Thursday, February 14, 2008

We Love Event Triggers!

I'll start by apologizing for the gratuitous heart pic and the "Love" in the headline. But, hey, come on--it's Valentine's Day!

And, we DO love event triggers, primarily because of how they typically boost response rates of our clients' direct marketing campaigns.

So, what are we talking about here?

We define Event Triggers as changes that happen in your customers' lives that impact how they might want to transact business with you. As a marketer, if you can develop an understanding of these life event triggers, you can exploit that knowledge by offering your customer the product or service that she needs at that specific point-in-time. A powerful concept. When done right, the marketer will see a huge lift in ROI for a trigger-based campaign, and they'll best serve their customer by anticipating their needs.

I enjoyed this article from DMN Directives, a Canadian forum on data-driven marketing strategies. Authored by Rick Makos, the President of Teradata in Canada, the article explains Event Triggering as a concept, with a technology perspective. It talks about how current database technology can sift through customer transactions to identify the event triggers.

To help you visualize what we mean by event triggers, here's a list of examples from the article:
  • Changes in a customer’s routine banking or interaction behavior, credit card applications, deposits, transactions
  • Calls or contact from a customer about products, services, or need for information
  • In the travel businesses, sudden changes to flight schedules that affect customers’ patterns in travel booking that signal opportunities to alter arrangements
  • For telecommunications, patterns of service disruptions or changes in phone activity or billing amounts that may signal a need to upgrade or modify service agreements – or offer other services
  • Name changes, address changes, date-driven or apparent lifestyle changes
  • Product or service purchases that may trigger complementary items, services, and upgrades or up-sell offers – or achieving predetermined customer ‘status’"
Think about how the above customer-initiated transactions can spark a reaction from you, the marketer. If done right, you can react to your customer changes with a thoughtful new offer, a better service plan, etc. Your customer will be happy that you're meeting their new needs, hence adding increased loyalty to the increased profits you'll have generated. A win-win.

In addition to the above triggers that are generated from your internal customer database, we've used external, purchased triggers very successfully.

An RRW Example:

In the height of a competitive mortgage market (oh, those were good days...), we submitted a file of qualified homeowner prospects to one of the three consumer credit bureaus on behalf of our client, a high-volume direct marketer of refinance and home equity loans. Each day, the credit bureau would cull through that prospect list to see if any of the homeowner prospects had applied for a mortgage with another, competing firm.

If so, the prospect would immediately be sent over to the client, who would then contact the homeowner with an excellent loan offer. This strategy worked like magic; response, sales and conversion rates went through the roof. As we all know, the home loan process can take quite a bit of time, so it's not too hard to reach the homeowner who we now KNOW is shopping for a new mortgage in time to get them to consider our offer.

The credit bureaus offer similar triggers for the automotive industry and others. What better time to reach your prospective buyer when you know they're shopping? Pretty cool, eh?

Other life events to look for in a prospecting environment could include:
  • Milestone birthday (or any birthday if you're a restaurant)
  • Upcoming marriage
  • Recent divorce (hard to talk about on V-Day!)
  • Recent move (new movers buy SO much stuff!)
  • New baby in the household
I think you're getting the picture--there are many things that change the lives of our customers and prospects. If you can understand those life changing events and then meet their new needs with some solid products and services, you'll have a successful direct marketing program.


Katherine said...

hmmm, could I be the anonymous source of this case study??

XXOO, happy V-day

Suzanne Obermire said...

Well, now you're not so anonymous, are you? Absolutely--that was a fabulous program, Katherine. We always enjoy working with an innovator, like you :)