With all this buzz about content marketing, why are we forgetting about context?

by Blagica Bottigliero

I was running errands yesterday. In the car, seat belt on, drive to one place, finish the errand and then on to the next place.  In and out of the store, pick up the things I need, browse a few aisles, wait in line, pay, etc. One thing was consistent throughout the entire course of the trip - I was checking my phone at different intervals. 

  • At one point, Michael texted me to get XYZ items that weren't on the list.
  • As I was waiting for my cup of coffee, I decided to flow through my friends' Instagram feeds.
  • Someone tweeted me after I parked the car, so I checked it and looked up the name of the business they mentioned in the DM (they were following up on a request I had for a nearby place of biz).
  • Within every store experience, I was checking my phone for deals. I was also scanning bar codes and price checking.
  • In one store, I decided to take a picture of the outfit idea. Something for my evening Pinterest scanning.
  • Finally, I quickly skimmed my Facebook feed as I was waiting to get checked out by one of the stores.
  • When I unpacked everything at home, I plopped on the couch, put my feet up and used my Moto X's remote to change the channel on my Google TV. 

Every example above was about context. I was using different platforms for different needs at different times. Let's take some of the instances above and add a 'What If' element:

  • What if the outfit I snapped had some kind of sensor or device that would know I took a picture. What if that display encouraged me to take a picture of the ensemble? Could it have been possible for that brand to reach out to me later that night and send me a special deal and/or reminder on what I snapped?
  • I was in the checkout lane of a store and hopped on Facebook real quick. I was killing time and checking in on those friends I know the Facebook algorithm throws at me. Could a brand have sent me a targeted message knowing that I'm in my late 30s, it was evening time, Central time, I had two kids and had a few minutes to spare for an update? If so, how refreshing it would have been for that brand to show me an ad that went something like this: 'Hi. Enjoy your mini break/solo time. We like to enjoy by doing X.' Even better, if a brand just acknowledged that I was out and about versus trying to tell me to do something or buy something, bonus. Because I would leave that store with not only my goods, but a reminder of who Brand XYZ is and what they stand for.
  • What if Twitter knew that I was searching for that place of business as a direct result of the DM I viewed (with my permission, of course). Would they then be able to send that data to their advertisers to hit me up with more targeted content later?


The theme here is context. We go to different online platforms for different purposes. I haven't used Tumblr in a while, but it seems to be the holy place for animated gifs. My Instagram feeds are full of gorgeous food platters. It's only a matter of time where Instagram/Facebook team up with some recipe site and enable direct linking and Instacart shopping. 

I'm all for lovely, gorgeous content. But we need to remember that what goes through a person's mind, especially the multi-tasking wizardry of a woman, is what drives platform use. The sooner we respect this intimate detail of a consumer's life, the better we'll all be.

And you can stop putting that same gif on 10 social media platforms.