Andrew Smith, Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Grapeshot, talked about the critical impact of context on customer experience.
“I’m here to talk about why context is more important than ever in terms of today’s marketplace and the way that data and privacy are shifting,” stated Smith at the outset of his thought leadership presentation at the 2018 Leadership in Digital Marketing Forum held on June 6 in San Francisco. “So, let’s define context. Context is the relationship between a piece of content and its environment. Consider your brand message and what you do with it. You create great content, and you identify the right person to send it to. Context brings them together in the right place,” he said.
“Context brings true relevance to the customer experience. The easiest way to explain context is to take it away, because that’s when you truly realize it’s all around you, and it evolves over time. A consumer’s opinion of a product or brand is altered by the environment in which they see it, and getting that connection right is now more important than ever. Being able to capture and retain audiences is a fleeting thing,” Smith explained.
“Consumer culture has changed how businesses and brands operate and, although consumers are more engaged than ever before, they’re becoming harder to reach thanks to legislation like the recently instituted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We’ve hit this crescendo with the introduction such legislation–consumer consent isn’t going to happen, because they don’t see value. So we have to redefine and rediscover value,” he emphasized.
“The most powerful way of delivering value is delivering the right message in the right environment–which can mean making sure that it’s not in the wrong one. This is where context can help. But how do you find the right environment? It’s harder than ever today, as consumer attention is fragmented across so many devices and channels. To find these audiences, you need to connect with the moments that you didn’t know existed, which is where contextual intelligence comes into play,” he said.
“Contextual Intelligence focuses on the environment, not on the consumer. It’s about finding the trends and connections you don’t know about. It’s about understanding the content around which your message is being sent. This could be any of a variety of mediums such as publisher-page content, app-store descriptions, and even the instream transcription of digital video assets. When you’re in the right moment, consumers resonate with your brand. These are the moments that provide opportunities for you to drive brand lift and conversions.”
Smith continued, “Research shows that 45% of consumers state they’d abandon a brand if its ads appeared next to offensive digital content or ‘fake news.’ So environment is a critical consideration. There’s a real risk out there—some of it is obvious and some of it is more nuanced. Customer loyalty is a critical metric, and it just takes one wrong moment for a reputation to be destroyed. What’s really at risk when we talk about brand safety is trust and what that means for the retention of brand equity,” he said.
“While looking for right moments and the appropriate context, there are obvious risks including the usual suspects—crime, obscenity, drugs, and arms, for example. However, the unique needs for each brand need to be taken into account. What works for one brand won’t work for another.”
Smith summarized by stating, “The changing nature of content is both an opportunity and a threat, so while brand safety is just as much about identifying a safe space, it’s also about finding a welcome space for the sensitivities of your brand by finding connections that you didn’t know existed. Context helps with this.”