Context vs Content: Who Is The Real King?

Content can only get you so far. In 2021 and beyond, context is what will strike a chord with customers.

We live in times of rapid changes. Both businesses and customers are adjusting to the new normal while coping with market disruptions.

As consumers become increasingly omnipresent and connect with companies via various mediums, businesses are urged to come to grips with the ever-increasing number of channels and different behaviours that come with them. 

Marketing has changed dramatically in recent years, particularly with the current pandemic. One survey found that in 2020, 70% of businesses changed their targeting/messaging approach, while 53% altered their content distribution/promotion strategy.

However, they all ask the same question:

What kind of content will lead to customer engagement and eventually conversion? 

In this article, we will explore why content alone is no longer king, and how a contextualised message is a better strategy for long-term company success.

Context — the key to resonance

We are being continuously immersed in some form of content consumption, during work and leisure hours of the day. As a result, we are becoming increasingly skilled in selecting what matters to us. If something doesn’t resonate right now, we quickly label it as – irrelevant noise. 

Personalisation, which is at the heart of contextual marketing, is evidently what the majority of today’s consumers demand. Based on one study, 66% of consumers want companies to identify and address their individual needs. Likewise, 97% of marketers claim that personalised marketing leads to improvements in business outcomes.

Therefore, focusing on sole content production hoping that something will resonate with your high-value customers is an expensive and low-yielding tactic. 

Yet, when marketers back their communications with insight into customers’ current circumstances, including their feelings, worries and beliefs, the result is a highly contextual, engaging and high-yielding marketing tactic. 

Puzzle pieces

Contextual messaging benefits everyone involved, for customers — it oozes a sense of care and understanding at the moment they need it, while for the company — it enhances customer loyalty, resulting in an improved bottom line.

How contextualisation works in practice

As a result of 2020 events, many companies recognise the delicate nature of changing circumstances and are keen to include contextual relevance in their marketing messaging. 

If you are collecting clean customer data and are on top of cross-channel customer interactions, your customer segmentation process is likely to account for multiple data points, such as:

  • Demographic data
  • Firmographic data
  • Historical activity and purchase data
  • Cross-channel engagement data 
  • Real-time behavioural and intent signals 
  • Customers’ placement in the sales funnel

Choosing to segment customers based on brand-critical data points can help contextualisation efforts. However, considering the amount of customer data available today – shouldn’t marketers consider deeper segmentation to put their message into proper context too? 

Let’s say we want to target only customers currently occupying a specific stage of the sales funnel, such as consideration. Would the same content resonate with all prospects currently occupying that stage? Not really, because there is more to their contextual circumstances than the place in their buyer’s journey. 

We can continue to pose questions that hold relevance for brands, such as how does the longevity of customers’ engagement affect their purchase habits? For how long have they been occupying the consideration stage of the funnel? Is the message going to resonate if we address those who have just entered it the same way as those occupying it for the past six months? 

Some apparent characteristics companies tend to account for are average spending or the level of engagement with the brand. Think about how different customers’ purchase habits might affect their propensity to buy again. Similarly, if we consider the context behind different recurring customers – is there a difference between a predictive product buyer and a sporadic one? What are the characteristics of such personas, and how do we deliver a message that resonates with each customer?

Indeed, we can not address all customer cohorts according to their changing contextual circumstances, but considering the growing personalisation trends, we must start taking context seriously.

Data-driven and technology-enabled marketing

With new technologies that support real-time data collection and behavioural-driven campaigns, companies can find nuances in their customer segments to include context whenever relevant. 

Introducing context to your marketing strategy will require understanding the customers’ values, perspectives, lifestyles, issues, beliefs, preferences, interests, goals and desires. When the data dots connect, companies can position the messaging properly and achieve real-time resonance with their customers.

Customer insight

Customer data platforms (CDPs)

The main roadblock to enabling contextualisation is siloed customer data. However, technology solutions such as CDP can help unify, collect and segment customer data to engage with customers with a high degree of relevance.

A CDP collects and organises historical and real-time customer data from all company touch points, online and offline, to create a single customer view.

With a CDP, marketers are better equipped to design and provide tailored and contextual omnichannel buying experiences for each prospect or customer.

Behavioural campaigns 

Behind a contextualised marketing campaign is a profound understanding of your customers. Today, marketers are continuously seeking to determine how buyers interact with a website, an app, or a service. 

Past purchases, the device your buyer uses, their sentiment towards the brand, current geolocation and demographics are all critical elements that can be collected and taken into consideration in order to deliver a highly contextualised and tailored path to purchase.

To help marketers enhance their context-driven efforts, B2C Omnichannel Behavioural Campaigns leverage leading-edge technology applications, historical and real-time customer data to engage with customers with relevance, making them feel seen and heard at the moment they find themselves in.

Final thoughts

Customers no longer have the patience or tolerance for out-of-context messaging. Listening to your customers and then showcasing your understanding of their circumstances is the only winnable tactic going forward. At the end of the day, it’s what builds trust, provokes emotion and nudges your customers to engage.

Connect with Behavioural Response to find out how to incorporate contextual marketing into your marketing strategy.

Want to talk specifics?

Click on the button below to book a FREE discovery call!
We are an omnichannel strategy consulting firm and would love to see you succeed in your omnichannel marketing initiatives.

Related posts

Subscribe to Behavioural Response

Stay in the know with Customer Journey Optimisation, Martech, Omnichannel Marketing, and Demand & Lead Generation

Some of the cool kids we helped being more successful

Want to know more about how we can help with your Martech and Strategic Omnichannel Initiatives?

What can we help you find? I’m looking for