Kevin Adema
Kevin Adema 16 March 2017

Context Marketing – Putting it into profitable action (Part 3 of 3)

This is part 3 where we’ll give you the 5 action steps in Context Marketing that marketers must follow to ensure acceptance, adoption and ultimately profitable growth.

The 5 action steps in Context Marketing that marketers must follow to ensure acceptance, adoption and ultimately profitable growth.

If you missed it:

Part 1 unpacked the new mindset required for success in marketing. “when it comes to marketing, focus on the customer experience and what the customer wants rather than prioritizing what your company wants to market”.

Part 2 addressed What marketing leaders must do (strategic action set) to present it (the new mindset) for seamless acceptance into their business (priming the way for future success).

Let’s begin:

In context of today’s digital business climate, it’s important to firstly realize that the role of the marketer has changed in terms of the overall sales process. Traditionally, marketing was responsible for creating awareness and interest. The sales roles would then take over and seek to move the consumer from consideration through purchase. Today however, marketing is responsible for everything from awareness through evaluation. (See figure 1 below)

Although the image intentionally leaves out post-sale engagement – a critical factor in brand engagement and loyalty, marketers need to see that they play a HUGE role in terms of client attractionengagement and loyalty. Brands have to cut through the noise of today’s digital landscape and begin the engagement process.

Said simply:

Marketing has BECOME a strategic driver and catalyst for profitable growth.

Applying the mindset discussed in part 1, Contextual, consumer-focused marketing action is all about how do I understand my customers & prospects and shape my brand’s offering for them.

What then is the strategic action-set of a marketer?

As strategy always seeks to answer the “how” of any business challenge, marketers must look at “what” is trying to be achieved through digital? For simplicity sake, the end goal (the what) of a marketer is to bring a consumer or potential consumer into a relationship with a brand for the sake of awareness, engagement, and ultimate conversion.

Strategy answers the question of HOW you will use digital to realize three end points?

  1. Create awareness
  2. Drive engagement
  3. Achieve conversion.

There are 5 steps that a marketer must follow to achieve these end-points:

(here’s the top-line, full explanations are below)

  1. Prove that you have true strategic digital insights (remember, digital has changed the game of marketing forever: the majority of clients and/or colleagues haven’t grasped this yet.
  2. Show that you “get it” and are “ready” (this is a business need more than digital need)
  3. Prove that you fully grasp the digital’s buying reality (and why, what they’re doing, won’t work)
  4. Display powerful human-centric insights – how you can get real action
  5. Putting it into brand marketing action.

The details:

Step 1: Prove that you have true strategic digital insights

This isn’t as easy as it sounds…

You need to understand the era of marketing we’re actually living in AND how marketing has changed because of digital. You must invest the time to learn this intimately so you can lead, navigate and conquer through the fears of change, the fears of losing face and the fears of incompetence. You have to become the agent of change in today’s new world and bring about what Peter Drucker said: “the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

Once you have this, you need to understand that for the most part, your clients or colleagues do NOT. To get them to think smart like you do, we move on to the next step.

Step 2: Show that you “get it” and are “ready”

According to Forrester Research, almost 70% of senior executives believe that the sales person (that’s you…remember the new sales process is mostly marketing driven) does NOT know enough about their buyer’s business to bring any value to a meeting. In fact, only 25% of sales people are prepared to take a second meeting.

Think about it: 3 out of 4 sales meetings are a waste of time and money – both for the seller and the buyer.


Most digital marketers aren’t ready because most digital marketers are selling digital tactics and not digital strategy.

To stand out from your competition and be ready, you must show that you understand the buyer’s perspective on the brand. You need to understand and see the things they do. What are they focused on? What are their drivers? What are their objectives?

There are 4 things to address to prove you’re worthy to be at the table:

  1. What are their goals? Increase awareness, sales, loyalty, productivity, new product, etc.
  2. What are the pressures behind the goals? Low lead volume, conversion rates, poor forecasts, etc.
  3. What initiatives can / should be done to address these? (this isn’t a tactic list – this is a strategy list of HOW) gain insights, grow pipeline, improve conversions, etc.
  4. What are the obstacles they will face? Poor measurement, bad analytics, bad CRM, competition, etc.

The more you show you understand THEIR world, the better.

Step 3: Prove that you fully grasp the digital buying reality (it’s different)

This is the tricky one.

You’ve just proven that you get their world and now you have to fuse that together with the real world of digital’s buying reality.

This is the tipping point in moving a brand into real context marketing action.

Remember that brands are very used to and comfortable speaking about themselves and their features lists. So don’t preach at them, show them.

Here’s how…

  • You’ve shown them that digital is about relationships (use all the stuff from the free 1 hour session)
  • You’ve proved to them that you’re worthy to be at the table (step 2 above)
  • You now show them why what they’re doing is wrong.

(told you this was tricky…)

Set the stage:

Use the most simple form of relationship expression, a thing that most everybody can understand: a boy and a girl. (I do this in my consulting practice and it works every time)

Give them 2 basic boy-girl scenarios. In each scenario, ask the question: WHAT are the chances for a second date?

Scenario 1: The boy and girl meet and he starts the conversation with: “This is a great date: it’s been so good to share with you how awesome I am, how great I am at sports, how my new haircut makes me look sexy, how my…”

By now the girl has tuned out and begging for the date to end…

Scenario 2: The boy and girl meet and he starts the conversation with: “You look great tonight! I noticed you’re wearing pink – that’s your favorite color right? And I hope you don’t mind but I arranged a dinner reservation at that restaurant you told me about – serves your favorite meal…”

And she’s thinking: “WOW!!!! He listened, paid attention and put me first.”

Question again: for each scenario, what are the chances for a second date?

It’s obvious right? Scenario 2.

The boy represents the brand

The girl represents the consumer

Then, show them their digital assets: their ads, their copy, their web pages, their banner ads, etc.

Does it resemble Scenario 1 (boy talking about himself)


Does it resemble Scenario 2 (boy showing that he knows and values girl)

Question again: if digital is all about relationships and engagement, and if the brand is acting like scenario 1, they aren’t going to get results.

(but you can fix it…keep reading)

Step 4: Display powerful human-centric insights – how you can get real action

This is the big one.

Why do people actually buy something?

There are 5 key and universal reasons people actually buy things (and we’ll get to that in a moment) but most brands are caught in the brand paradigm that is incongruent with today’s consumer behavioral decision-making patters. They think as follows:

  1. I have to speak about my product/service’s best-in-class attributes
  2. Logically, people will want it
  3. The consumer will then naturally buy it
  4. My sales and brand will grow.

But it never works like this because people don’t make purchase decisions rationally.

For example: Famous and VERY successful campaign for Apple’s iPod.

Apple doesn’t talk about download speed, sound quality, music availability, etc. etc. they talk about…well nothing. No words. Just images of joy, fun, play…brought to you by iPod / Apple

Apple knew their customers and showed them what they want. People want fun and laughter and joy. People don’t buy based on how many songs they can store or the maximum volume of a headset.

Example 2: Huge, multi-year campaign for Axe antiperspirant / deodorant body spray

Axe doesn’t talk about body odor, the chemical properties contained within their product to block and prevent unsavory smells. They appeal to the carnal male driver of sex.

So again, why do people buy?

It’s not logic. It’s emotion based on real internal drivers.

Now of course, how do you drill down and figure this out? How do you sort out the product features and get down to the real why of the consumer?

Start asking why…

Let’s use an everyday item like Band-Aids to demonstrate:

Q:       Why do you buy Band-Aids?
A:       In case I, or someone in my family get cuts / hurt

Q:       So that means you’re buying them before something actually happens…Why does that matter?
A:       Because I don’t like bleeding

Q:       Bleeding? Why can’t you use a piece of tissue?
A:       Because Band-Aids stick well and they’re easy to use

Q:       Sticky and easy? Why is that important?
A:       Because I want to get on with my life and being hurt gets in the way

OR I want to ensure my loved ones can get on with their life

Ah…so it’s not really about stopping the blood it’s about caring for yourself or someone you love?


Brand value: Band-Aids: lets you provide care to either yourself or those you love enabling you to quickly and easily get on with your day.

So…why do you buy band-aids?

Open up a box of Band-Aids and what do you see on the inside flap?

“Thank you for caring for those you love.”

These guys get it.

They understand what actually drives a person to make a decision.

There are 5 universal drivers behind why people make decisions and marketers must be bold and tackle the reality that historic, normative traits like money, job, status, race, etc. render marginal results. Digital marketing forces a marketer to go deeper with a consumer and tap into the unique characteristics and motivations. This effort is what’s referred to as profiling or even perhaps personas. It’s strategic skill that unapologetically forces brands to relinquish business-centric approaches and embrace strategies that leverage real-time analytics and customer-centric patterns.

Realize a few things:

  1. Traditional profile attributes still hold value but they are a baseline and don’t get to the drivers behind customer action
  2. Profiling is a critical still aimed at forming a relationship and enabling dialogue for ongoing brand engagement and loyalty
  3. There is NO universal definition for an ideal customer. Not for your company. Not for the companies and brands you serve. Not for any company
  4. Profiles are living, breathing “articulations” that marketers must come back to – and modify – often. People change. Profiles must as well….

Profiling can be a daunting task: embarking on actions where you seek to apply “labels” that inherently differentiate always causes a marketer to have cognitive dissonance: On one hand, our society, media and culture scream out that each person must be respected as individuals, be respected for our uniqueness, be cherished for what makes us what and, be entitled to the opportunities to pursue our own individual freedoms. However, on the other hand, the same society, media and culture is saturated to ensure that all things are seen as fair, the same and without bias.

So the problem remains: how does a marketer generate an astute profile for specific targeting and engagement results while at the same time treat everyone the same?

The answer to this question underlines the need for a changed approach: don’t focus on historic attributes to create delineation but rather, create profiles that get at the 5 universal, motivational drivers of people.

Credit must be given to 4 key individuals in this regard, all of whom have made significant impact in the areas of human psychology, neurology and mental health: Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Mark Hyman and Rick Warren who worked in concert with one-another and collaborated to establish and articulate 5 central driving elements or fundamental facets to each human.

As marketers, realize that if our role is to shape a brand-customer relationship for optimal engagement we need to apply these 5 drivers for optimal resonance in digital marketing, they are as follows:

  1. Faith / beliefs: What a person believe about their life, why they believe it, how it shapes them, what are their priorities
  2. Food: A person’s diet and their perspective on food – do they eat to sustain themself, do they see food as a social thing, do they use food to empower life?
  3. Friends: A person’s social network – do they have a close network, do they see friends helping to make decisions, do they help in times of trial?
  4. Fitness: Caring for oneself – dedication to proper exercise. (there is literally countless volumes of data and research on this topic that point towards how fitness / health drive action)
  5. Focus: In our world of hyper saturated distractions, what are the things that a customer focuses on as priorities and why?

The ultimate role then of a marketer is to intimately understand the value of a brand and how it serves the needs of the customers and, at the same time, understand and form the direct relation that same brand has to a customer in terms of how it speaks to a core driver behind their action.

When you fuse these two strategic elements together, you have a brand truly fit for today’s digital, Dialogue Age. If you can’t get to the root driving needs of a person, you’ll never get to the engagement relationships the brand longs for.

You just proved you understand consumers. Now, how do you get action?

Make digital marketing line-up with the real drivers of human behavior.

Step 5: Putting it into brand marketing action.

You’re now on the edge of excellence.

You’ve just finished:

  1. Proving you have real understanding into the digital world
  2. Proving you can think like a brand (you were ready and knew the problem)
  3. Proving you understand the brand’s current errors
  4. Proving you have real consumer insights to fix it and deploy context marketing

The brand has just said “wow – I never saw that before – I see it now”

Indeed, they are ready for true consumer-first, Context-based, Dialogue Age™brand behavior.

And now you have to put it into action.

Context marketing is a new mindset: “when it comes to marketing, focus on the customer experience and what the customer wants rather than prioritizing what your company wants to market”.

Context marketing is about leadership: what you must do (strategic action set) to present it (the new mindset) for seamless acceptance into their business (priming the way for future success).

Context marketing delivers 4 things:

  1. Customer first.
  2. Human-centric driver messaging for engagement
  3. Long-term content deployment plans to sustain and convert
  4. Analytics for insights to keep relationship powerful and real

This article stated that marketing has BECOME a strategic driver and catalyst for profitable growth. Dialogue Age™digital demands Context Marketing.

When a marketer strategically does the above, success will undoubtedly follow.

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