An Introduction to Context Marketing
Over the past decade, marketing has evolved in a way that has often left more traditional marketeers behind. With the balance between offline and online blurring, if you don’t class yourself as digital then there are going to be many aspects of a marketing campaign that you are missing.
But what does that mean in terms of ‘Context Marketing’? Still relatively unknown, Context Marketing blends many of the elements often specialised in a silo and brings them together. Possibly the most important part is bringing the customer experience to the forefront of all of your marketing efforts. When you approach digital marketing methodologies such as RACE and SOSTAC (both of which are extremely important models to adopt as you develop campaigns), audience development and understanding your customers needs are merely a part of your planning strategy – Context Marketing makes it everything.
Often described as putting the right message in front of the right customer at the right time, Context Marketing is developing a really clear message and a deep understanding of who you want to market to, who your customers really are, and ultimately what do they want from your company. This is forcing marketing and marketeers to do a full 360 degree turn around in how they approach marketing.
Companies so often still know what they want from their customers, but taking the time to understand your customers needs still is so often lip service – recognised as something to do but not a fundamental point that marketeers, directors, boards or shareholders/trustees acknowledge in reality. The true success of a company will always be down to recognising that, if what you want from your customer is light years away from what they want from you, and you don’t address it, then ultimately your company will be a success.
Let’s break it down.
You are a retailer and the ultimate business goal is to drive profit, increase share value and to demonstrate value of money to your shareholders. How are you going to break through the noise of other retailers who potentially have a stronger brand and a longer history than you? You need to ask yourself, what do my customers really want from me? Do they want to be able to easily find you, have a good shopping experience, great customer service, and for you to understand their needs? How often have you even asked them?
As a customer, how often are you going to buy (and how much are you going to spend!) are you on a Gortex Winter Coat vs a pair of flip flops? The shopping needs are different. Does that mean the experience needs to be the same for both purchases? Are you focussed on the immediate quick win of purchase 1 vs looking towards what that first purchase means for purchase 2,3, 4 and 5? Context Marketing is all about knowing that if you get the experience right for one, regardless of how much that first purchase costs you to get, then your customers are going to come back to you for all their other small, and big, purchases.
For Context Marketing, retention is the goal.
Where do People, Processes and Technology fit into it all?
Marketing methodologies always have traditionally only been approached in terms of campaigns. The reality is that putting the right processes in place, the right team with the right responsibilities and the right technology together is just as important as the end product of the campaign that the customer, and the C Suite, see. Context Marketing really is giving your campaign all the background, and the support, it needs to reach the maximum effectiveness.
Don’t forget how important it is to get a good understanding of these other element in order to develop, and report, on how your audience has resonated with what you have delivered.
Does that mean that I have to be an IT expert to be an effective marketer now?
No, but I am not going to lie to you, having an understanding of how your platforms work and talk to each other are going to help you hugely in the long run. If you aren’t working towards getting a single customer view, then you will continue to silo your marketing efforts and have customer information in different systems and platforms that don’t tie together. How do you get more context about a person? Pull information together to build a bigger picture.
And if you aren’t very technical, our best advice is to become best friends with IT. Still not getting anywhere? Then we can help you – get in touch and we can talk it through.
Senior Leadership Buy In
How do I get my C Suite to understand we need to spend money, and market, in a different way if we change our approach to using a Context Marketing methodology? Ah…the million dollar question.
Changing attitudes of those who probably don’t put as much value on marketing as they should is always going to be a challenge. In our experience, evidence, and more importantly data, is everything. Our advice is to ask the following questions and answer them honestly:
- Do you really know who your customers are? Work on getting to know them. What does your CRM tell you about them? Nothing? Then you need to make some improvement to your platform. What does your Google Analytics (or other tracking platforms) tell you about the on page experience, journey and conversion rates? If people are bouncing off, then you need to ask yourself why.
- How are your customers engaging with you at the top of the funnel? Chatting on one social channel more than another? Ask yourself why and dive into the data. Are they converting on the web pages that you expect them to? No? Why not?
- Where are you wasting your marketing spend? And be honest with yourself. Where is your marketing being the most effective? Can you see direct ROI from what you are doing? If not, why not? Are you doing the activity because you want to or because your customers want it? Any Finance Director will want to cut marketing spend where they can, but you will be able to avoid this if you can demonstrate value for money by putting the right activity in front of the right people. And don’t forget to walk your CFO through your findings. And put it in a spreadsheet – they love that.
- What are you doing to retain your customers? How often are you talking to them after they have registered their interest in you or made a purchase? How much are you monitoring what your customers do once you have their money? This is where Context meets Content marketing.
Ultimately, Context Marketing is simple. Use your data and put your customer first.