Examines whether business really is undergoing a revolution or just the latest in a series of incremental changes with the universal and seemingly exponential spread of Internet technology. While it is tempting to regard the Internet as a unique challenge through its dual role as a driver of change and provider of tools for change, the article begins by drawing on a number of historical precedents in order to question some of the “hype” surrounding current Internet developments. By analysing relevant literature and primary data from a number of case studies in the UK and the USA, the particular challenges facing marketing are then examined to establish whether there are any parallels in marketing history from which lessons for the future may be learned. From our examples it is concluded that many “new” developments have in fact been practised for centuries and traditional processes are an important constituent of “evolutionary” rather than “revolutionary” innovation.
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