The History of Marketing – From Shekels to Sales Funnels

Clickfunnels™ History of Marketing: From Shekels to Sales Funnels

Clickfunnels™ History of Marketing: I get asked all the time when Sales Funnels were invented and many people believe they were invented by me! As much as I wish I could take credit for inventing sales funnels, in today’s video I am going to give you a history of marketing. I want you to better understand how marketing works, so YOU can make more money online!

Sales funnels were not a recent invention. In fact, they are over a century old (they predate any form of television or radio). The simple principles of the original sales funnel are things we still use today. In fact, the most successful funnels I’ve seen look more like the first funnel invented at the turn of the 20th century. It’s important to understand where we come from, so we can see how to move forward. I guarantee this lesson will help you with your marketing.


Clickfunnels™ History of Marketing: The Beginning

Hey, my name is Russell Brunson, and I’m so excited for you to watch the evolution of marketing. I’m gonna talk to you guys about everything from the beginning of time with bartering all the way to sales funnels today, and I want you to watch this video because you’re gonna understand the evolution of how things have come and when we understand where they came from, it makes it easier for you to be successful with your funnels in the future. So we’re gonna go back to the very, very beginning of time.

Back to prehistoric bartering time. Back then the way that people traded stuff is they bartered. This dude’s got a goat, she’s got some fish, and he’s like I really want to eat fish tonight, I want some sushi, and she’s like sweet, I need some goat milk. Is that really a thing? And so they traded it straight across, and it was bartering, and bartering was awesome except for the fact that you’re like, well, my goat’s really cool, I need 400 fish to like, and it just got kind of complicated but that’s where it all began was prehistoric bartering. Okay, the next phase, about 5000 BC is when the very first time they started finding actual, like the archeologists had found coins. At least metal objects they believed were coins, right, and so this is when instead of just bartering, you could actually create value and put value inside of a coin, and then you can say hey, I want this goat. Cool,

I’m gonna give you 10 coins, and now you could, now money started becoming a thing and it made bartering so much easier ’cause it wasn’t like I don’t need 400 fish, dude. After that, in the early 1700’s and 1800’s, this is where the snake oil salesman began. This is where salesmen started using a sales pitch where instead of just bartering, they would go together and they’d get a whole bunch of people in the crowd to come around, and then they would then present something to them, right, like the farmer’s market model, right? Like here I am, get a bunch of people, and then I can sell instead of selling one-on-one now I sell five people at a time or 10 people at a time or 100 people at a time. So traveling snake oil salesmen went out there and started making some money by doing a performance, getting the crow all excited.

Fast forward now to the 1800’s This is where the gold rush started happening, and what was interesting in the gold rush is that the people who made the most money during the gold rush were not the people panning for gold, it was the people who were selling the shovels. One of my favorite stories about this, there’s a guy named Sam Brannan. It was San Francisco, I believe in San Francisco during the gold rush, and Sam was really, really smart. He saw these things, all these people coming to California to go pan for gold and make a bunch of money, and he was like wait a minute. Instead of doing that, what if I sell the tools, the picks, and the shovels, and so he went around all of San Francisco, bought all the picks and the shovels and the tools, brought them to his own shop, and then he got a little bit of gold and he started running through the streets in San Francisco saying, there’s gold in the American River, there’s gold in the American River, and

Clickfunnels™ History of Marketing: selling at the top

people started freaking out. They’re like oh, we need to find some gold, and then they’re like we need shovels, and he’s like oh, I’m selling shovels over here, and Sam Brannan became the very first millionaire in California history. Now we’re gonna fast forward to 1830’s. We have P.T. Barnum who is my man. If you guys have seen the Greatest Showman, it’s a story about his life. He’s written so many amazing books. P.T. Barnum was one of the very first people to really start doing a lot of advertising and things like that. He didn’t just like have a show, he was like putting out leaflets and fliers and pamphlets is that he may have been one of the very first people ever to send out unsolicited mail, A.K.A. spam.

He would spam people’s mailboxes. Next, 1886 to 1922, this is where selling at the top started. This is John H. Patterson was the president of National Cash Register, and instead of him going and selling to a whole bunch of people, he would go find an organization and he would sell the person at the top a goat and convince them that everybody below them needed goats. So he’d just make one sale to the influencer, and then the influencer then starts selling everybody else in their company and their team, whatever that might be. Then we fast forward now to 1898. This was the invention of the very first funnel. So 1898, this was way before I was born in case anyone’s wondering. Elias St. Elmo Lewis, he ran an ad agency, and he came up with this first concept of there were four stages of awareness, and if you look at

this it’s A-I-D-A, and this is something we still use today in direct response marketing, but it was the very first funnel. Say okay, at the top of the funnel you’ve gotta give someone awareness that you even exist. Then you have to create an interest, like oh, I’m interested in that. Then you create desire, like oh my gosh, I need that thing, and then you get someone to take the action, okay? A-I-D-A, and this is still a principle today we think about, we talk about all the time. In fact, if your marketing is struggling, it’s probably ’cause you’re going straight for the action. You’re like buy my crap, buy my crap. So even today, this principle is extremely powerful, and that came up in 1898 which is pretty cool. All right, in the 1920’s we started taking marketing and business and promotion to the airwaves. In 1920’s, radio burst on the scene, Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People which is an amazing book by the way that taught the importance of relationships and people, and in the 40’s, traveling salespeople were seen going door-to-door selling stuff that way as well. In the 1940’s and 50’s, this is where video killed the radio star. So when TV came out, and when you read the Traffic Secrets book I actually have a whole case study about this, but Bulova watch was

Clickfunnels™ History of Marketing: SPIN Selling

the very first TV commercial ever. TV’s were getting put out all over the place, and then during, it was during one of the World Series games Bulova watch came on and it was a 10 second ad that cost $0.09 and it was a little picture of the watch and it said the world runs on Bulova. In fact, if you Google, if you go to YouTube and search Bulova ad you can actually see the original ad. It was like the worst ad ever, but it was the first ad that like interrupted people while they were watching a sporting event, interrupted them, and created desire for a thing which was the beginning of all interruption-based marketing which is what made Zuckerberg famous and all of us rich. 1960’s, this is the rapid evolution. This is where telemarketing started coming out, 1800 numbers, multilevel marketing, people started using all sorts of different selling techniques.

There’s a really good book called SPIN Selling that came out where instead of just going and like trying to sell stuff, SPIN Selling got people thinking differently like hey, instead of me selling something, I need to look at myself as a consultant, and it started shifting the way that they sold things to create desire and to become a consultant and it became just a better way to sell. 1990’s, this is where the Internet started coming about. We started surfing the web. The power of the Internet made it where instead of just the big brands like the Procter and Gamble and people who could spend $1,000,000 on an ad on TV, the Internet gave the ability where people like us could spend a little bit of money and get exposure and eyeballs and be able to like target directly the kind of people we’re looking for. 2000’s, this is where it became easier and easier. This is where, you know, tools started coming out. CRM’s, marketing systems, email autoresponders,

Clickfunnels™ History of Marketing: The Evolution of Marketing

things like that that made this whole marketing game even better, and then in 2010 this is where funnels started becoming a thing. Companies like HubSpot popped out, other ones where they started building tools, they started taking people through processes, and then 2014, this is where influencers started popping up all over the place where they could now affect product sales. It wasn’t just you buying ads from Zuckerberg, it was like you buy ads from people all directly, all sorts of people, and 2015 to 2019, this is where we helped create the future. Dotcom Secrets, which was my very first book ever, came out. We talked about funnels, ClickFunnels™ came out about the exact same time as well. People started building funnels online, and now we are five years into this whole mission, and we are at, we passed 100,000 active members last week which is insane. So we’re at 100,000 entrepreneurs using this, and it’s growing.

We’ve sold, what’s the stat, 4.1, $4,200,000,000 have been processed through ClickFunnels™ that we can track? It is insane, and that is the history of funnels in a nutshell. If you want to get a copy of the book I talked about, the Dotcom Secrets book, where we started talking about sales funnels and how they work, you can get a free copy, go to On top of that, make sure if you want to get more cool videos like this, click on the subscribe button. Make sure you’re subscribed, turn on your notifications. That way you’ll get a bell every single time a new video comes out. Thank you so much for subscribing. I would love to hear your thoughts down below. Let me know what you think about the evolution of marketing. What are things we should have added? What are things that I should add in the future in other videos? Let me know, and with that said, thank you so much, and go get your free copy of the Dotcom Secrets book,


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