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Five Best-Practices for Real-Time Contextual Marketing

by Justin Foster  |  
September 11, 2015
  |  3,404 views

These days, marketing to people based on their real-time context is all the rage. However, although real-time contextual marketing can drive strong results, marketers need to think carefully about whether it's right for their business.

Not all organizations may be a fit for real-time contextual marketing—but many are. How do you know if it's right for your business?

It's key to understand that real-time contextual marketing isn't just one "thing." A variety of content can be triggered based on five primary real-time "pillars," and within each lie multiple opportunities for using real-time content:

  1. Geolocation: live weather forecast targeting, live maps, temperature, location-based offers
  2. Time: countdown timers, time-of-day/week/month messages, expiring offers/discounts, social feeds, breaking news
  3. Device: embedded video, app download buttons, mobile deep-linking
  4. Language: alternate-language hero image, multilingual articles or ads
  5. Performance: real-time creative/offer testing, with winners chosen dynamically based on click or conversion metrics

For example, an airline might be especially sensitive to real-time offers based on time-of-day since airfares change so frequently, but it might be less so to social context as a business driver. A consumer packaged goods brand might be more sensitive to social context, but less so to time-based offers or device-targeted messaging.

If your business is not sensitive to timed offers, social relevance, weather, mobile usage, or the geolocation of your openers, real-time contextual marketing may not be the best fit.


If, however, your business is a good candidate for sharing such content with your prospects and customers based on their real-time context, the following five best-practices should help drive success for your program.

1. Determine the quick wins and test iteratively

Often, it's best to start with real-time content that's easy to implement and which also delivers the highest expected value to the business. A good partner can sometimes help to identify these likely "quick win" candidates.


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Justin Foster is a co-founder and the VP of market development for Liveclicker, a technology company focused on creating rich customer experiences for leading brands across email and the Web.

LinkedIn: Justin Foster

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  • by Devika Girish Tue Sep 22, 2015 via web

    Very informative read, Justin. Thanks for sharing. I totally agree with what you said. While contextual marketing is in rage now, it is highly critical for marketers to know exactly what kind of offers is their business sensitive to. And one of the best technologies that enables businesses to reach out to customers at the right time, at the place is iBeacon technology. However, many marketers even today are unaware of how to begin planning their beacon strategy. We [beaconstac] are conducting a upcoming webinar on everything you need to know about planning a successful beacon pilot.

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