Effective communication must be in-context

Evergage Blog

Ideas and Strategies for Real-Time Personalization

June 15, 2014 by

Ten years ago, Seth Godin wrote that effective communication with customers must be “anticipated, personal, and relevant.”   I’ve always liked this.

I think another word must be added:  “in-context.”  Effective communication with customers must be in-context.
Let’s imagine a scenario.  I have visited a company’s website and given them permission to contact me about a solution I want to buy for my work.  I anticipate that they will do so.  I am looking forward to the conversation.  They prepare a great personally targeted, relevant response to me.  This has all the makings of effective communication.  
But then they call me at 6:30pm during dinner to deliver their response, or at 11pm when I’m in bed.   This won’t be effective communication.   
Few people outside of telemarketers will make this mistake with a phone call, but everybody makes it with email.  You don’t know when I will be checking my inbox and so it’s likely I will get even your anticipated, personal, and relevant pitch out of context.
We marketers need to think about communicating in context as much as we think about delivering anticipated, personal, and relevant communication.
I’ve analyzed different methods of communicating to customers for how in-context they are across the following three dimensions:
• Speed of response to what the customer says or does
• Is the customer thinking of your business when you communicate
• Is the communication 1 to 1 or 1 to many
One method might need explaining.  In-Context Messaging lets you show a targeted message in real-time in your application or on your website.  You can target it to a group of users based on their behavior and business attributes.  It’s nice because its real-time and in-context.
Different methods of communication are appropriate for different situations, but the more we can make our communication anticipated, personal, relevant AND in-context, the better.
What do you think of this analysis?  What would you add?
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