Context: When is just as important as Who

Back to Basics

I am recent college graduate who owns a smart phone, computer, and tablet and yet if you ask my friends, I am the most difficult to get in touch with. I often leave my cell phone on silent and only check it occasionally. I mute all group conversation. I even shut my laptop down at night. Though I appear to “not be available,” I am still connected to the world. Computers, mobile devices, and wearables are connecting us more than ever and with more and more technology, how do we sort through the data and understand it all?

In the spirit of shared information, let’s discuss Futurist Peter Schwartz’s comment,

“The future of smart devices is ‘intelligent context through intimate computing.’”

Context is the key to understanding, well… everything. I can’t count the amount of lectures in college when we argued about the context for a particular thesis and if it was the most pertinent choice. It is the same for data gathered off of each individual in the current business environment. The context for gathered data starts with who and where aspects. When and why are also critical, but for most data to be actable it needs a face.

Three Dimensional Scoring gives us context for the data we receive by showing not only whether or not the customer is engaged but also indicating if they meet the profile requirements of an ideal customer. Learning your most needed data points is the key to creating your intelligent context. Once the data you need is learned, then you can focus on where to get it. This is where everyone being connected comes into play.

Consider Google Glass and other smart devices like the FitBit or NikeFuel. Like smartphones, these devices will likely become everyday accessories that will inevitably offer marketers the opportunity to send the right content at the right time to the right people. In fact, we are already seeing this with targeted campaigns and Internet advertising. Look at, it suggests items that may be of interest based upon past purchasing behavior. Admittedly, at least 90% of the time I am interested in these suggestions. But knowing who your customer is and what they want is only part of the puzzle. I enjoy coffee but I don’t want a Starbucks ad to pop up during the college football game I’m watching Saturday afternoon. Knowing “the when” is becoming increasingly important in marketing due to the amount of available data and increasing use of technology.

The context of a situation must be considered by all departments — not just marketing. The most obvious department that would [and should] align with marketing is sales. Check out Lauren’s post, Sales and Marketing Alignment, for real to learn more.