Marketing Context is Critical for Maximum Results

One of the principles of marketing I constantly remind people about is the importance of appropriate marketing context.

The term “context” means the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, scenario, etc. and for this article, what I mean by marketing context is the appropriateness and sensibility of a particular marketing message delivered to a particular target in a particular way.


Dan Kennedy preaches the importance of the MESSAGE-MARKET-MEDIA pyramid and his simple communication model is a fundamental model for all business owners.  The right message to the right person via the right media is a recipe for success and chances are you’ve heard this before, but what you might not have considered is the critical importance of marketing context.

Marketing context considers who you are communicating with and how you should be communicating with them. For example, you should communicate with your current customers/clients/patients differently than you would communicate to a prospect.  When communicating with a customer, the context of your relationship allows you to be more informal and personal because of the existing relationship.

With a prospect, the relationship has yet to be created, so the context of the relationship is one of a “warm-up period”, where over time, you allow them to get to know, like and trust you.

You’ve probably heard marketing context compared to the dating experience.  Most people do not ask their spouse to marry them on the first date.  There is a courting period, an engagement period and finally marriage, yet many business owners market the same way to all their target audiences.

Let me share a specific example of marketing context and how it relates to day-to-day marketing.  My friend and expert-marketer, Bill Glazer, often shows one of his most successful retail-marketing pieces, which was a four-page letter on yellow legal paper that appeared to be hand-written.  The piece generated a ton of business for his retail store and Bill even won an industry award because of its success.


Other marketers see this and try to emulate Bill’s success and in some cases fall flat because they did not consider the context of the relationship they had with the recipient.  I heard about one story where a marketer basically did the same thing Bill did, but got ZERO RESPONSE.

The reason Bill was successful and this other person was not was because Bill understood the context of the relationship he had with the recipients and why using the handwritten note made sense, whereas the other marketer did not.

In Bill’s situation, he sent the letter to people who already knew him and knew what he stood for (including some pretty outrageous marketing).  The context of the relationship was familiarity and a hand-written letter from Bill was congruent with the relationship.

On the other hand, the marketer who copied the letter, sent it to COLD PROSPECTS!  Think about this for a second.  You receive a funky-looking, handwritten letter from somebody you don’t know.  Does this make sense?

Probably not, which is why his response rate was zero.

As another example, I teach business owners how to improve the attention-grabbing power of their marketing by using copy cosmetics.  These are proven techniques to grab attention and keep the reader reading.  In the case of Bill Glazer’s sales letter he used several techniques, including simulated handwriting.

So even though I am a huge fan of copy cosmetics, there are times when the marketing context dictates I use only a few copy cosmetic techniques.  For example, when I create a multi-step, lead-generation direct mail sequence, I tend to use only the basic copy cosmetic techniques like underlining, boldfacing, subheads, etc. However on subsequent steps, I may techniques that convey a more informal approach, such has handwritten notes, because I have already started a relationship with the reader.  Their use is suitable as the reader starts to get to know me.

You should always be considering the context of your marketing message and consider whether or not it makes sense for your target.  Is it appropriate for the current state of your relationship and the situation surrounding it?  Most importantly, remember, the context is from the point of view of your target – their wants, needs, expectations and not yours!

Marketing context will be a fundamental part of my upcoming Fix Your Follow-Up Workshop on June 1, 2015.  Click here for your invitation!

About Mike Capuzzi

Mike is a publisher, Amazon # best-selling author, and coach for business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders looking to stand out from the competition by authoring, publishing and leveraging short, helpful books. He is the author of 19 books, including two Amazon #1 Best Sellers. Learn more about his publishing opportunities at


  1. Ode to David Ogilvy - Mike Capuzzi on May 12, 2015 at 9:01 am

    […] It depends on the context and situation at hand. So much of effective marketing is about understanding when to do what.  If you search the term “context” on this site, you will find several articles that discuss this, including this one. […]

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