Are you still attached to the classic, impersonalized, marketing approach targeted at demographic segments? It is time to change! Your customers are no longer looking for long, detailed information about products, or salesy stuff. We see approx. 5000 messages a day – that’s a fact – and if we don’t value the information, sooner or later, we delete them. The data marketing company AIMIA, revealed in their report about consumer’s loyalty, that almost 60% of customers take some kind of action to withdraw themselves from organizations’ social media platforms, newsletter or any other sort of interaction, just because they don’t like their brand communication strategy. Consumers expect helpful information – available anytime, anyplace, with minimal effort. Traditional marketing communication with impersonal messages is a simple recipe for failure.
When brands rely on a disconnected set of marketing tools, they only deliver an empty experience to random strangers, not to a well profiled and carefully selected audience.
Most of us have heard about content marketing and its role in modern communication planning. Another term which is also relevant to us now, is context marketing – which goes the extra mile in understanding your target audience.
Context marketing is a dialog with your customers and prospects. Instead of brand monologue, you actually try to find out what your audience is expecting from you, and then encourage them to take an active part in product changes or co-creation.
The main focus is on building a relationship with a contact, to provide personalized and relevant content, targeted at their needs. Being a customer centred approach that relies very much on emotions; it is a step forward in delivering the main concept of a marketing oriented strategy – delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time.
Why is it important?
Because…. Your brand might not be as popular as it used to be, customers are disappearing, fans on Facebook and your content are being ignored. Have you checked your recent engagement rate? Is it lower than it used to be? It means you have to recraft your communication strategy, paying attention to finding out what your audience really needs. Perhaps you have just posted too many messages; your content is too pushy, boring, there are ads instead of engaging content? Contextual Marketing could be the best solution.
How to apply the concept of Context Marketing in practise?
You probably produce the right content for your brand already, but do you focus on nuances, desires, and the emotions of your buyer personas? Do they talk to you? What kind of feedback do they give on your products or services?
The Right Message
At All 4 Comms, we pay particular attention on knowing our audience. As an ethnic Polish agency, we constantly interact with audiences to get to the core of their emotions, needs and wants. What could be more engaging than inviting your audience to cook together when you are launching a localized Facebook fan page for a leading Polish cold meat company?
On Morliny UK, we invite consumers to take an active part in creating content and engaging them in competitions. We ask, we listen, and implement their suggestions in our content strategy. We engage customers in creating short messages, competitions, choosing their favourite dish, we post recipes based on their preferences, etc.
The Right Customer
The most important thing in context marketing is knowing your customers and their values. There is no strategy that fits all. It is like tailoring a well fitted suit – firstly we need to know their size, then taste, and ultimately, what they expect to achieve from using this fine piece of garment.
Diving deeper into a customer’s perception is the key to well-crafted communication. Coca-Cola is a good example of a company that listens to its audience. They don’t produce drinks for everybody, but they cater for different types of personalities, they engage their audience, making the interaction with the brand more fun. One of their concepts was particularly well received. Since 2013, we have been able to personalize our Coca–Cola bottle, or at least choose from a collection of the most popular names. It has been a massive hit and, in 2014 alone, resulted in over 998 million impressions on Twitter and 235,000 tweets from 111,000 fans with #ShareaCoke hashtag. The campaign itself won seven awards at the 2012 Cannes Lions International Festival, and was implemented in over 70 countries.
The Right Time
This is probably the most difficult to determine. It is almost impossible to message customers at the right time unless we have a set of big data at hand. Facebook or Google statistics are usually the best basic tools for establishing our audience’s activity times and rate of engagement.
There are a few rules indicating general activity on certain social platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. But is your audience following the general pattern? What if your audience lives all over the world? The key is to react in real time and seek possibilities to engage, to look for given moments, not scheduling posts well in advance. If you build your relationship over time, you usually know exactly what is important for them at any given moment. Is it a national election, a national event or a concert?
Marketing is one of the most important business disciplines for a brand, and has been changing dynamically over the past 10 years. Contextual marketing is the most accurate, customer centred strategy that has been proved to be effective and revolutionary. It brings us to a new level of understanding of our audiences and changes how we interact with them, adding a whole new dimension to a brand – consumer relationship.
Margaret A. Szwed