History of Acquisition Marketing: Elizabethan England


While most people assume that acquisition marketing is a fairly ‘modern’ process or technique,  we’ve uncovered some evidence from Elizabethan England on it’s use.  Granted, acquisition marketing in this era largely related to acquisition of land and the spoils of colonialization, versus finding untapped new customers.

Yet we were drawn to the story of Sir Francis Drake, famed English swashbuckler, slave driver, politician, and oft times cad, courtesy of Hot Rum Cow magazine.  In 1587, at the peak of English v. Spanish hostilities, Drake preemptively struck at Philip II’s armada in Cadiz.  After the usual burning of the fleet, Drake also added insult to injury by purloining over 1.4m liters of sherry and bringing it back to England.  Sort of like beating the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau, and then boarding the plane with tons of bratwurst as the spoils of NFL trench warfare.  In any case, what resulted in England was not only a proverbial middle finger at the King of Spain but also a profitable sideline for Drake which resulted in sherry being consumed by all levels of English society.  It established sherry on the English repertoire of alcoholic beverages, expanding to its inclusion in trifles and other culinary staples of the British.

And the result from Spain’s perspective?  The UK is still the number one export market for sherry.  Sampling (via plundering) has clearly paid longer term dividends for the Spanish economy.

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