Contextual marketing is a personalized and relevant type of marketing that enhances the customer’s experience. This is executed using a customer’s current situation as a way to inform a messaging and contact strategy.
Essentially, it’s all about getting the right content, to the right audience, at the right time, which is a significant shift from old-school marketing tactics.
After building buyer personas and mapping out buyer’s journeys, contextual marketers use data to find ways to influence how customers engage with their brand.
Since a cross-channel strategy is the key to success, marketers may incorporate SEO keywords, geo-targeting and other digital marketing tactics. They may choose Snapchat over Twitter or Facebook over LinkedIn or maybe all channels at once.
How Contextual Marketing Operates
Much of today’s marketing fails, because it doesn’t reach the right customers at the right time. In other words, it lacks the context needed to catch the attention of a target audience. The end result is: another email with a low click-through rate, another unread blog post or another Facebook post unshared.
As nearly every brand is promoting on social media or other outlets, it’s easy to get lost amidst the noise. Contextual marketing breaks through this barrier by using timeliness and creativity to raise brand awareness.
A Quick Case Study
M&M’s, a leading candy brand in the United States, is in the midst of an interesting marketing experiment. After learning millennials have slowed in their consumption of chocolate candies, the brand launched an online promotion to raise the interest level of this important demographic.
Through posts on social media, the brand is urging customers to vote for a new Peanut M&M flavor by selecting one of these three options: Chili Nut, Honey Nut and Coffee Nut.
The poll is also geared towards a younger demographic, which likes to share opinions online. M&M’s Facebook and Twitter accounts now feature large graphics asking fans to vote.
“It’s just a fun thing to do and a good way to get consumers to interact with your brand in fun, new ways and get them engaged,” Tim Quinn, vice-president of trade relations at Mars Chocolate North America said in a statement.
Building Context in Your Marketing
Contextual marketers are experts in learning audiences’ needs, lifestyle and motivations. They engage potential customers to influence their buying behavior. Contextual marketers create something more than the ordinary. They create experiences.
Their goal is to:
- Focus on interactions and engagement.
- Recognize their customers.
- Educate their target audience.
- Align goals with customer interest.
- Find the right moments to connect.
How it can benefit your Business
Today, customers are bombarded with more marketing and advertising messages than ever before. And, what’s worse is that most customers can’t relate to the messages they are receiving on a daily basis.
As a result, they are paying attention to a smaller percentage of them. Of course, this doesn’t mean marketers can’t get through to their target audience. It just means they must work harder and perhaps take a slightly different route.
Rather than producing educational content in bulk for a large group of people, contextual marketing uses context to deliver personalized and relevant messaging to smaller, segmented target audiences.
With the onslaught of information in the Internet age, the contextual marketing approach is one of the most effective ways to move potential customers further down the buyer’s journey.