The Danger Of Content Without Context
Sometimes timing is everything. I was a little late coming home recently because I went to an industry event after work. The speaker had been talking about the importance of context, among other things, and the white envelope in my mailbox perfectly illustrated her point.
The letter was from a global airline that wanted me to know I hadn’t flown enough miles to retain ‘Silver’ status and had been downgraded to ‘Guest’. I’m pretty sure the last time this company contacted me was to pull my ‘Gold’ membership a year ago.
Using Data Without Context
Based on raw data alone these were perfectly valid business decisions but they had no context. You see the only reason I’d made my way up these tiers in the first place was because of a family illness that meant I flew more frequently between Australia and the UK. This is 20+ hours of flying each way and quickly racks up significant air miles.
Adding further context to the story I’ve used the same airline exclusively to make this journey at least once a year stretching back to about 2008. I also have a young family now so we book three tickets instead of one. So I’m not a frequent flyer but I have been a loyal customer for a long time. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars with this company during that time or, to put it another way, they’ve won more than 90 per cent of my outlay on airfares.
Yet without this background information a customer relationship management system somewhere spat out a few lines of automated communication and a piece of plastic letting me know my business was less valuable than it was a year ago. Content without context. Will I vow never to fly with this airline again? No, of course not, but I am more likely to book my next trip ‘home’ with one of its competitors.
Putting Content In Context
The speaker I mentioned at the top of this post was MK Getler, an inbound marketing consultant at HubSpot. MK was talking about how integrated campaigns are the foundation of quality lead generation. She said lots of marketers she talks to are good at filling the top of the funnel but find it difficult to know what tactics are working when it comes to nurturing those leads.
So how do you push website visitors into the middle of the funnel where they view your pricing page, use free tools, conduct self-assessments and download brochures? And how do you get these prospects downloading case studies, talking to consultants and signing up for free trials in the bottom of the funnel?
MK stressed the importance of analysing data, using the right tools and (you guessed it) providing context wherever and whenever the opportunity arises. So if you’re selling software to a CEO you want to be focusing your content on how it will increase revenue or reduce costs. For somebody in marketing you might highlight the positive impact it will have on customer experience or how it will help generate leads. If your customer runs the IT department they’ll likely want to hear how easily this integrates with their existing systems.
The difference between content and context is just one letter. The opportunity cost of failing to link them is much larger.