Soup Up Your Sales With Contextual Marketing and Targeted Experiences

by Merlin U Ward

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Your business is a machine.

It has its various parts, and it runs to make profits (hopefully). When you put money in one end (marketing), money is expected to come out of the other (profits). Sounds simple?

It could be…but there’s a problem.

Many companies’ machines do not run efficiently. The marketing engine needs to be run using smart context and customer experience to stand out in the target market but for most, all the pistons aren’t firing up.

You Miss if you Aim for the Majority

Inefficiency happens because most marketers aim for the middle majority (part of the marketplace where the majority of people reside, a.k.a. the mass market).  These businesses use generalized messaging and try to speak to all these people at once.

Three factors make shooting for the middle even more costly and the machine less efficient:

  1. They rely on the dollars to boost the reach of the message but leave out context and a unique customer experience.
  2. Most marketers are shouting at the middle majority, so the amount of noise there is deafening.
  3. To throw another wrench into the gears, consumers are becoming experts at ignoring marketing messages.

contextual marketing

Consider the figure above; a lever to represent the machine. The lever on the output end (right of the fulcrum) moves up and down and indicates how much money you make or lose. The input end (left of the fulcrum) is the dollars you spend marketing. As you might suspect, if you put out a product for everyone and rely on your marketing to get the word out (aiming towards the middle in this example) then you need to put in a lot of force ($$$) to move the lever.

As Seth Godin puts it, we must stop aiming for the mass market and instead aim for the edges, or “weird” as he likes to say.

Gain Leverage by Knowing Your Target’s Worldviews

The edges experience less noise, and also have people with very distinct mindsets, or as Godin says, “worldviews.” Here, contextual marketing and customer experience work hand in hand to give your machine more leverage. Research on the target market will give you the proper understanding of your target’s “worldview,” which enables you to create the right context for your message. The right context allows your messaging to cut through any noise and ensures that it will not be ignored by your target.

When you identify the edges of the mass market and determine context suited for that niche, you can create the right customer experience. Customer experience is how the product is designed, how the target will use it, how the customer service process will be unique, what the buying process is like, what the brand voice will be and how it is communicated. Combine these pieces to make give your machine leverage and aim for the edges.

 contextual marketing

In this updated figure, you can see with fewer marketing dollars on the input end, the enhanced machine works to your advantage. The level can stay level almost on its own. You can spend less money marketing to create profits because the customer experience drives the business. Your customers are so enthralled with your product, your company, and your brand that they help market it for you, growing sales and profits.

How to Stand out at the Edges

Let’s say you determine your unique target is a vegan mother with children whom she also wants to adopt the vegan diet. Your research finds that her worldview is that being vegan is better for mind, body, and earth. Your contextual marketing copy for the product must support her lifestyle, make her kids excited about vegan food, and also show the product is good for the environment. With research you can begin creating more leverage by building the customer experience around the contextual understanding of her.  The buying and web experience, and brand voice could support your customer’s ideals and further add leverage to the input end of the marketing machine.

Without context, ignoring the mass market and an exceptional customer experience to support the target’s worldview, sales won’t grow because the quality of the product/service is overshadowed by the noise.

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Merlin U Ward

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