What Meaningful Events Matter to Your Customers?

February 12, 2016
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Set the right foundation for event-triggered marketing.

The text message from the mobile phone company was simple enough:

“You’ve used 75% of your data this month and exceeded the limit last month. If you go over this month, we’re happy to upgrade you to the next tier for an add’l $5. Click here to confirm.”

This example of event-triggered marketing demonstrates the opportunity for marketers to reach audiences at the right moment. While 64% of multichannel marketers surveyed expect to use a majority of event-triggered tactics in multichannel marketing in the next two years, only 29% of marketers do it today. Those who plan to transition from “batch and blast” type engagement to event-triggered marketing will need to learn the steps to do so.

Event-triggering is seen as a baseline tactic for focusing on and executing real-time, personalized multichannel marketing, noted Adam Sarner, research vice president, Gartner for Marketing Leaders.

Here are the first two steps needed to build an event-triggered marketing capability:

Pinpoint the right events

Start by brainstorming significant events that can intersect both the company and the customer. Events that intersect customer and company include customer transactions, client contract signings, a mobile website visit or a store visit. Make sure you include external events such as economic shifts, weather changes, social sentiment or government legislation; these can add context and make a case for why customers need to choose your product or service over others at the time of need.

“There are lots of events, but not all are meaningful or significant to the relationship..”

Categorize events by trigger type

The first challenge a multichannel marketer will face is distilling the list of events to those that are truly meaningful. There are lots of events, but not all are meaningful or significant to the relationship. For example, greeting card and florist companies use a birthday event and other occasions in their event-triggered marketing process to sell more cards. However, a home generator company will find a prospect’s birthday event less meaningful than understanding changing weather conditions to trigger a promotion for generator installations.

Once you’ve developed a handful of worthy events, it’s important to categorize those events as either fixed or variable.

Fixed events have a predictable, set time component such as a yearly contract renewal period, a holiday season or welcome letter for new customers. Variable events are less predictable and harder to respond to, such as a change in address, a tweet, an inbound call or a poor score on a customer satisfaction survey. Focus on fixed predictable events first to learn if and how to react to them, because fixed events will be easier. Then move on to less predictable and, therefore more complex, variable events.

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