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Universal Events: Taking Triggered Marketing from Good to Great

Helping your customers can be even more beneficial than showing a customer you know them. Here’s how events such as “back in stock” can get you there

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As eCommerce keeps on growing, and customers keep evolving, the importance of triggered marketing, also known as realtime marketing, is at an all-time high.

I recently wrote about the need to combine both realtime and batch customer data to maximize this marketing strategy’s value.

The short take: triggered marketing is only as effective as the customer data used to shape and define segments, triggers, and campaigns.

For example, a marketer can determine that a loyalty program member who arrives at the brand’s eCommerce site will be greeted with a special offer, while everyone else sees nothing. Or that a customer who viewed a specific product without ordering it will receive an email with reviews of that product, encouraging them to come back and complete the purchase.

Both of these messages above are examples of triggered customer behavior. But (there’s always a but, right?) there is a second type of triggered campaign. One that does not occur as a result of an event taken by a specific customer.

Such triggered campaigns focus on helping customers instead of just showing the customer that you know them. Research indicates that customers significantly appreciate more the brands that use this FIRST type of triggered campaign.

The Helping Vs. Knowing Scale

Back in 2018, Gartner released research focusing on different types of personalization. They differentiated between “help me” and “know me” personalization. In their report, Gartner noted that brands that moved from the lowest to the highest quartile on the “help me” category saw a 16% lift in commercial benefit. If the same brands were to do the exact same movement in the “know me” category, they’d experience a 4% drop in commercial benefit.

The implication is clear – brands should focus on helping customers through their personalization efforts rather than just showing the customer that they know them. This extends to realtime triggered marketing as well.

Take, for example, one of the most common scenarios of the past few months: Customers arriving at a brand’s site, only to find that the item they were looking for is out of stock. Imagine the impact on those customers should they have received a notification once the product is back in stock. A great experience, considering the alternative – continuously going back to the website to check for themselves. Or going on other sites.

Some marketers solve this by manually creating a list of customers who visited the product while it was out of stock and then targeting them with a “back in stock” message once inventory is replenished. This practice is outdated and non-scalable. This is where universal events kick in, and why they are the perfect complement to customer data for triggered marketing.

Universal Events

Universal events refer to non-customer-specific events, such as inventory changes, weather, or price, which impact a specific subset of the brand’s customers.

In the context of triggered marketing, they refer to the ability to automatically identify the relevant customers and trigger an action due to the event. None of this requires direct customer action.

In the example given above, marketers could set up a triggered campaign to target customers who viewed out-of-stock products, once the product returns to stock (i.e., the universal event occurred). Marketers might also want to ensure that these customers have not yet purchased a substitute product (i.e., leveraging customer data).

When the product returns, a campaign would be automatically triggered to all relevant customers, ensuring they are notified in a timely manner, sweetening their frustration from their out-of-stock experience.

Combining universal events with customer data allows marketers to take their triggered marketing from a “know me” personalization to a “help me” personalization. The brand wins, the customer wins! Achievement unlocked!

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Pini Yakuel

Pini co-founded Optimove in 2012 and has led the company, as its CEO, since its inception. With two decades of experience in analytics-driven customer marketing, business consulting and sales, he is the driving force behind Optimove. His passion for innovative and empowering technologies is what keeps Optimove ahead of the curve. He holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from Tel Aviv University.