Will Context dethrone Content? The importance of context in making your content marketing seen
Following on from my previous post, I’m still totally inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk’s Inc. 500 Keynote speech. It is widely acknowledged among web marketers that ‘content is king’ but Vaynerchuk proposes that content marketing is about to be usurped by context.
While Vaynerchuk doesn’t dispute the value of content, his argument for the importance of context is based on an unbelievable fact learnt from Eric Schmidt: Every piece of content created by the human race from the beginning of time until 2003 is now being replicated in volume every 48 hours. Take a moment to let that sink in. Mind = blown. This fact is the reason that Vaynerchuk highlights the importance of context. How can you expect your content marketing to be seen when you have that much competition? Context is how.
Context is defined as the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc. That’s a pretty broad definition but what it really amounts to for marketers is knowing your customer. And not just in the 'know your target market' sense, know your individual customers. Vaynerchuk gives insightful examples of this such as following a customer on twitter, finding out what their interests are and then buying them a suitable gift in an effort to establish a long-term relationship. It's about going the extra distance.
While his example (buying a signed NFL jersey) is extreme and expensive on a large scale, Vaynerchuk describes his company’s implementation of the “Thank You Economy” as a way to show your customers that you value them. Each customer receives a phone call from his company, thanking them for their recent purchase and wishing them a good day. Nothing more. No sales pitch or survey, just a thank you. Vaynerchuk is in business for the lifetime value of customers.
"Most businesses are not playing the marathon, they’re playing the sprint"
An area that Vaynerchuk sees becoming vital to marketing is location-based context. The example he gives is walking into a supermarket and an advert on your phone shares a recommendation your peer has given for a product on sale. The advert also includes a discount for this product. The success of the smartphone makes this a very real scenario and is already evident in businesses offering discounts when customers “check in” at their premises.
While you would think that technology and the Internet has made people less social, the opportunities of context show that this isn’t the case. We’re social creatures and technology is amplifying this. The key to marketing in the coming years will be optimising your marketing strategy to personalise the experience for your audience. The Internet is making the world a smaller place and marketing needs to reflect this. Since these are all Vaynerchuk’s ideas, I’ll let him close:
"As we all go Jetsons, the action is in being like the Flintstones"