Nuts & Bolts - Database: Two Solutions for Weak Automated Triggers
Trigger-based marketing is a powerful technique designed to engage the customer at the precise moment when there is maximum opportunity to create value. Unfortunately, many marketers only scratch the surface and execute a limited number of simple triggers, leaving the chance for improvement, customer satisfaction and ROI on the table.
Triggers are nothing more than rules written against available data that define conditions that warrant action. Good trigger-based marketing strategies leverage these rules, combining them to form both simple and complex "events" in the customer engagement process where a brand can create or add value. But to really tap into the potential of trigger-based marketing programs, we need to overcome two common rules challenges:
1. Use the Right Tool
Structured query language (SQL) is a powerful tool in which most organizations already have invested staff and server resources. And, granted, for some complex events there is no substitute. But trigger-based marketing by its very nature needs to be nimble and adaptable. Business stakeholders need the ability to manage a trigger-based rules library, update rules, add new rules and experiment at the drop of a dime, preferably without IT resources. A purely SQL-based rules system—with no centralized place for administration or an abstraction layer to let less technical resources craft rules, edit logic or experiment—simply isn't the right approach. Way too many profitable opportunities are lost.
2. Use the Right Rule
Simple customer actions over the lifecycle with a brand sometimes require that very complex trigger rules be running in the background. This more complicated class of consumer behavior triggers often demand specialized tools to produce value. But without a business vision that's ahead of the infrastructure investment for the required tools, the trigger-based concepts never get implemented. And that's a costly waste of opportunity. Here's an example:
• Simple trigger: Send Mary a message if she makes a Money Market deposit of greater than $25,000.
The challenge with this type of simple rule logic is that $25,000 may not be an unusual event in Mary's existence. If Mary were the CEO of a large corporation, this $25,000 "event" could be a fraction of the overall account value, and a simple distribution that occurs regularly throughout the year.
• More complex version of the same themed trigger: Send Mary a message if she makes a Money Market deposit that is seven times greater than her average monthly deposit balance AND if she is over the age of 60 AND inquired about retirement products in the past six months.
This is a more accurate trigger because it is unique to Mary. The organization needs to understand Mary's "normal" deposit balance behavior, and then calculate seven times the norm before triggering an action. It also assumes the organization is able to link events and data unrelated to the deposit.
Effectively tackling these challenges—using the right tools and the right rules—will give marketers the opportunity to think creatively and adopt dozens of trigger-based "events" that will take their marketing to the next level.
Paul Mandeville is COO of Bedford, Mass.-based Conversen, provider of software-as-a-service marketing technology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.