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Is Your Content The Right Fit For Your Audience? Learn About Context Marketing And How to Apply it

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Is Your Content The Right Fit For Your Audience? Learn About Context Marketing And How to Apply it

Successful businesses know ‌their consumers are constantly evolving. The modern consumer is selective when they consume media. They don’t appreciate top-down marketing strategies anymore. Rather, they want businesses to cater their content according to their needs and not the other way round.

Context marketing is an excellent solution for any brand that wants to up its advertising game. It’s a consumer-centric approach that involves pushing relevant content to your target audience based on what they’re doing at that moment. The ultimate goal is to ‘catch’ your consumers when they’re engaging in an activity that is related to your brand.

For example, a woman is searching for an easy recipe on YouTube to make lunch for her children. She clicks on the video she wants to watch and a pre-roll runs before she can access her content. The pre-roll is advertising a bento/lunchbox brand. The woman finds this to be useful and clicks on the provided link to purchase bento boxes for her children. This would be a context marketing win.

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Context Vs Content Marketing: The Guide

Brands that regularly advertise know all about content marketing but here’s a quick recap just in case.

Content marketing is all about content creation and sharing. You can create multiple forms of digital content pieces, including but not limited to short and long-form videos, static graphics, 2D/3D animations, blog posts, and 360 videos. This content is intended to generate interest in a brand but doesn’t specifically use consumer preferences as insights.

Context marketing is different because it uses data-driven insights to target your consumers at the most relevant times. Brands can select from a variety of options to create a contextual campaign that makes consumers pay attention because it promotes something they need at any given moment.

For example, if you were advertising a call masking app using a content marketing strategy, you would create a bunch of posts promoting the app. You’d post these on your social media and use media spends to advertise it to a general audience. This strategy might work, but it won’t get you the ROI you need.

Alternatively, you could use a context marketing strategy and place ads for the app in YouTube videos involving pranks. You could also use Google AdSense and have your ads pop up when people search for privacy concerns when making phone calls. This strategy would ensure you hit your marketing KPIs and would be much more efficient.
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Why Does Context Marketing Work?

It’s a good time to segue into the whys of context marketing. Why should your brand adopt a context marketing strategy? What’s in it for you? These are great questions to ask and the answers will reassure you.

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Here’s why context marketing works for advertisers:

Context Converts 

The key to getting crazy conversions is to study your consumers’ journey. Traditional marketing focused on a funnel approach, where the brand would guide the consumer towards purchase. Context marketing asks you to consider the consumers’ needs before pushing content to them. Adopting this strategy leads to better content performance and an impressive conversion rate.

Context is Affordable 

Brands can get efficient results that are lighter on the pocket than a content-based approach. There’s no need to create endless campaigns to sell your product or services. You can use one or two key content pieces, target them to pop up at the right time, and enjoy successful results.

Context is Retained 

All brands want to break through clutter. In an over-saturated digital space, thumb-stopping power is king. Context marketing allows brands to increase both Top of Mind (TOM) and recall because it creates brand equity, i.e. provides consumers with branded yet impactful experiences. These make them less likely to forget about the brand.
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How to do Context Marketing the Right Way

Context marketing should be your go-to strategy across the various touchpoints in your marketing plan. The approach applies to ideation, comms, and even your brand’s digital eCommerce strategy. We will discuss implementation in greater detail below.

An efficient context marketing strategy simultaneously identifies and solves consumers’ problems or pain points. Brands shouldn’t be worried about getting eyes on their products. They should be more concerned about solving key issues that their consumers have, to increase their customer base and win loyalty over time.

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Keeping this in mind, these are some of the points to consider when formulating your brand’s context marketing strategy:

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1.   Use Popular Platforms to Craft Experiences

According to Statista, approximately 6.648 billion people own smartphones around the world. This is a staggering number because it accounts for almost 83.72% of the global population. Any successful brand knows they have to be where their consumers are, which is to say on smartphones.

Brands can utilize context marketing to create relevant experiences for consumers right on their cellphones. An efficient and uncomplicated way to do this is to follow PUBG’s example.

The mobile game collaborated with K-Pop girl group BLACKPINK last year to create a set of in-game billboards, electronic displays, and custom outfits for playable characters. With K-Pop on the rise, BLACKPINK placed themselves in a relevant space and targeted gaming consumers so they would create a positive association around both the brand and the band.

Context marketing through mobile phones is also possible through geotargeting. Dominos ran a successful campaign where they pushed offers and deals to consumers based on their exact location. This was all done in real-time; consumers got texts urging them to order Dominos with a unique discount for their area. The campaign was a major win and resulted in a high conversion rate for Dominos.

This model can be replicated: imagine efficiently reaching consumers through texts or voicemail at the time they need it most. Their brand love would increase exponentially.

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2.   Place CTAs in Effective Spaces

All branded content being pushed in online spaces should include a Call To Action (CTA). Context marketing works when a potential consumer sees your advert in a space where it’s hyper-relevant.

For example, if an employer is browsing online about “remote culture”, they would be open to seeing an advertising blog about remote work. A strong CTA like “Visit Here!” might give them the extra push they need to open your webpage.

3.   Create Spaces for Social Sharing

Virality can make or break brands in this digital age. Brands can amp up their shareability with a focused context marketing strategy. A good example to follow is to look at what Buzzfeed does.

Buzzfeed is a content giant and it works solely on the principle of social sharing. If your friend enjoys an article or quiz made from Outgrow Quiz Maker, they will send you the link. You will engage with the content piece, earning Buzzfeed revenue, and you might share it forward, too. Buzzfeed engineers this process by customizing the sharing buttons on the bottom of its web pages.

So, based on a consumer’s online habits, the article they see will have specific buttons for the social media sites they visit most. Frequent Instagrammers will see the Gram button first in order, whereas Twitter users will see the blue bird. This is a smart way to contextualize your content since it places the audience in the top spot.

Brands can also incentivize social sharing and/or engagement. For example, everyone knows how to rate an app but not everyone wants to do it. Your brand can offer a small incentive such as a discount coupon or a BOGO offer to get consumers to rate your app. It seems like a small gesture but this kind of context marketing can increase retention and build a positive association around the brand for the audience.

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Bonus: Contextualize your Marketing with Facebook

It’s worthwhile to note that Facebook is an important platform for brands looking to deploy context marketing. Numerous Facebook groups cater to almost every niche you can think of. Some of these groups also allow brands to covertly advertise their products or services cleverly.

For example, an FMCG brand can offer a month’s or year’s worth of goods to users that engage with its digital campaign in the group. Consumers love when brands engage with them in a personal space as long as they’re not obnoxious about it and Facebook groups are a good way to do that.

Facebook also makes it possible to target ads based on what users have liked or engaged with. If you like a page about rock climbing, for example, you’re likely to start seeing adverts from brands selling safety gear or sports apparel. This makes it possible for brands to pull in new customers from a specific pool, meaning they increase their TOM for their audience.

Whether you leverage Facebook or Google to contextualize your adverts, the point of note is that context marketing works. It delivers results backed by data, allows for reduction in marketing spends and content budgets, and enables businesses to build brand equity through relevant and impactful consumer experiences.


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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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