Trigger Marketing Requires Letting Your Partner Lead the Dance

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February 7, 2012

Trigger marketing is more about being a good dance partner rather than the dance invitation graphic designer. You have to get on the floor with the prospect and be a good follower so you can react when they decide to twirl or dip (i.e. pick up the phone, swipe their credit card, or drive off the lot with the new sports car).

As marketers, we’ve always been good at figuring out what to sell and how to sell it. Advertising guru Les Wunderman says, “What we often can’t understand is when to sell.”

Precision timing is critical in an artillery strike, the New Year’s Eve ball drop, aerial acrobatics, and a lead-nurturing campaign. A trigger is a flag that cues you to send a customer an email, coupon, whitepaper, or presentation invitation at just the optimal point in time – precisely when the customer needs it to make a decision.

Yes, it takes work, trial and error, and recalibrations, but the value of trigger marketing is it delivers three to 10 times more returns to your marketing bottom line.  “Triggers always work better than random outreach,” says Mail Print CEO Gina Danner. “Because you’re working in sync with their decision-making process.”

Know Your Customers’ Triggers

CRM News cites six types of marketing triggers that you can use to automate your marketing campaign. By knowing, documenting and putting these triggers into a system to enable you to do market automation, you’ll be ahead of the game.

  1. Customer life events-Birthdays, weddings, new baby and a new car purchase are all customer events that could merit an action or message on your company’s part based on your product or service. Automating the timing of these life events is critical.
  2. Transaction behaviors-Does a customers credit card purchase show that they’re in the middle of a home remodel? Does their declining credit score cue you to sell them on credit counseling or credit repair services?
  3. Online behaviors-Is your customer hot on the trail for information that signals a future purchase? Have they hit your insurance website, downloaded a life insurance eBook, or interacted on a social network?
  4. Expiration Triggers-Does your product or service have a maturity date that can be used to signal a context –sensitive offer or message from a lending institution?
  5. Credit Bureau Triggers-If a customer has a mortgage with a bank and the bank sees them looking for other credit lending solutions it could trigger a loyalty program or retention call.
  6. External Triggers-Changes in the market or environmental conditions may indicate it’s time to kick in a campaign to protect your company’s reputation and environmental stewardship.

Don’t Be That Salesperson

You know you hate the pushy store clerk who runs up to you as soon as you walk in the door. He/she further creates a relationship gap by blurting out all the items on sale without even asking what you came in for. She makes you want to run for the exit door by telling you even more irrelevant store information you didn’t request.

Don’t be that person when you are nurturing relationships through your sales funnel. Push marketing is out; trigger marketing is in.

Hang back in the corner instead and be an expert observer ready to answer questions or provide more information when your customer asks for it. Listen and watch for virtual body language that signals interest and the need for assistance. Let the customer raise their hand before addressing their needs.

It’s respectful, fruitful, and the new way of doing business in this customer-driven world.

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