“The Context Marketing Revolution – How To Motivate Buyers in the Age of Infinite Media” by Mathhew Sweezey – A HBR Press Book Essentials Review

The Context Marketing Revolution – How To Motivate Buyers in the Age of Infinite Media

“The Context Marketing Revolution”, the new HBR Press marketing title, looks at how the marketing should change in the brave new digital world, in order to become more:

    • effective, i.e. reach the future consumer,
    • efficient, i.e. reach ONLY the future consumers, not bother other audiences, and
    • efforts-economical, i.e. not drain the company’s coffers (and fill the FANG accounts) in the process.

Did the new HBR Press title achieve its goals? Read on to find out my views on it :).

What is true about the relatively new digital distribution channels:

  1. Leaves most marketeers scratching their heads: where are the consumers hidden? What do they read today? What are they moved of?
  2. Are super-fickle: what works this year will not work in the next. Period.
  3. Are super-tangled with the digital actors strategies. I call this “The Big Noise” (copyright R.H. 2020). The channels themselves are banging the drums and changing the marketo-speech so much, that it becomes really hard to distinguish what really works and with is digi-hype.

What is FALSE for the new digital distribution / comm. channels:

F1. They will work for every type of product. WRONG. Nobody buys a flat or toothpaste only after watching a couple of testimonials on YouTube. Or if they do, they are a minority.

F2. The new marketing channels are superior to all others. Not in all aspects – marketing is about fine-tuning your message to the final consumer, not about using the “best” channel.

F3. They are about the classical brands. Here “The Context Marketing Revolution” got it really well and conveys the point: the new marketing revolution is about influencers, not about bragging and selling the attributes of your product.

So how is the context marketing supposed to work? Mathew Sweezey, the marketing strategy director of Salesforce, argues that there are several important factors at play before throwing your company in the market ring:

  1. Infinite media – Marketing content grows constantly and exceeds any human span of attention possible. So to get to the consumer, the message needs to tick several key factors.
  2. JIT online – create products and deliver them at the same pace with the consumer needs. Timing is, as lawyers like to ink in their contracts, “of essence”.
  3. Build on customer experiences, not on content for them. Content is excedent – what matters is to get it right at the customer touch-point: meet their expectations, give something extra all the time, minimize their hassles. Very similar to what strategy gurus keep saying about customer experiences since 20 years.
  4. Choose the right marketing mix (oh, those great faculty “Marketing Strategy” courses, aren’t you missing them :)?). Create the RIGHT message for the TARGET audience and FINETUNE it for the channel – naturally, digital media has several specific features which need to be taken into account when launching yourself into action.

So, did “The Context Marketing Revolution” get it right? 

Yes and No.

Yes for re-shaping the functional marketing strategies needed in the new digital revolution context. This was a long overdue academic exercise and I am yet to see such a good book rounding the picture nicely together.

No because “The Context Marketing Revolution” is valid for certain types of products and businesses and channels (look at the previous as a product of factors. Ignore this at your own peril!

Title: “The Context Marketing Revolution” 

Author: Matthew Sweezey

Publishing house: Harvard Business Review Press

Publishing date: March 2020

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