Marketing for a Flat World

Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author made a strong case for the democratization of the global marketplace in his 2005 book, The World is Flat. Friedman named ten factors that had contributed to the leveling of the world’s economic playing field. One of the most important noted by Friedman was the advent of the Internet and its unprecedented opportunities for connection. In many ways, modern-day marketing is a microcosm of Friedman’s “flat world” where a similar “leveling” of has occurred.

At one time (not so long ago), traditional media outlets, such as print publications and radio/TV stations received the lion’s share of all marketing dollars. They were the only game in town able to reach large swaths of potential consumers and, therefore, enjoyed a special place in the marketing hierarchy. Ad space was limited in each of these traditional marketing channels and in turn, the cost of ad space (or time) was pricey. So pricey, in fact, that it often discouraged or prevented smaller companies from participating. But, as we know, this is no longer the case.

Compare our current media “ecosystem” to 20, or even 10 years ago, and it becomes clear that as the Internet has grown, so have less expensive, more diverse channels for marketing distribution, opening up the opportunities for smaller outfits to compete with larger companies. All these new Internet-enabled marketing options that have led to the democratization of marketing can be called fragmented new age marketing.

According to SMstudy’s Digital Marketing, fragmented new age marketing supports new, small brands with much smaller budgets and it also allows for more direct targeted marketing.

The book explains that “while mass media marketing is less targeted and primarily focused on affecting emotional attitudes about the brand, new-age marketing is data-driven and focused on driving specific calls to action.”

Fragmented new age marketing allows for traditional avenues, but also includes newer channels such as websites, mobile and social media and within those categories there are numerous economical marketing options. Regardless of company size or limited budgets, there’s some form of new-age marketing that is within reach. And most likely, there’s numerous avenues available even if the budget is nearly $0. For example, online ad networks such as Google, Yahoo! Search and Microsoft AdCenter often offer promo codes that reducing their costs to as low as $25.

In addition, there are a variety of ways to approach marketing in the digital age that are not only free, but break through the limitations of traditional media and allows for greater public engagement. Many relying on creativity and a more open, responsive and organic approach such as connecting with topic bloggers or forging relationships with experts.

As author David Albert notes, “There are many ways to position yourself as an expert: guest blogging, participating on Q&A sites like,, LinkedIn Group Discussions, etc.”

Fragmented new age marketing recognizes that today’s marketing is, in a sense, open source, offering the ability to grow and build on marketing ideas and opportunities made possible through technology. And now with the demise of the high cost of doing business, the only limitations are the limits of the creative collective. A more democratic global “marketing-place” is here!


“Top 10 Tactics To Marketing Your Startup Launch With $0”, David Albert, Junw 2, 2014

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First History, Thomas Friedman. 2005

SMstudy Guide ®, Digital Marketing, Pg. 8


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