The documentary “Secrets of the Viking Sword” has lots of terms and concepts related to marketing. They are not openly named or used but it is clear that the concepts existed in the Middle Ages even though people did not give names to them.
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For example, the concept of the product as the most important part of trade existed at that time. The film tells about a unique Viking sword, which was a very expensive and even valuable product. In fact, product is a very old concept as people started exchanging and then selling products in ancient times. Hence, each thing produced could be regarded as a product.
Every warrior who could ‘afford’ it tried to buy or get the sword for his battles. Here comes another concept (price). It does not say how much exactly such a sword cost but it is clear that the price was quite high as not everybody could afford it. It is also clear that the price depended on the quality of the product.
Hence, another concept that can be found in the film is the quality of the product. The filmmakers often use such words as properties and characteristics. However, it is clear that they are talking about quality of the product. Of course, just like these days, people wanted to pay for high-quality products. Viking swords were such high-quality products. Hence, there were many ‘customer’ or, in other words, warriors. Of course, the sellers (who were often craftsmen) also used some mousetraps. They were talking about the quality, materials used, characteristics and so on.
Sometimes craftsmen could add some secret ingredients to add magical power to the sword. For example, some could add bones of a bear and people believed that it could make the sword magical. Nowadays, marketing managers do not try to make people believe that the product is magical but they try to add certain value to the product. Interestingly, the filmmakers add that in the period of rock and wood, a steel weapon was something really unique and everybody wanted to possess it.
It is possible to note that such concept as uniqueness is also mentioned in the film. At present, people are ready to pay more for a unique product. For example, people are ready to pay more for a 3D television rather than simple TV sets as people are accustomed to ordinary TV and 3D technology is still quite unique and desirable.
Apart from these concepts, the film also includes such concept as branding. The most valued sword had a name. The best swords had the name Ulfberht on them. The swords with this sign were more expensive as it was believed that those were the best weapons of the epoch. Researchers do not know anything about the origins of this name. It could be a name of the craftsman (the creator of some of these swords or the first sword of that kind).
It could also be just a name given to the product just like modern people give names to their products or companies. For example, Ulfberht sword could be seen as certain high-quality brand among swords just like Jaguar cars are seen as high-quality products in the market of cars in the modern world. This could also be a name of a person or a group of people who sold those swords. However, it is clear that the name meant a lot to people who lived between 8th and 11th centuries.
One of facts that proves this is existence of fake Ulfberht swords. This is when another marketing concept appears in the film. The concept of a genuine product is highly important in the modern business world. There are numerous fake brands and products or replicas. Clearly, they cannot cost as much as the genuine product. They are often of poor quality. Thus, Ulfberht spelled like +ULFBERH+T was genuine and it was highly valued. It was a high-quality product.
Researchers found quite a few swords with such a name on them. There were also the swords with the following name: +ULFBERHT+. The difference is only in the place of the second cross but it was a big deal as the swords with that name were not as good as the genuine ones.
In other words, +ULFBERHT+ sword was a fake product. Interestingly, the same technique (misspelling) is still used in the modern business world. Thus, consumers often pay no attention to details and buy fake products instead of genuine ones. It is clear now that the trick is very old and was used in the Middle Ages.
Furthermore, the film also includes another concept. In fact, this is a very important concept for trade. This is negotiation. Researchers think that Vikings traded with people in the Middle East and bought the material (steel) from that part of the world. Vikings used the Volga trade route and went to that part of the world with fur or some other products and brought home high-quality steel with them. This can be compared to the modern international marketing.
Thus, Vikings who lived in northern lands somehow knew what products were valued in the east and south. They also knew that material they needed could be bought there. They were ready to trade and travel long distances for that. Of course, they had to have negotiations with many traders. They had to make their partners pay more for their products. They also wanted to pay less for products they needed. Importantly, this was an international trade and it is really stunning that people could do that without technology modern business people use.
The film also includes a very important marketing concept and it is even pronounced. Researchers note that some Roman Catholic priests were large producers and dealers of arms at that period. It is clear that even in the Middle Ages, there were producers of goods and dealers who did not manufacture but sold those products.
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There is also a theory that the cross (two crosses, to be more precise) which is a part of the name can be a sign of priests’ involvement. Thus, priests as dealers could put the name (which could have some meaning) on the sword to show that it was the product they sold.
To sum up, the film tells about the history of the Viking sword. However, it also includes many concepts related to marketing. It is interesting to find and analyze these concepts. Thus, such concepts as product, consumer, price, dealer, branding, negotiation, genuine and fake products can be found in the film. It is possible to conclude that even in those times, there were marketing concepts, laws and tricks that are still used in the modern world.