What does it mean to contextualize? The Business Dictionary describes it as the ability to formulate an idea the helps define a concept. Contextualization is a long word that describes a simple skill – being able to understand why something happens and how to make it relevant to a specific audience. It is a technique used in linguistics, theology and education to drive a point home and make it mean something.
In project management, it requires you to use your imagination to make every marketing campaign personal.
Contextualization in Action
Let’s look at an example. If umbrella sales go up every April, a savvy marketer looks for the why behind that increase and capitalizes on it.
- Who is buying these umbrellas?
- What is the weather like?
- Where are the umbrellas located in the store?
By putting yourself into the role of the ideal customer, you create a persona that connects you to the audience.
- It is raining cats and dogs out.
- I walk into a store dripping wet.
- The first thing I see is a display full of nice, dry umbrellas.
- What happens next?
Contextualization is part psychology and part storytelling. It allows you to target the right audience with optimized content.
The Right Product in the Right Place
Think about that umbrella client for a minute and picture the ideal location. Is Phoenix, Arizona the first place that pops into your mind? Probably not, but Seattle, Washington is a good bet. That doesn’t mean your client doesn’t sell the occasional umbrella in Phoenix, it just means that is not the place to focus your marketing campaign. Through conceptualization, you are imaging a person that lives in a rainy environment instead of a dry, hot one.
The Right Audience for the Right Product
Who buys umbrellas? There is a certain sensibility that comes with umbrella ownership. Teens and children may have umbrellas, but they get them from their parents, so the target is late 20’s or older.
How about the quality of the umbrella? Is a parent living paycheck to paycheck going to spend money for a top of the line umbrella? If I’m buying expensive umbrellas, I probably wear a suit every day.
Through conceptualization, you individualize the marketing approach and put the right product with the right audience.
The Right Channel for the Right Audience
Today, pretty much everyone is mobile regardless of age, location or salary range, but what am I doing on that smartphone or tablet? Focus your online content to fit the right audience using tools like geolocationing and targeted demographics.
The Right Mood for the Right Channel
People buying umbrellas are not sitting at home eating bon bons watching cartoons. They are out running errands and buying groceries. Umbrella marketing should be action oriented to appeal to that busy, on-the-go person who can’t let the rain slow them down.
Using your imagination, you can build a story around your marketing strategy to target and engage the perfect audience with contextualization