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Contextual Relevance: Do’s and Don’ts – Part 1


Contextual relevance – the practice of delivering the right content through the right channel at the right time to customers at all stages of the buying journey – is the key to capturing and retaining customers in today’s omni-channel, digitally-connected marketplace.

Contextual relevance and the customer life-cycle
A core component of successful customer relationship management is effective post-purchase follow-up.   This leads to repeat business, brand loyalty and advocacy.  To be relevant to your customer, your message content has to change to reflect each stage as the lifecycle advances.

For the first few transactions, depending on size and length of purchase, focus on confirming the value of the product or service purchased. As the customer demonstrates loyalty through repeat business, the message becomes more about encouraging advocacy (seeking referrals), asking for testimonials, and communicating the value of complimentary services or products. Here are some examples of what this might look like in practice:


After a software purchase, for example, the first 30 to 90 days are spent coaching the customer how to extract more value from the product.  This generates loyalty, greater adoption of the software and increased usage rates.  It also makes customers more likely to open future emails because they realize your content can help them, opening the door to additional communications and offers.


One of our clients, AAA, has studied the correlation between their service lines.  As a result, they are likely to know which next product or service to promote and when to promote it.  By studying usage behavior, they can identify “time boxes” to determine the most likely purchase window for an additional service.  For example, it may be the case that for a certain customer segment, insurance products are most likely to be the next product purchased within 6 months of using emergency services, and they can promote accordingly.


Contextual relevance using customer profiles:

By employing pattern recognition around buyer frequencies, you can also send contextually relevant messages based on customer profiles.  Take this example of two photography hobbyists:

Early Adopter

This consumer browses the newest cameras and accessories because they want the latest technology.  Contextual relevance suggests that you send detailed information and buying opportunities for your latest models.

Discount Buyer

This consumer browses the latest technology for a different reason. They want to know when new models come out because they plan to buy the previous version at a better deal.  In this case, contextual relevance would involve letting them know about closeout opportunities on discontinued models.

These examples have focused on how contextual relevance can help increase loyalty and sales among identifiable existing customers. Part 2 of these series, will show how contextual relevance can help capture anonymous prospects who may visit your website or otherwise engage with your brand without identifying themselves. Meanwhile, see below and register for an informative webinar on April 24th that will expand on concepts around contextual relevance in greater detail.

Understanding your customers’ behaviors and reaching them with contextually relevant marketing messages requires robust, accurate customer datasets, cutting-edge analytics and the ability to engage customers through their channels of preference, whatever those channels may be. At ISM we have more than three decades of experience helping best-in-class companies develop these capabilities. Contact us to learn more.

Join ISM and bpm’online for an insightful and informative webinar

Contextual Relevance – the Right Message, through the Right Channel, at the Right Time

Everyone agrees that more relevant marketing generates better results. But what does “more relevant marketing” mean in practice? It means delivering the right content through the right channel at the right time – with appropriate messaging, customized for individual prospects and optimized for wherever they happen to be in their buying journey. This is much more easily said than done.

Join ISM Founder and President, Barton Goldenberg, and Matt Tharp, Chief Evangelist for bpm’online, for an insightful webinar:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
11:00 AM Pacific/ 2:00 PM Eastern
Duration: 1 hour