Using Trigger Marketing to Increase Response Rates

Marketing efforts triggered by consumer behavior streamlines data driven marketing campaigns to get responses. Learn the basics of trigger marketing here.




April 8, 2019

Your strategies as a marketer are heavily laced with purpose; each message is aimed toward a specific goal. To be able to define those goals more accurately is the key to communicating even more effectively.

That is just what trigger marketing does. It tells a marketer where customers are in the decision making process based on their actions – or lack thereof.

This form of data driven marketing tells “where, when and what” to communicate to prospective customers. And the best part is – it’s all in the data that you already collect!

Trigger Marketing Defined

Trigger marketing applies consumer behavior data to tailor a response. For example, an abandoned shopping cart is a trigger. It notifies a company that that person is interested in their product, but due to some circumstance did not complete a purchase. The company can then follow up with a reminder campaign to all customers of that nature, via direct mail or email. The consumer acts, the company learns about the consumer from that action, and the company plans accordingly. The trigger starts the process.

Four Trigger Categories

The types of events used as triggers can be categorized into…

  1. Behavioral Triggers – These events include the opening of an account, requests for information, changes in purchasing patterns, browsing patterns, website interactions, and other events along those lines. Each of these actions says a lot about the consumer’s position in the buying process. Say a university sees someone has clicked an email link to visit the website for their college of business. The university now knows to have someone call that home for a follow-up conversation, or to send a direct mail campaign about their program.
  2. Transactional Triggers – Transactions naturally prompt further marketing communications. They inform marketers of the customer’s interests, what additional purchases could supplement previous purchases, the value of the customer, when they buy, how they buy, and so forth. This data allows for more accurate segmentation of prospects, as well as prompting for responses.
  3. Recurring Triggers – These triggers come from an individual’s personal profile and happen on a certain date, including birthdays, expiration dates, anniversaries, and other recurring events. When a database shows upcoming birthdays and anniversaries, there is opportunity for relationship building and brand reminders. Trigger marketing automates that process by linking the trigger to a direct marketing campaign. The date is the trigger; a birthday card or membership anniversary email is the response.
  4. Threshold Triggers – The message you receive after reaching the spending limit on your credit card is a classic example. The bank sees in their data that you’ve reached a threshold, and respond accordingly. A database can alert you when a threshold is reached, permitting you to respond directly to it with targeted messages and means.

The Logic Behind It

Relevancy and timing. These are the advantages that make trigger marketing so effective. If you can relate to the last example above – reaching a spending limit on a credit card – you know first-hand how convenient trigger marketing can be for the consumer.

You are not frustrated by the phone call, but rather thankful that the warning came as timely as it did. This is important information for you to know at that particular time.

Responding to customer cues means you act in a way pertinent to the customer; you hone in on your purpose,which makes for a more targeted message.

Consumers profit from the precision of this data driven marketing strategy in that they receive communications personalized for and relevant to them. And when consumers are happy, marketers are happy.

Ready, Aim, Fire

By interacting with your brand, consumers give you all the intelligence needed to reach them efficiently. They tell you they're ready, and you the marketer set the aim. All you have to do is send the communication that fits best.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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