8 seconds. Imagine if that was all the time you had to deliver your message to your audience. Well, you can stop imagining, because these days the average attention span really is only 8 seconds. This marketing challenge has brought about the notion of Context Marketing, a new way of thinking that's set to change the way we communicate with our target audiences on a fundamental level. Whereas in the past we were satisfied with a veritable 'shot-gun' approach, we now have the insights and technology to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. If you can do this successfully, people will welcome your messages and engage with you on a more sincere level.
The first and crucial step in this approach is to gain a deeper understanding of who you are trying to speak to. It's important to segment your audience as much as possible. The more you know about your target market, the easier it will be to deliver the most relevant information. Start by developing persona's within your market, looking at everything from their needs to their habits and their behavioural patterns. Try to use whatever insights you have to define these personas as accurately as possible.
The next step is to look at your existing strategy and start analysing your different marketing distribution channels. Ask how you might use these channels to serve each of your personas in the most effective way. It's important to try understand how best to deliver tailored content to your different personas through the most relevant channels, at the most appropriate time.
Another fundamental shift, which comes hand in hand with this approach, is the notion of 'push' vs 'pull'. Instead of pushing your message onto your audience, allow them to pull information that is relevant to them. This is a trend that's growing quickly… one that emphasizes the importance of giving your market the chance to customise the messages that they receive. In order for this to work, it's useful to think about the needs of your customer first, rather than the needs of your business. This ties back into my previous point – the more you know about your customer, the easier it will be to cater for their needs. Listen first, then respond.
Here are a few finer points of Context Marketing to consider:
- Recognise the different channels at your disposal and decide which will be most appropriate for your message, and for the specific persona with whom you are communicating, whether it be via email, print, social media or any other channel.
- Take into account your customers' historical behaviour, looking at how they've used your site in the past. This will give you deeper insights into their needs.
- Engage with your customers on a personal level through social media, as well as personalised dynamic websites where content and images may change according to the individual you are addressing.
- Wherever possible, give your customers the chance to tell you what type of messages they'd like to receive. Again, this will ensure the relevance of your communication, making it even more valuable.
- Always take your customers' location into account. For instance, if they're based on the east coast, make sure you're not sending them information that is targeted at a west coast audience. A simple point, yet often overlooked.
- Always maintain respect for the device through which you are communicating. It's all about considering the context of the device and adapting your content accordingly.
As attention spans dwindle and spam increases exponentially, every business that relies on marketing needs to start boxing clever. The beauty of Context Marketing, is that it gives you the tools to rise above all the noise. In order to make sure that your marketing doesn't end up as junk mail, it's important to ask your customers what messages they would like to see, when they'd like to see it. Because when you start putting your customers' needs before those of your own business, that's when you truly empower your marketing strategy.