‘Trigger Marketing’ Hits Banking Prospects at Life’s Crossroads

The best time to reach consumers is when they come to crucial decision points — key moments of decision that require financial solutions. The challenge for most banks and credit unions is determining when that decision is being made so your message can arrive in the moment with maximum appeal, relevance and personalization. Such 'trigger marketing' also improves sales outreach to small business owners.

People are creatures of habit. From how they take their coffee to their route the grocery store to the businesses they chose to patronize, once they establish a pattern is established, it’s nearly impossible to change behavior.

But there’s one exception: The moment when a person’s habitual, auto-pilot path is disrupted through a life change. The shift could be small, like deciding to buy a car, or more profound, like buying a house, marrying or having a child.

The key is that the moment when everything is up in the air is your financial institution’s best chance of getting your foot in the door. You can be part of establishing a new relationship that includes ongoing reliance and trust in your bank or credit union.

But how do you identify when a customer is in this moment of flux, and open to the opportunities your financial institution offers? The key is to offer consumers the right message, at the right time, with the right offer, through trigger marketing.

With the advent of data gathering and analysis through trusted business technologies, trigger marketing provides a powerful way to automatically, seamlessly and effectively integrate with your customers’ life journey, fitting in neatly with their mindset and goals. Using this tool means you can place personalized, relevant offers into their purchase path and decision-making at the most opportune times possible.

Moments that Maximize Response

When customers are in the market for a major purchase, or a major family change throws a previous way of living off-balance, it marks a moment when customers are reconsidering many aspects of their lifestyle, ranging from budgets to where they live to their shopping schedules.

As a result, when your offer is timed perfectly, it can seem to be the windfall someone was seeking.

Trigger marketing programs consistently outpace

In addition, by finding the ideal moment to intersect with customers’ lives and needs, you’re also minimizing your investment by not having to spend as much in marketing costs to catch their attention, simply because they are more receptive to your message at these moments.

In other words, when they are trying to find you, all you must do is show up with a relevant, personalized offer. And that’s where trigger marketing programs make all the difference.

Driving the Opportunity: Data the Pinpoints Trigger Moments

The data used in trigger programs is the key to these efforts’ success — data gathered by consumers’ behavior as they do research or start shopping for specific things, such as searches for credit, banking, investment and insurance products. Or it might be as revealing as a sudden shift in store purchases.

To the last point, everyone’s heard the cautionary story about the irate father who demanded to see a Target manager because his high-school-age daughter had received coupons for baby clothes and cribs. When the manager called to apologize, the father admitted that, upon confronting his daughter, he’d learned she indeed was expecting. The technology that spotted the daughter’s change in shopping behavior is the same one that triggered the store offers designed to direct her shopping path to Target. And while you probably would want less drama than this particular situation, the same technology and opportunity is available to your financial institution.

Data for trigger programs is compiled from a multitude of sources, both self-reported data that consumers offer when they share email addresses, zip codes and other details, as well as publicly available data.

To craft a fine-tuned balance of information to drive insights regarding the most likely prospects, many programs draw from a combination of the following: Registries, surveys, publicly available digital tracking activity, subscriptions, memberships, coupon/rebate redemptions, newspapers, court filings, public record filings, multiple listing service records, ecommerce activity, utility/telco connections and more.

Timing is Everything for Trigger Marketing. Delay Means Lost Sales

Well-timed, relevant offers quadruple the likelihood of a customer engaging with your bank or credit union. In addition, they also foster an immediate sense of goodwill. Just as a person is consumed by worry about being able to afford insurance for a new car, or find a new home to accommodate a growing family, or needing a change of address for a new stage in life, you can show up with a solution — and a well-priced one at that.

Speed to market is key to driving higher response

However, your financial institution is not the only option out there. And with all the resources that are available to consumers, they’ll find a solution to their need quickly. That’s why speed is essential. In fact, studies have shown that, while using life-event triggers can double your targeted reach and almost double your marketing’s effectiveness, this responsiveness plummets 30%–40% each additional week after a trigger, meaning you have to send the perfect message ASAP.

Even ‘Business-to-Business’ is Really ‘Human-to-Human’

While much of trigger marketing seems to be consumer-focused, the same principles can apply when your marketing is focused on B2B customers. Trigger marketing practices can collect data pertinent to startups and small businesses, such as new-to-business filing information including new licenses, incorporation filings, proprietary databases of business ownership and change of ownership. Data that offers insight into impending changes at established businesses can also include industry information, geography, regulatory and legal filings.

By mining the information available and using the proper technology and processes to sift through and identify the most useful data, your business can then translate this data into an affordable trigger program that can be readily implemented. That will benefit both your potential customers and your marketing objectives.

Trigger programs put in place well ahead of time can signal when it’s the perfect time to make an opening move to spark a new relationship, whether it’s through an email campaign, direct mail or personal outreach.

The Data — and Relationships — that Drive Deluxe

Trigger marketing campaigns work because they nurture a relationship at an opportune moment. However, the technique only works if your campaign is fueled by the right data.

This brings us back to relationships. Financial marketers must constantly balance the use of freely given information versus the risk of losing people’s trust — as in the Target example above. It’s crucial to have a partner who knows how to get the right data, use it appropriately and still deliver effective campaigns.

Dennis Driscoll, business development executive with Deluxe’s data-driven marketing division, has had years of experience advising companies on the proper balance.

“We have longstanding relationships with all three national credit bureaus,” says Driscoll, “and know how to work with them on programs that comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” Driscoll also notes that, in a competitive environment where speed is crucial, Deluxe is able to offer value quickly thanks to these enduring relationships with credit bureaus.

Case study data aggregation doubles the reach

“As the leading tri-bureau prescreen provider of credit data in the market today, and through our proprietary SaaS platform, we can upload any size customer file in a few days or take in a daily feed,” Driscoll adds. “It’s completely automated, secure and scalable and is delivered through a cloud-based infrastructure that is remarkably easy to use.”

Driscoll also notes that by providing an expanded trigger database, Deluxe has recently offered a client the opportunity to more than double their weekly mail list, with no compromise on lead quality.

Trigger Marketing is a Strategy that Continually Improves

We live in an era in which access to data, and the technology to implement it in profitable ways, continues to evolve and grow. Year over year, the data grows better, the speed-to-market increases, and the ability to personalize in multiple channels surpasses what we could have imagined just a decade ago.

Taking advantage of that opportunity requires speed and effort, but in the end, trigger marketing pays for itself, while creating goodwill with consumers and businesses in their time of need. Position your financial institution now in a hero role that will create long-term loyalty — and repeat business — for years to come.

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