What is Customer Context

During our work with mobile app developers and retailers, we are constantly surprised that there is an obvious misunderstanding of customer context. These groups view context from their own point of view rather than from the customer point of view. In many cases, mobile app developers and retailers are using the term “context” inappropriately when merchandizing (retailing) to customers.

Any communication with the customer should really focus on relevancy. Relevancy meaning TLC. That is, a message to the customer is relevant ONLY when the customer’s Time, Location and Context are considered.And Context is always customer (buyer) determined. What context should be taken as is “what is the customer’s meaning of context?”

We needed to research the ‘definition’ of context. This was to help us understand why there is an obvious disparity between the point of view for the supplier/retailer and that of the customer. Here’s what we found:

Definitions of Context:

  1. the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  2. surrounding conditions; the circumstances or events that form the environment within which something exists or takes place (Bing Dictionary)
  3. background, environment, framework, setting, or situation surrounding an event or occurrence.(Business Dictionary)
  4. the whole situation, background, or environment relevant to a particular event, personality, creation, etc. (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
  5. the conditions and circumstances that are relevant to an event, fact, etc. (Collins Dictionary)

Definitions of contextualization:

  1. to place (a word, event, etc.) into a particular or appropriate context for the purpose of interpretation or analysis (Free Dictionary)
  2. the act or process of putting information into context; making sense of information from the situation or location in which the information was found. (Wikitionary)

But in the end, only the customer’s perspective matters. And, context is determined solely by the customer. The customer’s context is really focused on “what I am interested in now.” From our point of view, it’s customer context that matters.