• Helen Pritchett

Technology Marketing - What a Difference 20 Years Makes!

20 years ago, in 1998, two awesome things happened. Firstly, the iconic, brilliantly funny and super romantic film You’ve Got Mail was released. Secondly, Jon Pritchett’s dream of starting his own business became a reality and CPB UK Ltd was born.

What’s the connection? You may well ask, and it’s not exactly clear. However, bear with us, dig a little deeper and you’ll start to see why we’ve made this, rather abstract, Hollywood connection.

You’ve Got Mail is not only a tale of online dating and a story about how large retailers were destroying smaller independent stores with their economies of scale and smart, shiny premises. It’s not just a love story that has you in tears and laughter, almost simultaneously. It is also a fascinating reflection of a time when email was just beginning to burst into our lives. A time when to use email you had to be sitting down, dial up was the only way to connect (remember the funny little noise?!) and the words ‘gone viral’ meant something completely different!

Even as recently as 1998 most of us did not use email, we didn’t have home computers, we barely used mobile phones. For any Generation Y and Z-ers reading this, believe me, life was, to put it mildly, incredibly different! 20 years ago, the Internet was just a blip on our radar, now it is a dominant feature in all our lives. The Internet has changed how we communicate on a personal and business level.

The Internet and smart phones have magnified the importance of digital marketing and transformed our lives. We are all familiar with eMarketing, online advertising, web design, video, SEO and social media. Digital marketing is ubiquitous.

Returning to the question of the connection between the film and CPB. In truth, the connection is more about email than the online dating love story (that’s something that CPB has never been in to!). In 1998, when email and Internet usage was in its infancy, CPB was similarly embryonic. Starting out as a telemarketing agency, CPB delivered marketing campaigns using the best and most innovative techniques the marketing world had at its disposal at that time. Always looking to develop, improve and progress, CPB has always been an early adopter of all new marketing approaches and technologies. Consequently, as the world of marketing changed, so have CPB’s marketing offerings, products and services. We’ve morphed into quote a different agency in our endeavours to keep abreast of new marketing techniques and to provide our clients with what they need.

You’ve Got Mail highlights the infancy of email in 1998. CPB’s growth and development over the past 20 years highlights the intense, rapid change in technology which affects both our personal and business lives. It's hard to imagine a world without the Internet today, but in 1998, only 9% of UK households had Internet access, compared with 90% in 2017.

Interestingly, CPB and You’ve Got Mail aren’t the only ones celebrating an anniversary this year. 1998 was also the year Google was born – how would we cope without being able to google things?!

The Internet has transformed virtually every aspect of our lives, from the way we communicate to how we consume news, shop, navigate, and entertain ourselves. The world is different. Email and eMarketing is different. CPB’s approach is different.

In this 20th anniversary year of You’ve Got Mail, I thought I’d reflect on the impact of this iconic movie. In so doing, I found a great article written 2 years ago by Smith House Design which points out some of the more ironic details of the film that, given the changes in technology, society, and business since 1998, make it look faintly ridiculous in today’s world. I’m not detracting from the brilliance of the film, but I’m sure some of the observations will make you chuckle!

And finally, if you’re interested in other changes the world has seen since 1998 have a look at this link – some of it may surprise you.