Sunday, January 08, 2006

Putting Context to Work

The role of contextual marketing is obvious when it comes to messaging strategies. But in a data-driven marketing department, context plays in other critical ways, as well.

Messaging -- Your messages become data transformed into meaning. The meaning gains relevance and importance to customers because it speaks to their interests and their needs, wants and expectations. It tells them how you will help solve a problem instead of how wonderful your product features and benefits are.

Targeting -- Using data also helps you target the right offering to those prospects who are most likely to have an interest in it. You look for people with specific pains or needs instead of traditional demographic cuts across a population. Mass marketing media cannot give you nearly the precision you need, so direct and online media are finding great favor. You use contextual data to sharpen the focus.

Touchpoint Optimization -- When the world is awash in media options and channel touchpoints, it becomes quickly overwhelming to optimize your media strategy. When you have the data on customer context, it becomes clearer what message distribution resources will best serve you.

Fact-Based Performance Management -- In the old days, it was permissable to say that you did not know which half of your marketing budget was getting the best results. Today, every dollar must be effective. All solid contextual programs have the right tracking mechanisms for online, point-of-sale, field sales, direct marketing programs ... you can see what is working and optimize rapidly.

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