Event-triggered marketing identifies and executes campaigns based on events that affect a customer relationship. Marketers that do this right (less than 20% of marketing organizations today) will see their marketing messages receive, at minimum, five times the response rate of non-targeted push messages. Event-triggered marketing addresses the appropriate context of engagement and offers from the customer’s perspective, rather than just the company’s perspective. It should be applied to all multichannel marketing techniques, such as social marketing, mobile marketing, inbound call conversions, lead management and direct mail and e-mail marketing. Event-triggered marketing enables relevant offers to customers rather than traditional outbound blast campaigns, which causes major customer contact fatigue.
The challenge for event triggered marketing is following all five steps. Many marketers start with step one without prioritizing and go straight to step five, blasting out offers at their choosing. Marketers will need all five steps to determine the “where, when, what, why and how” of execution.
Five steps for successful event-triggered marketing:
1. Identify and Prioritize Meaningful Events: The first step is to understand relevant events in the customer/company relationship and to formally identify those specific events. Transactions, contract signings, App downloads, store visits, inbound calls, social engagement and change in deposits are examples of events that occur between a company and its customer. Events can also include external events, such as economic changes, types of weather, or government legislation. There are many potential events, but it will be more important to prioritize with a handful of events that are truly meaningful to both you and the customer (typically five to seven) and get those right than have too many without the means to scale process or execution.
2. Categorize Events into Fixed and Variable Triggers: Fixed event triggers have relatively predictable time components, such as a yearly contract renewal period, a birthday or a welcome letter for new customers (“onboarding”). Fixed events can be frequent, such as a biweekly deposit, or long-term, such as a five- or 10-year lease. Variable event triggers are less predictable and can be more difficult to react to. A change in address, a transfer of funds or a poor score on a customer satisfaction survey are examples. Begin with fixed predictable events to learn how to react to them then move on to less-predictable and, therefore, more-complex variable events.
3. Monitor Event Triggers: Marketers need to put in place detection mechanisms to monitor events that have been identified then categorized in the second stage. This is where the type of trigger matters, because it will be used to determine how to monitor and what data will be utilized. For instance, companies will use a type of rule-based system of customer events, such as triggering an action when passing a threshold, while others use a “change in state” based type mechanism that triggers an action when there is a change in a defined state. The idea is to have the means by which a company can monitor and detect whether a defined event has actually taken place. Begin to monitor a channel such as e-mail, get that right, and then start to add others.
4. Optimize Event Triggers: The key to optimizing event-triggered marketing is to identify the best marketing offer based on many triggers and other types of offers. Optimization for event-triggered marketing is similar to any other optimization exercise where conditions, constraints, rules for change and objectives are considered to identify action plans that will provide the best balance in meeting business objectives. Budget allocation, profitability analysis of segments and treatments, time, availability of channel, contact limitation rules and propensity to churn are just a few of the many variables that could be considered for optimizing the best offer.
5. Execution of Event Triggers: Having identified the right trigger, but having no execution process defined and implemented, will lead to null results and zero ROI. Marketers can eventually have hundreds of relevant events that can be acted on. The key processes for scale. Examples include scripting processes for the call center, automated online dialogue for a Web site, a multistep campaign process for a branch agent, and augmenting content of a trigger within a lead management process to support sales. This step is likely to be the most challenging of the five, and the most important. Finding skill sets, the creation of many processes and how well your organization has developed steps 1-4, will ultimately determine success in event-triggered marketing execution.