Trigger events in marketing indicate that someone may be ready to buy.
A trigger event can cause someone to buy, or trigger their interest in learning about something (the first step towards buying).
Some trigger events cause some people to go on a spending spree.
For example, when someone gets a new puppy, they may need and want to get all the things to care for that new puppy. And when a dog is “a senior”, that triggers all kinds of additional purchases.
Certain specific events, milestones, or seasonal activities may indicate that someone is ready to buy. Identifying these “trigger events” and reaching out to prospects and your existing customers at the right time, with the right message, is a very effective marketing technique.
Learn what the most common triggers are, and how to identify the triggers events that will help you in your marketing to sell more.
Use Solution Selling with Trigger events in marketing
Smart retailers anticipate trigger events and offer all the products and services someone needs. This is called solution selling in marketing. It’s offering everything someone needs. This applies beyond retail. For example, a CPA can anticipate that if someone is nearing retirement, what services will be most relevant to offer a client.
Learn more with our Solution Selling How-to Guide
Trigger events in marketing are the foundation of customer contact plans and CRM (customer relationship marketing).
Using trigger events in marketing will make your messages more relevant. And if your messages are more relevant, they will more likely be noticed and acted on.
Behavioral targeting for online advertising and search advertising is based on the idea of presenting ads that will be most contextually relevant to what the person is searching for or has searched for recently. You can use this marketing technique to help you with customer contact management. These trigger events should trigger you to contact them with a relevant message and offer.
Your marketing will be more effective if you can predict when someone will be most interested in your message or offer and then send them an email, direct mail postcard or alert the sales team to call them.
Trigger events in marketing are often the foundation of successful CRM (customer relationship marketing programs).
Trigger events can also help improve advertising response rates for search ads and other types of advertising. For example, if storms are predicted and you sell snow removal services, then setting up your search ad campaigns to buy based on weather may help you get a better ROI. If you’re buying ads at the last minute (because you learn about bad weather), you can also often get great deals by buying “remnant” (not yet sold) ad space for TV, radio, online and print ads.
How to identify trigger events for marketing
What events or situations trigger (prompt, initiate or cause) someone to become interested in what you’re selling?
Some examples of trigger events for marketing:
- People buy new refrigerators when the one they have breaks (and then they need to select and buy something that day and get it delivered ASAP). Another group of customers buying refrigerators are remodeling and do a lot of research to evaluate alternatives. So if you were selling refrigerators you’d want to figure out what people do in these two situations and ensure you are at the right place at the right time with your marketing messages.
- You’re selling a pet collar with a retractable leash. When would people be interested in your product? When they get a new puppy? When they are taking dog obedience classes? At Christmas?
- When do people “shop” for a new pediatrician? When they have a new baby. When they move. When their insurance changes.
- When is a business most interested in buying new phone equipment? When they are hiring new people. When they are planning a move or setting up new office locations.
- You’re a local hardware store. Do you have a marketing system set up to contact new move-ins who will need new garbage cans, cleaning supplies, etc.
Life stages are trigger events for marketing that signal potential buying interest
- Birth of a new baby
- Starting school
- Graduating from high school; college
- Single working professional
- Engaged, planning to be married
- Newly married
- Empty nesters
- Close to retirement
- Early retirement
- Later retirement
External events trigger buying interest
- Moving or relocating (personally and for a business)
- Getting a new job
- Losing a job (interested in websites and services to help with job search)
- House/business robbed (become interested in security systems)
- Natural disaster (a wildfire may spur people to update insurance)
- The weather (Campbell’s soup sells more when there’s bad weather coming)
Calendar and time of year are triggers for buying interest
- Back to school
- Mother’s Day/Father’s Day
- Summer vacation
- Weather changes
What events trigger your customers to buy? And how can you identify and reach them with your marketing message at the right time and place where your message will be relevant and acted on?
TIP: Direct marketing and CRM (customer relationship marketing) experts are great at figuring out what the trigger events are and how to reach people. You may want to look for a consultant with this expertise to work with you to develop specific ideas and a plan for your business.
From a Harvard Business Review article by McKinsey partner about the new purchase process stages influenced by social media.
Consider this: Not long ago, a car buyer would methodically pare down the available choices until he arrived at the one that best met his criteria. A dealer would reel him in and make the sale. The buyer’s relationship with both the dealer and the manufacturer would typically dissipate after the purchase. But today, consumers are promiscuous in their brand relationships: They connect with myriad brands—through new media channels beyond the manufacturer’s and the retailer’s control or even knowledge—and evaluate a shifting array of them, often expanding the pool before narrowing it. After a purchase these consumers may remain aggressively engaged, publicly promoting or assailing the products they’ve bought, collaborating in the brands’ development, and challenging and shaping their meaning.”