Sunday, November 11, 2007

Context is a Very Big Thing!!

I had a discussion with an industry colleague through the week about what we thought were going to be some interesting trends in online advertising over the next twelve months… it is a VERY big topic and we covered a lot (I might try and get a few more blogs out on it in the next few weeks), but one item which we are talking about more and more with our clients is the importance of context… and trust me, context is a an important trend for 2008 and beyond.

Context is about adding new dimensions to the enormous power of online advertising; using digital channels to connect an offer and the ability to act on the offer. We’ve known for a while that the potential of online advertising is enhanced by using technology to increase the granularity of advertising (making many very specific, very relevant offers suited to small groups of customers). We also know that by using a combination of digital channels we can add timeliness (being able to make an offer when it is important to customers) and location (being able to make an offer based on where a customer is physically located). Each of these individually adds a lot to online advertising, but together they take it to a whole new level.

Over the next year, we will see more and more companies talking about the importance of combining relevance, timeliness and location to service a key element which drives many (if not most) buying decisions – context. Context is about understanding the why, the when and the where of the actions of a consumer so we can provide an offer which best services the needs of the consumer.

Context is important. As we go through another year of astounding growth in online advertising (with the share of total advertising for many advertiser expected to go above 25% of total budgets in 2008) there will be more pressure on marketers to refine their execution of online advertising and to deliver the right outcomes for their business. One of the ways in which this can be executed is by delivering offers to customers which are the RIGHT offers, at the right time and in the right context for the targeted customer.

The enabler of contextual advertising is technology and understanding how to leverage technology for effective digital marketing.

For marketers, 2008 needs to be a year in which you make a “contextual ability audit.” You need to assess whether or not you have the information about your customers, the sophisticated inventory of targeted offers for each of your customer segments and the tools, technologies and processes to deliver these context based offers. You can be rest assured that if you don’t ….. your competitors do.

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