Yesterday morning I woke up with a strong desire to get away from it all and drive to San Francisco for the day. I tweeted my craving for some city time and received some great tips for events and much encouragement to go. I also received an email that arrived five minutes after my original tweet. It was from hotels.com, the subject line…
"Great Hotels in San Francisco & More - Book Now!"
I normally delete emails from hotels.com straight away but the timing of this one was impeccable, it was like a sign. This email tipped the scales and changed my behavior. I got serious about booking a room, grabbing the family and hitting the road. If it wasn't for a scheduling conflict I'd probably be writing this post from Emporio Rulli coffee shop on Union Square.
The email really got me thinking about the subjects of context and attention. It's already been on my mind since I saw Brian Solis speak at Social Media Masters in San Diego. He delivered a fantastic keynote presentation. One of his slides told us content is no longer king. It's true, we have become overwhelmed us with too many messages. We don't want to listen anymore, many of us spend significant time creating filters in our social tools to narrow the focus of our attention to brands, relationships and products we are interested in.
The filtering of noise has made it harder and harder for marketers to deliver the message THEY want us to hear. The smart marketers however have realized that they need to deliver a message that WE want to hear. Context is now king.
Although the email from hotels.com was surely a coincidence imagine if it wasn't. Just think of a world where companies spend significant time crafting personalized messages not for segments or specific demographics but you, not someone like you, actually you!
Some companies already create content on the fly targeted at individuals based on reading habits, what they've tweeted about, who their friends are and more. This method might just sound too perfect. Companies get to put their products in front of people who are receptive, and those people get a message that's not intrusive, but timely. It's the perfect solution right? Well, it's definitely a step in the right direction but we have to remember that people are smart. It wasn't the marketers that decided content was no longer king it was the consumers. One day they will decide context is no longer king, then what?
I suspect context will be king for some time as it really is a valuable way of thinking about your customer. It's beneficial all round, but it does take work. Please share what you are doing to help deliver messages in the right context. I'd love to explore the subject more deeply.
Oh, and while we're on the subject of context, have you got involved with your local Social Media Club chapter. You really should, we're all in this together to learn.