Context Marketing: The Future of Marketing

We’ve all been told countless times how important it is to keep the audience in mind when developing our marketing strategies. But with the capabilities of our modern technology, there’s a lot more to it than that. Now, in addition to who we are targeting, we must also start thinking more about the context in which we target our desired consumers. In addition to “who”, context marketing takes other key details into account – like when, where, why and how (much like the book reports we did in elementary school).

Context marketing provides targeted ads based on real-time user information. Just like an overly-attached (ex-) girlfriend, context marketing looks at your recent web-browsing, Google searches, social media activity, GPS location, past behavior, purchase history and other similar data. It then uses this information to allow these well-targeted messages to reach the right person at the right time. It’s a little creepy, but very effective. The main idea behind this approach is that you can offer products and services to customers who are already interested or likely to be interested in them.

We see context marketing all the time– you may be comparing cars online one day, and then later an ad comes up for the model you were considering on the side of your Facebook news feed. What kind of sorcery is this? It’s context marketing.

In another example, Taco Bell recently teamed up with Waze to send coupons to drivers who were near one of their locations. The coupons only appeared to those who were stopped at red lights (so don’t worry, no one crashed into Taco Bell – at least not as a result of these coupons). Their efforts proved to be successful as many who were already tempted to stop for tacos found an extra little motivation to give in to their cravings.

How do you start implementing context marketing strategies? Boston Interactive breaks down the process into three stages:

  1. Build Personas: Job titles and demographics are a good start, but dig deeper and discover what characteristics, attributes, and interests of your target audience plays a part in their decision-making process. Find out what true emotions influence their decisions so you can better craft messages that will appeal to your prospects.
  2. Map Out Their Journey: Once you have a good understanding of your audience, you need to figure out how to provide them with the information they need throughout their shopping process. The Buyer’s Journey Framework can help you map out the touchpoints in which your company engages with the audience, regardless of what stage they may be in (Awareness, Interest, Consideration, and Decision).
  3. Uncover Data: Gather information from your website and third-party services to look at how individual consumers make their way through the decision-making process to purchase your products. Data such as past history on your website, engagement, location/device, and personal data such as demographics and trends can help you discover new opportunities to engage with consumers across their purchasing journeys rather than just target them. This can include choosing new SEO keywords, geo-location targeting (like Taco Bell and Waze), and creating dynamic calls-to-action that will cater to the needs of each individual that visits your website. The possibilities are endless!

Want to learn more about context marketing? Check out these links:
Context Marketing is the New Content Marketing: Are You Ready?
Context First: The First 3 Steps to Create Relevant Marketing Strategies
Context Marketing: The Only Way to Delight Demanding Digital Customers

How can you use context marketing in your business? Share in the comments!

Clarisa Ames-Jowers

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