We are living in a world where consumers are switching off ads in droves and more than a quarter are turning on ad blockers. As a result, one of the original forms of targeted marketing technology is experiencing a rebirth. Contextual marketing, which fine-tunes marketing content and campaigns to a customer’s situational context, is on the rise.
With traditional forms of marketing falling by the wayside due to poor performance and bad user experiences, and with increasing regulation on data privacy like GDPR, brands are adopting contextual marketing for its ability to make sense of everything and help them deliver more relevant and engaging customer experiences.
Getting context into the customer journey has never been a more critical focus for brands, yet it remains an elusive goal. Marketers have no shortage of data to make conclusions about customers, and mobile sensor data is increasingly becoming a more necessary component of this data mix. Combined with additional behavioral and demographic data, sensor data will only help brands as they seek to deliver more relevant and engaging customer experiences.
Now the question for marketers is how can they make sense of mobile sensor data in combination with other data sets as a source of real-time context into how consumers move throughout their daily lives and create campaigns and content that genuinely enrich consumer’s lives and enhance the customer journey.
Read More: Context and Data is King
Understanding and Applying the 6 “W’s” of Contextual Marketing
In order to deliver the right message, to the right person at the right time, consumers need to consider the six “W’s” of contextual marketing — Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. While location and profile data already allow for hyper-targeting imagine the targeting possibilities once context is thrown into the mix.
It has the ability to strengthen your message and provide it with relevance, which is crucial in this age of ad blocking and consumer distrust of brands. When combined with “who” and “where,” having context around “why” “when” and “how,” marketers can shape important moments of truth for consumers to not only help drive engaging experiences but to convert to loyal individuals.
Context should be applied across several industries. For example, say you’re a healthcare marketer and sensor data tell you a consumer’s activity level all of a sudden drop significantly — they may have just relocated from an urban to suburban area and now drive more. Alternatively, perhaps they sustained an injury that has limited their movement. Marketers who know this context can tailor their interactions accordingly and will be much more effective in driving healthier and effective outcomes.
The Smartphone as a Contextual Intelligence Machine
Smartphones have played a large role in transforming the way marketers both interact with consumers and understand their preferences. They are a digital lifeline of sorts and the primary screen that connects individuals around the world. It’s fair to say many consider their smartphones to be extensions of themselves and help link our physical selves with our digital identities and preferences.
Loaded with apps in which consumers willingly share preferences and likes, our phones are equipped with the contextual intelligence marketers need to better inform campaigns and content. They have the power to act as personal assistants, if utilized in the right way, and thanks to our mobile-first world we expect instant gratification.
Marketers have an opportunity to leverage contextual awareness capabilities such as pattern recognition and predictive modeling to transform mobile phones into the digital assistants they are looking for. Our phones come with built-in sensors that track each individual footprint and — in combination with the right classifiers and behavioral modeling — they can be translated into moments that reflect real-life and real-time context and routines.
This ability to engage individuals — on their choice — in the now and proactively serve them with services and recommendations enhances the customer journey instead of interrupting it. Using this information, marketers can understand when a consumer commutes to work, how they get there, and what time they typically leave the office. All that information is taken into account to determine the right message at the right time across the right platform.
Creating an Even Value Exchange
It is important to remember that using sensor and behavioral data is only useful for individuals and marketers if there is a level of trust and intimacy between the two parties. The benefits of contextualizing data seem obvious, but a lack of transparency can leave lasting damage. Marketers ask consumers to reveal a lot about their personal lifestyle and there has to be a promise that the end result will provide value and a more engaging and relevant experience.
Brands that truly understand this value exchange have the opportunity to turn context into value. This exponentially increases the value of the interaction and changes the dynamics of the relationships between brands and individuals.
Contextual marketing, if used in the right way has the power to unlock powerful insights that positively transform the customer experience from just a transaction to a valued experience within a consumers’ everyday life. Sensor data combined with behavioral data give brands the contextual insights they need to better inform campaigns and content.
Context defines needs, intent and consent of the consumer and the sooner brands understand that notion the faster they’re able to create impactful and meaningful personalized interactions.