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Campaign marketing is dead. Long live contextual marketing.

That's the message today from Forrester Research as it formally embraced the evolution from an age when marketers convinced people to buy things to an age where marketers simply help people find what they intend to buy.

Explaining the change, the influential Massachusetts research house insisted that companies must build "contextual marketing engines" that include "marketing automation, real-time analytics, customer databases and personalized content delivered contextually throughout the customer life cycle."

Today's Tipping Point

While this trend has been developing for years, Forrester declared the actual tipping point at the opening of its Forum for Marketing Leaders in three back-to-back speeches by Forrester vice presidents Melissa Parrish, David Cooperstein and Carlton Doty. A pair of formal studies -- the principal authors are Doty and Parrish -- are scheduled for publication by Forrester next Monday; CMSWire obtained advanced copies.

The first paper, Create Marketing Your Customers Can Use, reports half of online American adults are "always addressable," which means they use at least three Internet-connected devices and get online several times a day from multiple locations. "This gives marketers more opportunities than ever before to engage their customers in meaningful ways -- or to screw it up," said the paper written by Parrish and co-authored by Doty, Cooperstein, Olivia French and Luca Paderni.

"These are empowered customers who are forcing businesses to enter the age of the customer" because they have lots of buying power, ignore conventional ads, and are especially large in the younger generations that are destined to dominate the marketplace of the future, the report said.

For example, of households with income of $70,000 to $99,000, 54 percent are always addressable; the percentage rises to 60 for those with incomes upwards of $100,000. In Gen X, 54 percent are always addressable, but the numbers rise to 65 and 68 percent for Generations Y and Z, respectively.

Make Yourself Useful

"Your most desirable customers don't trust shallow branded messages but are exposed to more of them than other customers because of their perpetual digital connections," said the paper.

Customers are "willing to interact" with companies, if the companies can recognize what is happening. "You must first accept a hard truth: All of the interactions your customers have with your brand define it, and it is the context of those interactions that determines if they'll interact and transact with you again," the report said.