What is Trigger Marketing, Trigger-Based Marketing & Marketing Triggers?


What is Trigger Marketing? How About Trigger-Based Marketing & Marketing Triggers? In Marketing Many Triggers Occur, But Not All Triggers Are Equal. Here’s Why.

Some marketers define Trigger Marketing as sending specific replies to specific responses or actions triggered within an email. For example, if a Buy Now button is clicked a specific series of responses are triggered. Typically this would commence with a sales page. Alternatively, if someone responded to a specific email the system (autoresponder) could add theirs to a new mailing list dedicated to those specific respondents.

Other marketers claim it is best defined as “sending messages or notifications at a specific moment, in answer to an event (event-based marketing)”. They claim these events can range from a purchase (maybe an upsell message) or one triggered by their upcoming birthday that results in a specific offer that is birthday related. I’ve used this tactic in the training world where people take a specific course that licenses them to say, spray pesticides or service-specific machinery. Such licences are time-limited and need to be updated every few years. So the trigger, in this case, is the need to update and results in an email reminder.


What is Trigger Marketing?: Crude v Sophisticated Triggers

Though the above definitions provide a couple of related definitions for trigger marketing I believe them quite crude and mechanistic. Each step is the result of a predefined action and they are as crude as cold calling.

What if we could turn the process on its head? What if instead of waiting for an action the trigger was inbuilt into the person and triggered without us being involved?

In life, there are many psychological triggers. In many cases, they include sounds, smells, locations, actions etc that trigger negative memories or traumatic experiences. PTSD is a manifestation of this.

But there is another form of psychological trigger. The positive one.

I’m thinking of the positive memories of warm summer days, birdsong or picnics that fresh mown grass or hay might stimulate. Of how the small of the sea reminds us of sun, sand and sailing .. or whatever pleasant memories you have of the sea.


Positive Marketing Triggers

Now think about how we can use positive triggers to encourage warm feelings about our brand.

First, let me tell you a story about a positive trigger I recently experienced.

What is Trigger Marketing? Could It Be a Ladder?

I recently painted the outside of my house. I had a vast expanse of wall to paint and was up a ladder using a roller when one of those random thoughts we all have come out of the blue. It was of an old girlfriend from nearly 40 years ago. We had some great times together and the thoughts were pleasant. After a while, I came down the ladder, went for lunch and forgot all about her.

After lunch, I climbed the ladder and thoughts of the girlfriend came back. Later I descended the ladder, moved it and climbed it again. Thoughts of the girlfriend returned.

It was the ladder that did it. Each time I climbed the ladder I thought of her. I was like Pavlov’s dogs. Climbing the ladder was acting as a trigger in the same way as Pavlov’s dogs salivated on hearing the bell!

Of course, we don’t need a bell or ladder to act as a trigger. It can be an aroma, a sound, a logo or a thousand other things. The thing is they act as triggers.

And that’s how our marketing needs to be.

We want our customers to be triggered by our marketing.


What is Trigger Marketing? Typical Marketing Triggers

The marketing triggers we produce can be very simple. For example, I received a regular marketing email from a guy I know this morning and it triggered an action. I opened his email. OK, that sounds simple but most marketing emails don’t get opened but this triggered me, and does every time. Why? Because the content is always good.

Good content in emails creates a positive trigger. Bad content creates a negative trigger .. and we bin the emails!

The Coca Cola Christmas ad is about to do the rounds again. It’s very simple. and has one function. It reminds you of happy Christmases and triggers a lot of people to buy Coke! The ad is a positive trigger.

Years ago I used to go into my local town and as soon as I got off the bus I could smell coffee roasting. It was fantastic. Such a rich aroma that even as a kid it had me wanting to discover what fresh coffee tasted like.

The adults that walked though the town were also triggered, and being adult they could buy the coffee. The roasting coffee aroma trigger sold a lot of coffee.

Positive marketing triggers are about creating positive feelings that trigger action.


A Marketing Trigger Example

What is Trigger Marketing? Could it be a Screw?
What is Trigger Marketing? Sometimes It’s a Screw

Today I get triggered by Screwfix. I’ve only to see an advert for them and I wonder what I need to buy next. Why? Because each time I buy I have a great buying experience that makes me feel good. From website to collection/delivery it’s a positive experience. And of course, the products are good as well.

In fact, with Screwfix, it’s now gone further. I only have to walk into my garage to look for a screw, paintbrush, drill, or whatever, and as soon as I see a need for equipment my mind goes to Screwfix. The need has become the trigger.

So rather than think of marketing triggers being something that results from a customer/prospect action, I suggest you do something to prompt action (It doesn’t matter what type of marketing channel you use). That’s where the real power of marketing triggers lie.

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