• By Tom Vandendooren
  • April 28, 2016

6 reasons why Context is the new king in marketing land

There’s no such thing as a customer segment, there’s only customer context 

Contextual marketing is the new buzzword in marketing land. While the definition of contextual marketing is somewhat fluid, it basically refers to the ability to tune marketing content and campaigns to customer context in real-time. Context, more than anything else, defines needs and intent.

Understanding a customer’s situational context, especially when enriched with other behavioral profile or demographic data, will enable companies and brands to deliver more relevant and engaging customer experiences. Contextual marketing unlocks the holy grail of marketing: delivering the right message to the right person, at the right time and place.

The 6 W of context: Who-What-Where-When-How-Why

Getting the whole context is more than the sum of its parts. It goes way beyond knowing who your customer is and where he or she is located. Yes, profile and location enable some degree of hyper-targeting, but without knowing the fuller context, your message may still lack relevance. Add in behavioral data in terms of what your customer is doing and time-of-day (and day-of-week), as well as how he/she got there (understanding the past or previous situation) will provide you with a strong hint to customer intent and what he/she is going to do likely next. Context is what shapes moments of truth, the so-called mobile micro moments that matter most in driving engaging experiences and strong conversion.

Context is what shapes moments of truth, the so-called mobile micro moments that matter most in driving engaging experiences and strong conversion.

Mobile is the new 6th sense

Smartphones have become our digital lifeline and the primary screen to connect to the web. In many ways, they have become the extension of ourselves, linking our physical world with our digital identities, preferences and services. A personal companion that increasingly acts as our 6th sense as we navigate our way through a connected world. Equipped with the right contextual intelligence our mobiles have the power to become the ultimate personal assistant, proactively servicing us with the right content, services and alerts. Without the intrusiveness of irrelevant messages, interrupting you at the wrong moment.

Mobile sensor data are the source of real-life & real-time context

Smartphones come with a range of built-in sensors and as such have the capability to track our footprint in real-life. Very much as tags and cookies allow websites and digital service providers to track our online footprint. With the right mobile sensor fusion and intelligence, companies can track a person’s location, movement and activities in real-time. And with the right classifiers and behavioral pattern modeling, these mobile events can be translated into meaningful moments, reflecting real-life and real-time context and routines. E.g. detecting when someone is on the tram during his morning commute to work, or doing the weekly grocery shopping on his way to home, or picking the kids up from school, or having a lunch break at his usual pizza place,…

Equipped with the right contextual intelligence our mobiles have the power to become the ultimate personal assistant.

Assistance is the new black

Mobile has shifted the consumer mind to expect instant gratification. Each time a consumer picks up her phone, she expects to get everything she wants instantly, leveraging all available context. The ability to engage your customer in the now and proactively serve her with the right services and recommendations, is the true power of contextual assistance. Based on pattern recognition and predictive modeling, contextual intelligence can trigger the relevant real-time moments for companies to engage their customers with offers and services when it matters most. It’s the growth in contextual awareness capabilities that will transform mobile devices into digital assistants (PwC, Mobile Innovations Forecast).

Relevance requires intimacy and trust

While the benefits of an assisted future may sound obvious, the level of trust and intimacy implied by the nature of exposing all these contextual insights are not to be underestimated. Consumers will not be willing to share or trade their whereabouts and activities, if the value returned isn’t translated into much more engaging and relevant experiences. Companies and brands that respect this value trade-off will turn customer context into customer value, by leveraging ambient intelligence to personalize their content and offerings and tune them to the actual situational context of their customers.

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