Last updated: Why context in marketing is worth (at least) 80 IQ points

Why context in marketing is worth (at least) 80 IQ points


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Context is worth 80 IQ points” these are not my words they belong to renown MIT professor and serial inventor, Alan Kay. His famous quote is particularly relevant for marketers today. As digital channels have evolved, they’ve opened up new possibilities for reaching customers and prospects.

As marketers, we already know who our customers and prospects are, where they live, and what they like, and now we can garner more transient contextual information.

Contextual marketing is the next step for marketers as we move from mass marketing to segmentation, to personalization, and now contextualization

We’ve all been on the receiving end of it. Many mainstream news websites run contextual advertising to match ads to the articles being viewed. Social media websites and blogs use keywords in members posts and comments to trigger contextual ads.

A recent survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by SAP, found that 73 percent of marketers say they routinely collect information about customer behavior.

So if we’ve been on the receiving end of contextual marketing and most of us are routinely collecting it, why aren’t we seeing more of it?

Turns out, most companies aren’t doing anything meaningful with it. The same survey found that only 37 percent use it for marketing purposes.

While the proportion of marketers making some use of contextual information is high, much of the data is just sitting there.

One of the main reasons is that inside many organizations, customer data is scattered across multiple systems.

This makes it hard to find, not to mention almost impossible to pull together or respond in real time with relevant marketing messages. The company knows the data has been collected, it just cant aggregate it or apply it very easily into one-to-one personalized and contextualized messages back to the customer.

With every search, website browsed, or email opened, your customers are telling you exactly what they want

They’re making your job incredibly easy by giving you signals of their intentions and interests so you can connect with them directly at the right time, through their nominated channel of choice and with the right set of messages. Why would you want to miss such a wide open window of opportunity?

One of the other reasons marketers aren’t fully leveraging contextual marketing is because their channels are too narrow. Most organizations are still relying on first-generation digital channels to collect contextual information (think company websites and email). Newer channels, such as social media and mobile apps, are overlooked or infrequently used.

But these newer channels have the potential to offer more fine-grained contextual insights. In other words, mobile apps can reveal precise locations or current activities of prospects, while social media channels can give clues to a shopper’s mood or reveal her wider social network.

If you’re not able to easily gather, harness, and monetize the contextual data that your prospects and customers are offering, you have a very big hole in your marketing strategy. I’d strongly urge you take a fresh look not just at what type of data your organization is collecting and from which channels but how its being collected and centralized, and whether or not you’re actually able to act on it.

Personalization: It’s not magic.
It’s method.
Find out who does it best HERE

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