Move over, Content Marketing – the new buzzword for 2015 is Contextual Marketing. While Big Data and Content Marketing reigned as the top marketing topics last year, this year’s buzzword is the natural evolution for marketing strategy. Contextual marketing takes everything up a notch and optimizes your content to make it as engaging as possible.
Contextual marketing provides an enhanced customer experience by presenting customers with information or products that they need, when they need it. The most basic version of contextual marketing is retargeted advertisements, which display real-time ads based on past customer browsing behavior for particular products.
However, for 2015, contextual marketing is all about adjusting your content for the right context, not just presenting products over and over hoping that customers will finally make a purchase. Customers are already used to seeing retargeted ads and the experience is starting to feel impersonal, especially if a customer has already made a purchase. By adjusting marketing campaigns for context, you build a customer experience right down to the individual level.
How contextual marketing boosts retention
Perhaps the most famous example of early contextual marketing was Oreo’s tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl black-out. The well-timed tweet made a huge mark during the most expensive television advertising event of the year and sparked the momentum by marketers to make sure to involve the second screen.
However, Mondelez, Oreo’s parent company, had no way to track if their real-time marketing strategies gave them a boost in sales. Despite the success of the clever tweet, this kind of marketing hasn’t caught on. Customers seem to want something more than quick real-time ads or gimmicky flash campaigns. This is where great content comes into play as the way to keep customers engaged.
In preparation for winter storm Juno, public transportation was shut down throughout Manhattan and emergency measures put into place. Most traditional marketing was centered around how to stay safe and warm inside and browse for products online. However, Uber used contextual marketing to bring a positive message to users.
Uber hasn’t been getting great press lately – after the huge backlash over surge pricing during the hostage situation in Sydney, it’s no wonder that their policies made the service incredibly unpopular. Uber has been battling the negative image ever since.
On the first day of the winter storm, Uber sent users an email that assured them that Uber would still be running in the city, surge pricing would not go past a certain rate, and all proceeds would be going to the American Red Cross.
This campaign shows the effectiveness of contextual marketing. Timely messages like this prevents Uber from continuing to fall out of favor with users by emphasizing brand values and commitment to service. Providing extra information like city emergency policies, the possibility of uncleared snow and limited transportation, as well as higher wait-times was valuable content delivered in the right way at the right time. And for New Yorkers expecting several feet of snow and getting only several inches, it was acknowledgement that Uber understood its audience wasn’t the type to spend a perfectly normal winter day cooped up inside.
Use Your Data
Once you’ve got customer’s attention, you have to continue to engage them. You wouldn’t (or you shouldn’t) send the same offer to all your customers, so why are you sending them all the same content? Adjust content for each customer segment in every aspect of your marketing campaigns. Consider weather, current events, time of day, type of device, and even the specific location of the customer when sending out messages. Get constant feedback and learn from every successful conversion. Understanding customer data and emphasis on content marketing has been at the forefront of marketing since last year. Contextual marketing harnesses the power for impactful results. The marriage of customer data and relevant content can go a long ways to strengthening customer loyalty to your brand.