Customer Contextomy: Marketing’s Mandate to Identify, Understand and Engage the Customer

Friday, April 15, 2016

Contextomy happens when we quote something out of context in a way that distorts the intended meaning of the content. In the late 1990s, quotes were used out of context in movie posters; critics were quoted as saying “It’s terrific!” when they really said, “It’s a terrific waste of time!” Today “contextomy” has lost meaning.

In the data-laced marketing world, buzzwords like “big data” and “content marketing” reign supreme. It’s time to reexamine the concept. For marketers, contextomy happens most frequently when we seek to engage with the customer using incorrect or misplaced assumptions about customer behavior. To deliver truly personalized experiences with customers, marketers must deploy new, more intelligent customer engagements that take content and context into account. Context doesn’t come from loose data indicators; rather, it comes from understanding who each customer is, as well as customers’ past, present and likely future behavior. Context also comes from understanding customer channels, timing and environment. Marketers must remember to do this at scale.

Customers expect relevance and connection with the brands they choose. There is a new social contract between brands and buyers based on the use of customer data to enhance the user’s experience. This makes the experience more personal and delivers contextual value to the individual customer’s life—not the lives of people who are similar to them. This can have one of two outcomes: a terrific customer experience or a terrific waste of time. Not understanding the difference will have a direct and possibly negative impact on commerce and engagement.

To explore marketing’s mandate to better identify, understand and engage with today’s customers in a rich, contextual and real-time manner, the CMO Council, in partnership with SAP, hosted a one-hour interactive webcast to join brand leaders to discuss and debate where and how context, content and the customer must converge in today’s commerce journey. 


Liz Miller, SVP Marketing- CMO Council

Bernard Chung, Sr Director, Global Solution Marketing- SAP

JP Kuehlwein, Executive Vice President – Frederic Fekkai

Gerald Youngblood, Director of Worldwide Channel Marketing – AMD