Contextual marketing that delivers great customer and patient experience could kill off old-fashioned, one-way marketing.

Many of our clients are rightly into this new game. They are nudging individuals to get health checks and eye-tests, or try a new product or service and they are targeting relevant people at those touch points in life when they're most receptive.  

In fact with new devices like Apple's iBeacons system emerging, companies can track exactly where you and I are and ping highly relevant interactions to our phones.  Entering John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway? Surely, time for a snack?

But here's the rub.  The parent to contextual marketing, content marketing (sales messages padded in 'helpful' copy) already alienates the recipient when the product or service is badly designed.

Intrusive, hard-sell, exploitative contextualised messages informed by our internet habits and buying patterns turn the consumer off and get regulators twitchy.

But consider the local private hospital doing its best to treat its customers as valuable assets during and after treatment.  If it uses contextually appropriate support, service, and other prompts, it can blend good customer service with marketing.

The health-screened overweight patient could opt into fitness prompts.  The bored in-patient may relish messages selling a better menu choice.

The mammogram-patient would rather get the phone message explaining her consultant has been GPS tracked in another ward and running an hour late, than know nothing and fret the delay means a lump has been found.

The positively engaged patient will help the hospital in worthy campaigns to donate blood or support local charities, will offer good feedback or offer referrals and take messages long after departing.

It's all about taking custody of the evolving customer relationship, one touchpoint at a time.  And when marketing and service have become the same thing, contextual marketing will have come of age, even in healthcare.