It’s All About Timing

When it comes to marketing, understanding when to send your message can be as important as the message itself.

While marketers are doing a better job of getting the right message to the right person, it’s becoming more important to send that message at the right time. Sending timely messages requires having a clear understanding of your customer’s situation to generate the best event-based marketing activity.

What’s Trigger-Based Marketing?

This is where something called trigger-based (or event-based) marketing comes into play.

Trigger-based marketing works on the premise that you communicate with your customers at the precise time they have a high propensity to purchase. Trigger-based marketing analyzes customer behavior to identify changes (triggers) that may indicate the need for a new product or service. Cross-sections of industry opinions suggest that those who engage in trigger-based marketing programs can see as much as a 400 percent improvement in response rates.

While some might link trigger-based marketing to email campaigns, this marketing technique can work just as well in digital, print-based direct mail or text messaging.

With trigger-based marketing, all these mechanisms share a direct, two-way communication channel between the brand and the individual, maximizing the potential for a one-to-one response. Trigger-based campaigns can and should, by their very nature, use all types of media – web, direct mail, social and mobile – in combination.

Triggers for effective marketing campaigns include everything from life-changing events to external market changes.

Following are some examples of trigger-marketing:

Life Events 

Customer life events can have major marketing implications. Such events might include the purchase of a new home, a birthday, a wedding anniversary or marriage, or retirement. A simple example exists in the food service market – some restaurants like to detect prospective patrons who are new to the area or provide special offers to loyal customers on birthdays or anniversaries. Organizations such as Guest Engine ( are providing integrated campaigns (print, email, social) to help restaurant owners drive more business through effective trigger-based campaigns.

Expiration Dates/Reminders

Products and promotions often have expiration dates that can be used to trigger an appropriate marketing action. These might include the maturity of a certificate of deposit, or ongoing and repetitive services that require reminder notices. These range from automotive services to appointment reminders for pets.

Customer Transactions

Changes in purchasing patterns, spending patterns or account deposits also can indicate your consumers’ future buying intentions. A retailer can understand what merchandise to promote next, and when, based on a customer’s recent purchases, as well as frequent purchase combinations made by other customers in that same demographic.

The transaction data for customers who just bought a specific product can be used to determine add-on products for promotion. This data also can show which customers to thank for a recent purchase with a special offer that will prompt them to come back and spend more.

External Events

A number of external factors exist in today’s dynamic business environment. External triggers are tied to changing market conditions and competitive activity. External (industry-wide) triggers can include industry reshaping mergers and acquisitions, regulations, legislation and other factors that may change the prospects for an entire industry, region or category.

Trigger-based marketing means delivering the right message when the customer has a high propensity to react.

So, what are you waiting for? It is time to pull the marketing trigger.