Trigger Systems for Retail: Amplify Your Marketing Through Multichannel Development
Though retail can be far from predictable, it's absolutely cyclical — i.e., constantly working on very similar projects that require specific, of-the-moment, often seasonal variations on the same group of marketing tactics. This is the perfect situation to tap into "trigger systems."
What's a Trigger System?
"Wait, what’s a trigger system, and why haven’t I ever heard of it?" you might be wondering. It’s understandable — we kind of made it up!
In its most basic form, a trigger system is a well-thought-through communications or marketing plan that’s in place before you need it so that you're always prepared for implementation, whether you're dealing with a holiday promotion that you begin planning for months in advance or a last-minute flash sale to reduce inventory.
You can set up a trigger system around any recurring or semi-recurring event. Whatever the event is, as soon as you need to begin your communications campaign, you have a clear set of marketing and PR marching orders that get “triggered.” This can include email blasts, blog posts, targeted pay-per-click and social ad campaigns, guest articles on deal websites, social media content — whatever you need to get the word out!
We know that sounds pretty simple, but setting up trigger systems means that the work around what to do is already done. This means that you can focus your energy on executing the plan even more strikingly and creatively so that your sale or promotion is better able to cut through the noise and reach your intended audience.
What Does a Trigger System Look Like?
Trigger systems can be as varied as each different event you’re communicating about. If you have a standard 15 percent-off promotion once a month, the associated trigger system may be fairly limited in scope, with a drip email campaign and a set of pay-per-click display and text ads. But when something like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or the winter gift-giving season rolls around, your trigger system around each of those events might be sprawling, companywide plans that require meetings, spreadsheets and project managers to implement. Whatever scale you’re working on, a trigger system can expand or contract to meet your needs. Consider these potential use cases for a trigger system:
Supporting a sales promotion with related marketing collateral.
You should have a trigger system in place for every type of promo your store runs. Therefore, whatever promo you have coming up, and whoever ends up working on it, there's a consistent, predictable plan that creates a specific road map and accountability around the sale.
Responding immediately to an action taken by a current or potential customer.
Whether this means remarketing ads or abandoned cart emails, having a set of communications collateral in place that can bring customers into your sales cycle and keep them engaged is a must for a retail operation. Cue trigger systems.
Reacting in real time to a piece of significant news that affects the company or its customers.
A last-minute sale shouldn’t mean last-minute planning. When you're caught off guard by the need for an impromptu promotion, a trigger system makes sure your communications don’t show it.
With trigger systems, the hard work is on the front end. Once they’re in place, the plan and the accountability are built in, and your creative teams are set up for success to execute all the necessary variations. Then, you can just sit back and wait for that sweet, sweet return on investment!
Mike Schaffer is the CEO of Echo-Factory, Inc., a full service advertising agency.
Mike Schaffer is the CEO of Echo-Factory, Inc, a full service advertising agency. Throughout the course of his career, Mike has provided strategic oversight and executive leadership for companies looking to position their businesses for growth, acquisition or both. Mike is an ongoing contributor to CSQ Magazine and a regular speaker at marketing conventions, and mentors start-ups with the USC incubator and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. He also organizes the largest Innovation Group in Los Angeles which meets weekly in Pasadena.