Contextual Blindness & One-Size-Fits-All Marketing Ep. 05
In this eye-opening episode, we delve into the concept of “Contextual Blindness” in marketing and its profound impact on the way we connect with our audience.
Discover how mainstream marketing often overlooks individual context, leading to an imbalance in the power dynamic between business owner and client/customer. And instead explore a more authentic and trust-based approach to marketing, where providing context empowers your audience to make informed decisions.
If you’ve ever felt hesitant about marketing, this episode offers a fresh perspective that can transform your approach. Don’t miss it!
Show Notes Contextual Blindness & One-Size-Fits-All Marketing Ep.05
I’m really looking forward to this episode with you this week. Because, honestly, I saw this phenomenon and I want to share it with you. Like when you see something amazing, like an eagle catching a fish and you look around like, “is anyone else seeing this?”
A Story About Asking for Advice
This past summer, someone I follow asked an innocuous question and it gave me a new perspective on marketing. So, let’s get into this.
This young man asked for advice on when to leave for the airport. Unlike the regular crap-storm that can sometimes be social media, nearly all the responses were reasonable and what really surprised me was that they all gave him what I would call contextual advice. What I mean is that they gave him recommendations that are dependent on his circumstances like whether he:
- Parks a car or takes a taxi (because you want to factor in time to park your car)
- Checks bags or carries on (because you want to consider time for checking bags)
- Travels with family or solo (because the more people and small people and elders will do better with a little extra time)
- Lives near a major airport or secondary airport (major airport may have much longer lines)
- Travels during peak hours or a quiet part of the day (Again thinking about how many other people are going to be around and may also be trying to check-in, go through security, etc.)
- Had the Airport “Fast-Pass” ID that allows you to move through the security line faster.
- And even whether he liked the airport vibe and would appreciate some chill time before his flight.
This makes total sense, am I right? This kind of discourse makes sense. So you might be wondering why this was so striking to me.
I was struck by how vastly different this advice came across when I compared it to common mainstream marketing approaches.
I mean, when was the last time that you saw marketing that was contextual.
Why Are We Taking the Context out of Marketing?
I realized those giving advice understood that there wasn’t a single, best, only right time to leave for the airport.
While marketing advice is often to position yourself as the only way to get to the result. (I introduced this idea in episode 4, so if you haven’t listened to that episode it will introduce why this can be a harmful path to travel down). Instead these social followers and friends gave him the factors would help him to make a quality decision.
Instead of assuming that they knew everything about him, like what liked or how he liked to travel, they trusted that he knew his circumstances better than them. The advice empowered him with information and gave him the responsibility to make the best decision.
SO much different that what you often see from people marketing.
And as I scrolled through the advice it was abundantly clear that no one was trying to convince or sell Dickie on their advice being the one right time to leave for the airport. No one had a vested interest in his decision. No one was marketing. And that made an obvious difference in the nature of the responses.
You can imagine the opposite would be something like, “Everyone has to arrive 2 hours before your flight, and with all that extra time you can get a massage at my shop so that you can be relaxed before you travel.” Or “I have a white-glove shuttle service that eliminates all the hassle so you don’t have to waste hours at the airport and can walk right to your gate.”
Defining Contextual Blindness
This idea of giving advice or sharing an offer without knowing the context or whether it might be a good fit is what I can ‘Contextual Blindness.’ And assuming that you know best or creating marketing material that doesn’t consider the context for the people receiving your messages can make marketing feel terrible for heart-first entrepreneurs.
Marketing a course, program or approach being the best, right only way no matter the individual context is at odds with the way that many of us naturally support other humans.
Unlike the “corporate” business model that is all about making the sale and convincing people that our work or business is the one to choose, we are more interested in someone getting support in a way that would be genuinely valuable for them (whether or not that means working with you or not).
Some people might say that’s poor sales skills and I strongly disagree and here’s why. Let’s use the airport example – let’s say I “sell you” on the idea the time that the most successful travelers leave is 1 hour before your flight. And without my knowing your context you miss your flight. I maybe sold you that time and the chance of selling you again is very limited. On top of that the likelihood that you’re going to recommend my advice to someone you know also very slim (EVEN IF for them 1 hour would fit them and their context).
So marketing and convincing someone with this Contextual Blindness cost me a long-term client and any potential future referrals. Providing advice that’s best for the person regardless of whether or not that advice benefits you is what creates trust – and even if they don’t work with you now that kind of integrity creates quality relationships that last. And sustainable business are a function of quality relationships.
Add MORE Context to Your Marketing
I think that seeing contextual blindness playing out in other’s marketing or having experienced purchasing something that was not right for us can make us tentative to market our work. Because we don’t want to create a similar experience for someone else – which is a noble intention. But avoiding marketing all-together to prevent that from taking place isn’t the answer.
Instead we can focus on providing excellent context. We can be explicit with exactly who are offer serves best (and who would be best served elsewhere). We can provide thorough information about our process and what’s involved and what they can expect. And we can feel good about our marketing when the focus is on giving our people the information they need and trusting that they can make the best decision for them because they know their context best.
Which ends up taking a lot of pressure off of you and your marketing to either be the answer for everyone or spend energy convincing people to work with you.
I hope this idea of contextual blindness has opened up a new way of seeing marketing for you, like it did for me.
The Next Episode
The next episode is going to be about the common mistakes that reluctant marketers make of using force, pressure, or shame to try to motivate themselves to do more marketing. And why that often backfires.
Hey! I’m Amanda Jane
I’m the host of Not Marketing. It’s my mission to redefine marketing and that brought me to start the podcast to help introverted, intuitive, highly-sensitive solopreneurs like you connect and share your work with the world in a way that’s natural for you.