Every marketer knows the three rules of marketing: content, content, content.

Write quality content for your blog, capture quality pictures for Twitter, and create useful eBooks to download. This is all well and good (and important), but don’t forget another key truth: context, context, context!

The Issue

You can create the best masterpiece in the world, but if it does not resonate with your audience, it might as well just hang in a coffee shop.

This is where context or persona marketing comes in – the art of knowing whom you are speaking to and how to connect to them.

  • Are they Male or Female?
  • Do they drive a Subaru Outback or Toyota Camry?
  • What’s their favorite type of music?
  • How would they design a spice rack for a blind person?
  • Is it a fashion faux-pas for them to wear socks with sandals?

Even though these seem like random questions, each one gives you a greater insight into each person you are communicating with.

Marketing is all about delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time (another tweet-able quote by Anonymous). Content marketing focuses on crafting the right message. Context marketing focuses on understanding who the right person is, crafting the right message for them, and doing so at the right time.

Content marketing focuses on crafting the right message. Context marketing focuses on understanding who the right person is, crafting the right message for them, and doing so at the right time.

Why can’t I just simply write great material and end up having the right people find me?

You definitely could, and I’m sure you may find a little success in doing so, but your results will be severely diminished.

Have you heard how novice duck hunters often fail their first time shooting? It isn’t always because they are a poor shot, but because they don’t focus on one particular duck and instead blindly shoot into a group of ducks.

How do you develop a greater understanding of the context of your target market?

Listen. Watch. Observe. Stereotype, but not to demean (of course, holding these loosely, as we are all fearfully and wonderfully made).

Recognize that people act one way on Instagram and another on Facebook. Start off with simple demographics (gender, age, location, income, vocation) and build from there. Read on for 3 Steps To Refine Your Context Marketing Plan.

Joe’s Jeans

Before investing in Joe’s Jeans, I found out that they targeted females who buy denim jeans, are usually 32 years-old, a working professional with an income of roughly $140,000 per year, typically have no children, currently have 7 pairs of high-end jeans, and also tend to buy a new pair every 2 months (Disclaimer: As of this writing, I’m long JOEZ).

See how much added value they now can bring to their content because of this focus on the context of their best buyer?

If I were in their jeans, I’d further segment my clients: maybe women in their forties have three kids and earn $200,000 per year, but buy four pairs per month to stay “hip,” while the younger, unmarried women getting started in their blockbuster career only buy high-end, vintage jeans once every six months.

Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to determine who you are speaking to and their key touch points so that your message clicks with all who are generous enough to listen.

3 Steps To Refine Your Context Marketing Plan


1. Create 5 key customer profile personas

Name them in a way that reminds you about the customer, give them an age (or age range), describe them in detail.

“Dudley Do Wright is a 30-40 year-old, small business owner that wants to be an integral part of his community. He often attends fundraisers and gives to local charities that tug at his heart strings. Sometimes, he even enjoys making donations when no one notices. He is an all-American, simple family-man who enjoys the great outdoors.”

Some of you may have the luxury of getting this right your first go as you’ve got a lot of available data to sort through. But, for those of you just starting out (or perhaps haven’t been tracking your information as you should be), you will realize that some of this information may be off in describing your 5 best buying customer types, and that’s fine.

It’s a lot easier to be specific at first and later become more generic than to be generic and magically find the specifics later. Even if you end up being too specific when you write, most people tend to breeze over those important items the first round through so try to go deep. When you key in on your buyer personas and begin to speak their language, there will start to be a sense of connection they make with you.

2. Figure out their aspirations, their pain-points, their desires, and WHEN they experience them.

“Although Dudley has no desire to become a conglomerate, corporate company, he does want his current venture to become the next landmark business of Suburbia.

He recognizes, though, that while he has a lot of time and flexibility, as his business grows, in order to not constantly sacrifice his relationship with his family, he needs to hire out responsibilities to those that can grow that part of his business more effectively.

He has especially realized his need to switch as the summer season is right around the corner, one of the busiest times for his flip-flop business.

“While very capable of doing this himself, Dudley hired Pamiris to take care of his Payroll, Time-tracking, and other HR needs and Fannit to help analyze, strategize, and implement a killer Inbound Marketing plan to help improve his online ROI. With that new added freedom, he can look focus on the other aspects of the business he excels in while letting others take care of areas in their expertise.”

Quick side-note: Most people in America aren’t looking to get their needs filled. There is a major difference in how we respond to our needs vs. our wants, not to mention how much more people pay to fulfill their desires.

People pay 50¢ per pound for regular bananas, but pay an extra $1.00 per pound if it’s organic, fair-trade bananas (I’ve got a rant against fair-trade, but I’ll save that for another time). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing by any means, just realize which market you are truly serving.

3. Know the lingo, look the part, and act natural.

Every culture has words or phrases that contain particular significance only to them. If I told you that I “took my W/G deck to the PT and I ended up 8th after scuffing up my side-board round 2, adding in a grave bramble as she steamrolled me with a bazillion 2 drops, but game 2 she sided into a mid-range deck with removal,” most of you would have no idea what I just said.

However, those of you who play Magic: The Gathering know exactly what I said and what I was referring to and would also have a stronger connection to me because of it.

This is the same philosophy as to why inside-jokes are very effective: it isolates those who don’t understand, but in so doing, creates a greater bond towards those in-the-know. The trick is to know who to specifically isolate, the message to give them, and, as always, when to do so.

By the way, if you care for the translation, in short I stated that I took a deck of cards to a Pro-Tour tournament (implied for Magic: The Gathering) and ended up in the top 8, but lost because I modified my deck incorrectly in the 2nd game (for those wondering, I did not actually do this)

Now, when it comes time to create the perfect message, you know exactly how to do so everytime!