A while ago I wrote about the power of context in marketing.  I used Google Adwords (sponsored search, or pay-per-click) as a great example.  Adwords ads give you 95 characters, including spaces, to tell your story.  No pictures, no song-and-dance.  Yet, those little stripped-down ads can be surprisingly powerful because they are displayed in the context of when someone searching for your product or service.

Take context away and what happens?  You need to “turn up the volume.”  Ninety-five little characters suddenly become a joke.  You need a half or full page print ad, you need color, images.  Or you need a celebrity endorser or exotic locale to display your product.  And on and on.

Deliver your message when someone is looking for what you sell — context — and all you need is 95 little characters.  Deliver your message in more of a broadcast medium, a magazine, for example, and you need to work much harder to get someone’s attention.

I believe how you add context to a print ad, for example, or any ad that isn’t a sponsored search ad, is by taking the time to revisit the problem your product solves.  Too many marketers get right into the solution.  Yak, yak, yak!  No context.  No power.

Take at least 60% of the message and devote it to re-connecting the prospect with the problem your product or service solves.  Let them know you understand and feel their pain.  BEFORE you talk about the solution.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it gives power and context to traditional marketing messages.  Try it.