Content, Context, Conversion; Online Marketing is No Monarchy Part 1

A Digital Monarchy?

In 1996 Bill Gates was quoted as saying, “Content is King.” Since then, marketers have spun this quote into every direction possible.  “Content is king, conversion is queen”, “If content is king, context is God” and so on, and so forth.

The problem is some of these quotes contradict one another. So, which one is correct? Are any of them right? Are any of them even relevant? Is anyone even reading this?

What if the problem isn’t in the quotes themselves, but in the analogy of “monarchy”? Let’s think about this. According to, a monarchy is defined as “supreme power or sovereignty held by a single person.” So essentially what we are saying is that ONLY ONE of these aspects of online marekting can hold the “supreme power.” However, is this really the way content and inbound marketing function, or is it more synergetic… like a handshake?


customer experience handshake



No matter what piece of the marketing puzzle we think should come first, the experience of the end user MUST be our first priority.

In today’s marketing world, this is Gospel. Successful marketing, especially marketing focused on long-term growth has to first serve the customer. That means the marketing agenda must come second.

However, before we even begin to talk about “how” we delight the customer, lead or visitor we must first understand “why” they are where they are (digitally speaking) and “what” they intend to fulfill by being there. This is not as difficult as you might think, but it does require some insight into your target market. A great way to gain keen insight into your target market is to use buyer personas, but that in itself is enough to fill an entirely new article series.

buyer experience

Just fill in the blanks; “A large part of my target market is on Instagram because they want to quickly view and catch up with the people and topics they care about.” The more focused you can make this statement, the better.

Once we have done this, we can begin to understand and imagine ways we, as marketers, can add to these experiences. This leads directly to the next point.



Some people might view context and experience as one. I think this is a big mistake. In my opinion, context and experience are very tightly linked, but must be viewed separate of each other. Why? Let me use a personal example.

I play music, guitar to be exact. In my free time I often browse Youtube videos related to learning more about music theory or simply becoming a better player. One such time, I clicked on a video and was served up an ad for Yousician; a downloadable app which helps musicians practice their craft. While some modern marketers would cry “foul” because my experience was interrupted, I was intrigued by the ad and clicked through to learn more because the context was spot on!

What if the video had been for Spotify or Nike? Even if the ad were related to music in some way this changes the outcome because the context is different. Same experience, different context.

For this reason it is so important to drill down and really focus on the context in which you are placing your ads, or posts or whatever content you are using to delight your market.

In part two we’ll talk about content, conversion and how all of these things work in tandem to rule your website and marketing platforms.

Leave a Reply