketing Standard blog using blogger.com and that was the biggest mistake we’ve made.

Always take into account future growth. How quickly will you be able to add new pages or translate your website into additional languages? Of course, it is impossible to prepare for everything but you have to be flexible enough to be able to incorporate new trends quickly and efficiently.

Website is the face of your business so make it look good. Whether you are a brick-and-mortar business or are offering a purely virtual services, your website is the face of your business. Romans did not put up a tent every time they had gladiator games. The Colosseum was built to reflect the greatness of Rome, to amaze any visitor and communicate something about the status of the people who built it. Your website is no different. There is nothing wrong with trying to appear bigger and more professional.

Give something away to achieve a larger objective. Two thousand years ago, Romans knew they had to offer freebies in order for people to come to the Colosseum. That’s why the games were free and free bread was distributed to the “poor rows”. This lesson is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. Internet marketers have come a long way since the birth of this market. Now, every self-respecting expert feels it is his/her duty to share some of their knowledge for free (blogs, forums, articles, etc). Companies are generating leads by offering free ebooks. Yet there are still those marketers that seem to ignore this simple fact. They claim that the profit margins are too small or that there is no time for them to blog. In reality, a freebie doesn’t have to be a physical product or take up lots of your time. It can simply be that extra value that you offer to your customers, be it a mortgage calculator, or a backlinks checker.

Although politics and online marketing don’t mix, history and web marketing just might.

About the Author

Andrey Milyan was the first editor-in-chief of Search Marketing Standard, the leading print publication covering the search marketing industry. He has been following and reporting on industry developments for over 10 years. Andrey now works in the paid search sector of a prominent search marketing agency.

Add Your Comments

  • (will not be published)