Contextual 2.0: Why Geo-Contextual, Real-Time Marketing is the New Tech Tool Must Have


There’s no doubt that the digital marketing landscape is far different than it was just a few short years ago. Where it was once possible to use paid ads and a few blog posts to get the word out about your brand, today you need a robust content marketing plan to really see results.

Which is how the process of utilizing contextually relevant content came about.

Savvy, next-gen focused brands have realized that getting the right message to the right people at the right time is the most crucial way to cut through all the competition — and contextual content solves this.

Furthermore, hyper-personalized, real-time relevant messaging is much more likely to resonate with consumers suffering from ad fatigue due to the daily digital clutter that has little to do with their current needs and wants.

We live in a world where everything is moving at lightning speed. Your customers have no patience for waiting around; they want their needs met now. And when you also consider the fact more than 50% of online traffic comes from mobile devices it has become absolutely essential that marketers adopt a real-time, geo-contextual marketing approach if they plan at succeeding in today’s crowded, chaotic eCommerce environment. We all know that timing is everything when it comes to winning over customers, but did you know that your entire business plan could be thrown off if you aren’t keeping pace with the latest market trends?

When a message does meet their needs in an immediate and customized way, they are much more likely to act. How much more likely? According to a study from Forrester research, they’re 68% more likely to engage. Contextual content capitalizes on this fact.

The Contextual Real-Time Era

Contextual content is really any marketing content that adapts to the current location, channel, and needs of the audience. In short, it gives consumers the information they’re looking for at the moment, even if they don’t realize they need it at that time.

Have you ever wondered why you get social media ads for umbrellas when it is raining or get an ad for gardening equipment after you looked at an online seed catalog you have experienced contextual marketing in action. These are both examples of contextual content that adapts to the specific circumstances of the user and what they are experiencing in the current moment.

Contextual content is different from traditional marketing in that it works to adapt to very specific circumstances. This is in direct contrast to classical marketing efforts, which only work to promote a brand on a much broader basis.

For marketers, the ideal result of deploying a contextual content strategy is a better, stronger connection to the real-time needs of your target audience. This is a key point, as consumers are significantly more likely to make a purchase at the exact moment they need or want something than later on when they’re trying to remember who offered a specific product. In other words, in the moment needs to eclipse any sort of brand recognition or loyalty, and smart brands realize the importance of that experience.

Personalization: The Key to Contextual Content

There is one method that makes contextual content even more powerful in conveying the right message and that’s personalization. In truth, it is so valuable that it is not at all a stretch to assert that it is the absolute must-have component to ensure the entire process works.

Essentially, the whole concept of contextual content means adjusting the format and substance of your message to the specific micro needs of a specific user, not the macro interests of a mass group, and personalization makes this happen by helping brands narrow down the consumer persona segment you’re most trying to reach. In the end, this allows them to get the information they need when it most makes sense for them to receive it.

Need an example? Let’s say you’ve collected data on people who like scarves. In response to a survey, you sent out to this segment, three people told you that they prefer red scarves and seven said they like blue ones. You could use personalization in this instance to offer a discount on red scarves to those three people who like them best and a separate message with a similar coupon to those who like blue. This is much more likely to result in your audience making purchases, which wouldn’t be as likely to happen if you only had one message sent out to the whole group of ten.

Data Behavior and Contextual Content

Of course, any discussion about the importance of offering personalized content to meet audience needs to include the value of data behavior analysis, too, and how it is essential to have a Customer Data Platform (CDP) like FiO’s that can provide deep, deployable first- and zero-party data.

Meaningful data behavioral analysis tracks how any particular member of your target audience behaves in terms of how they search for things online, the way they interact with your brand, the choices they make in terms of product selection, which are they preferred access channels, and more. Think of it as the key that unlocks the door to true marketing personalization.

By having the critical information necessary for segmenting your groups, you can help ensure that your targeted buyer persona is getting the messaging necessary for their needs. This is why having a comprehensive, 360-degree data view of both your current customers and target audience is such a vital part of doing contextual messaging well. If you don’t have the right data to present the right marketing message at the right time, you can’t take full advantage of the benefits that relevant contextual marketing messaging offers.

Geo-Contextual Marketing: The Right Place to Receive the Right Message

If you haven’t heard much about geo-contextual marketing yet, get ready: marketing experts like the Forrester Institute and HubSpot predict that it will be a MAJOR part of how successful brands reach consumers in the near future.

Geo-contextual marketing is an approach where targeting the audience is based on their geography or location. This can be based on numerous identifiers including country, state, city, zip code or even by proximity and at an event. The ability to segment down by geography allows getting very specific in terms of key motivations and desires of the target population and allows brands to truly craft content that will resonate.

What’s more, the potential to be able to deploy real-time, one-to-one relevant marketing messages based on location presents tremendous possibilities for brands. Consider the following: you’re a hotel chain that uses geo-contextual marketing to offer real-time, mobile marketing texts that gives current guests at your hotel with offers for restaurants, car rentals, discounts on tickets, local shopping, and local attractions. This gives your patrons with a huge value add when they stay at your hotel chain, making them want to make sure they always stay at your hotel based upon the customized access to unique offers they get as a perk when they stay at your hotels. 

Or consider how an athletic team can send in-the-moment texts for special promotional offers to locations in your stadiumlike gift stores and restaurants and can continue to send them special discounts after the game is over to encourage them to buy sponsored team clothing and gear.

The possibilities with geo-contextual marketing are virtually endless and incredibly exciting, but it is still in its infancy and therefore few MarTech companies are able to deploy it. Thanks to our partnership with SparkCompass, FiO is one of the only companies that can deploy geo-contextual, real-time marketing technology now.  

Ads that are contextually aligned with the locations and activities they are doing at that moment make sense to consumers. Once someone decides to browse certain content online (whether it’s about travel plans, sports, or the latest gadget release), they are in the right mindset already. The ability of the advertiser to align their ads with the customer’s mindset helps them amplify their message, and therefore create real uplift and impact for a brand’s campaign. It feels more in tune with the consumer’s values and interests, without making them feel concerned that their personal data has been shared with too many additional parties. The contextual method of marketing considers the demographic, social, financial, behavioral, and cultural characteristics of consumers and gives them a timely, relevant marketing experience like no other.

Now that you know more about Real-Time, Contextual Marketing, it’s time to discover how it can be applied to your own marketing efforts.

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