Marketing Recovery Series: Putting your marketing in context

3 minute read

In the face of massive disruption, we adapt. There is no choice. This change doesn’t happen in a vacuum because it’s always surrounded by context. Recent events have taught us to become more attuned to our personal context and, hopefully, more respectful of the context experienced by others. Our priorities and motivations have shifted and it’s important that we understand the many truths and realities that make up the lived experiences of other individuals and communities.

According to Fast Company, seeing things in context is one of the most important features of human intelligence. And it might just lead to greater loyalty and higher margins. Context plays a vital role in all our relationships, including those between company and customer. It’s critical to managing change. It allows marketers to go deeper. It forces us to ask what these seismic shifts mean to audiences. It keeps us connected to needs, situations, expectations.

Putting context in context

Context isn’t linear. It’s personal, situational and cultural. Everything we experience has context. It impacts what we expect, how we process information, the value we assign to something and how that makes us feel.

How context can enhance marketing effectiveness

The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) concludes that marketers shouldn’t ignore context. Because context impacts receptiveness and relevance, it can be used to enhance the effectiveness of advertising messages (timing and placement).

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How to add context to your marketing

Integrate media and message (ads and content) around the consumer because context has never been more important. Be sure to collect preference data that provides contextual information to enrich consumer profiles. Position your message within media environments that increase receptivity and relevance. Heighten customer experience by providing data-driven content that’s personalized to an individual’s situation and needs. Strengthen context by using tangible, multi-sensory creative that stimulates emotion and enhances memory.

Inspiring contextual marketing campaigns

We love how these brands have adapted their approach and put customers in context:

  • Apple is evolving from simple design to an era of customization, where users can create their own interfaces.
  • To promote informed discussion, Twitter asks people to read and understand context before they share or respond.
  • To dramatize the context of homelessness over the holidays, Gothenburg Homeless Aid mailed beautifully written fundraising letters that had spent a night on the streets.

How direct mail can contextualize your marketing

Our homes have become increasingly predictable and influential places to reach people. COVID-19 has made that all the more obvious. Salesforce notes that although sales and marketing have largely moved towards digital methods of attracting and converting customers, it’s worth thinking about how direct mail can augment and even improve the results of their efforts across other channels. The question to ask is, “What will consumers and business customers want to hold in their hands and when?”

Direct mail is often thought of as a linear channel, meant to take someone directly to a sale from a call-to-action. In fact, direct mail media can play a highly adaptive and contextual role in the channel mix. It can bring our online, out-of-home and in-home contexts closer together. While direct mail has always been data driven, now it can be seamlessly plugged in to digital channels and mobile data in ways that make it more connected within the customer journey.

Read more from our Marketing Recovery Series here.

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