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Contextual Relevance – Influence and Sales Strategies

Contextual Relevance - Influence and Sales Strategies

Contextual Relevance – Influence and Sales Strategies


Contextual Relevance is where the specific situation we are in has a fundamental influence over the choices we make. Furthermore, there is far greater elasticity in decision-making than most of us perceive depending on the context.

People say yes to propositions that align with our existing reference points, situation, and needs. Context captivates people at the early stages of the decision-making process and helps us cultivate more meaningful relationships.



Context is important to us as it helps us as our brains our constantly striving to determine what is relevant and what not relevant to us. It allows us to assess situations objectively and make decisions on the best course of action to achieve our desired goals. It is this context that surrounds the content that gives it meaning.

If we were to focus in and apply this to a business context – online ads are more likely to be remembered if they appear adjacent to content that is contextually relevant. In fact, a study conducted into online ad relevance agreed with this theory with almost three-quarters (70%) of UK consumers confirming people were more likely to remember an ad or buy something having seen it multiple times if it is adjacent to a contextually relevant ad. 

An example of this principle in action could be after a consumer has purchased a piece of software for themselves or an orgnaisation. Subsequent to the purchase, the first 30 to 90 days are then spent coaching the customer or team members in the organization how to extract more value from the software and maximize it’s capabilities. As a result, this generates customer loyalty, increased software adoption rates and also increases the level of usage too.

Alongside contextual relevance sits behavioral relevance. While relevant behavioral data expires over a period of time as consumers navigate a continually-changing marketplace or environment, leveraging context allows us to inform advertisers what potential customers or consumers are interested in right now rather than relying on their past behaviors. Advertisers can also use this information and data to their advantage by delivering laser-focused and highly targetted, relevant and timely ads. 

Context is also hugely important because it gives advertisers useful data and touch points about the type of content users have been interacting with and are interested in. Advertisers can then leverage this information and then target them with a highly focused, targeted ad that entices the user with related content and messaging, making them more inclined to buy or interact with the ad’s message or call to action.

Contextual advertising also uses a host of other factors to determine which content is most relevant to the users when placing that ad. It targets any potential customers by interpreting this context and making tactical decisions based on this. This could be the content delivered to the user on a webpage, the location the user is accessing the information or ad from or even the weather. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can then take all of this information and data points and then deliver the right ad at the right time to the right users. 

One example of this may be if a user is reading an article about wedding planning, leverage contextual advertising they may be targetted with ads which focus on wedding dresses wedding entertainment or other contextually relevant potential ad-ons you would expect to organize for a wedding.

So why is contextual relevance so important? Well, customer attention has dramatically declined in recent years, so to capture someone’s attention we need to be even savvier and leverage influence strategies to our advantage. The volume of touch points for consumers is, now at an all-time high so delivering highly targeted ads in the context in context is crucial. As a result, we need to evolve the way we deliver interactive digital customer experiences, and leveraging contextual relevance needs to be at one of the fundamental influence strategies we need to deploy.

In a world where we can now buy basically everything instantaneously and online, interactive digital entertainment platforms such as Netflix and Spotify have made customer expectations hit an all-time high so to fulfill their needs, wants and expectations we need to start looking beyond traditional recommendations and standardized cross-sell methods which are channel-specific. In today’s age we need to adopt a more holistic approach to delivering customer digital experiences, touchpoints and the associated data. 

We need to be thinking about tailoring online shopping experiences to each context, and in order to do so, we need to reconsider our approach. The ability to design tailored and unique combinations of customer and content data and then create a bespoke offering to every context in real-time is crucial to giving customers what they need at the time they need it and more often than not, that time is immediate.

So what exactly is the context? We’ve already covered some contextually examples above but other context points include the weather, location, type of device you are using to browse the web, past interactions with past products or services combined with their corresponding touch points, the price range you interact with, specific product categories, and any brands you favor over others. 

Nowadays, the real value for customers and organizations is delivered best when you can combine both contextual data with the more traditional structured, demographic, data that you have built up over time about your customers, such as their location, gender, age, previous purchases and the content you have on the kind of goods and services they have engaged with and bought in the past.


Duncan shares more influence insights and tactical strategies as well as more about the contextual relevance effect on his Youtube Channel on Youtube.com/duncanstevens – to discover more about the contextual relevance effect or to even hire him to speak about influence, sales, leadership or collaboration at your event you can follow the link below. Duncan is a professional keynote speaker and global authority on influence and persuasion. 

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