Contextual Marketing in the Age of Connected Customer

I was talking to a friend recently about buying a pair of jeans. A few hours later I found ads of Levi’s all over my social media feed! One can debate over the modern-day myth that our smartphones may be secretly listening to us, but it is entirely possible that brands are covertly collecting consumer-specific data. There is some evidence to back this. Last September, Apple issued a public apology for tapping into private Siri conversations. While brands are racing to collect nuanced personal information, there are ethical standards related to data privacy to be met. Maintaining a balance between the two is critical.

Enhance customer satisfaction and improve the conversion

Investments in customer data acquisition are on the rise—and understandably so. Traditional marketing can be compared to a person shouting into a microphone hoping consumers would come by. Today circumstances have changed dramatically. Dwindling economies, saturated markets and ever-changing consumer preferences (plus a global pandemic!) have left marketers in a daze. There is a need now, more than ever, for cost effective marketing strategies that serve the dual purpose of enhancing customer satisfaction and improving conversion rates. The right customer data can help achieve this purpose.

Enhance customer satisfaction and improve the conversionNow consider the fact that content marketing brings in 3X as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 62% less—overlay this with contextual marketing techniques and the results improve even further.

Contextual marketing is delivering the right message to the right person at the right time

Context can be determined by analyzing the recent browsing behavior of (prospective) customers. At a very fundamental level, each time a user performs a search, clicks on an ad or reads an article, a cookie stored on the computer/mobile device tracks the activity and is used to create a behavioral profile of the consumer. For example, a user searches for smart phone reviews, compares prices of different models and then reads an article on dual sim flip phones. When the user visits a general news site, he/she will be shown ads for smart phones and dual sim flip phones. In this example, the ad is relevant, adaptable, and empowers the user by breaking through the clutter on the Internet by using real time data.

The fascinating part about context is that it is always changing. In a world where there is increased connectivity, there are multiple factors (see figure below) that determine the context.

Contextual marketing is delivering the right message to the right person at the right time

Factors that determine context

Clearly, data collection is an integral component of contextual marketing. More data means more insights and better targeted campaigns. A few pre-requisites for a successful campaign include:

  • Setting up lifecycle stages provides information on where the customer is in their buying It is essential to group different customers into leads, prospects, subscribers and so on as the first step to clustering and segmentation
  • Defining buyer personas will lead the right customers to the Buyer persona(s) represent the ideal customer(s) that an organization wishes to attract and serve. Each persona will have a specific set of needs, wants, challenges and processes. More the information, more refined will be the segmentation
  • Data cleansing is critical for improving the user Old databases without real time updates on customer data such as email addresses can lead to disastrous results. The mailer may no longer be relevant to the customer and may be marked as spam or may be left undelivered

ITC Infotech is powering contextual marketing

ITC Infotech’s CRM solution enables the above functionalities and more. Our Marketing Cloud solution orchestrates journeys to deliver accurate and relevant services to individual customers thereby creating an enhanced and seamless customer experience. Take the example of a pharma customer operating across 50 countries. The organization lacked a marketing platform to design customer journeys. Marketing campaigns were often delayed due to a dependency on the creative team and there was no data model to segment customers. ITC Infotech facilitated the transition to a marketing cloud leading to a 50% reduction in operational costs and a 27% increase in data quality. The outcome enabled the organization to launch campaigns on time and prevented prospects from unsubscribing from mailing lists.

Another robust solution was designed for a leading European airline (with a turnover of $80 Bn). The client wanted to simplify the data flow from the service cloud to the marketing cloud to deliver relevant and customized journeys to the right customers across various channels and devices. ITC Infotech supported the entire process affecting over 10 Mn customers. The solution assisted the client in targeting the right members through segmentation, enabled planning of email communication with the latest content and enhanced email tracking with effective notifications for the communications sent to the customers.

The examples demonstrate how simple, yet effective contextual marketing can be in establishing a brand, generating interest, and gaining more customers. Contextual marketing at its heart requires good data and the ability to use it in the right context for the right people at the right time with the aid of good tools.

For designing contextualized experiences for your customers, to learn about our Customer Engagement and Personalized Services capability and our Customer Intelligence Platform do visit


Shweta Subbaraman
Lead Consultant, Digital Experience


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