Why Does 'Trigger-Based Marketing' Trigger So Many Eye Rolls?
A few years ago, I worked with an organization on developing a "trigger-based marketing plan." At the time, the agency involved wasn't very supportive, but since it was coming from the top of the development area, it didn't do much good to complain.
I never really understood why this was such a problem. Is it the name "trigger-based"? What about "behavior-based"? Who cares what it is called? Trigger-based marketing is the right thing to do, and guess what — it's not really "new." Granted, it is different than scheduled marketing. Trigger-based marketing is not driven by a calendar of dates. It is driven by (aka triggered) behavior that can come at any time in the donor relationship. This kind of marketing is not necessary for every one of your donor segments.
Let's talk about some of the tried-and-true strategies that have been in play over many years that can be classified as "trigger-based" ...
- Has your organization analyzed when donors tend to lapsed (i.e., no gift after XX months, XX months skipped on a monthly pledge, etc.)? If so, have you instituted a "pre-lapsing strategy"? Have you started communicating differently to prevent donors from lapsing and hopefully recementing their loyalty? Well, that's a form of a trigger-based strategy. A donor has done something (or in this case not done something) at a particular point in time, and this causes a change in communication strategy.
- How about this one? Do you have a midlevel giving program? Do you monitor the giving levels of your donors and if someone gives above a specific threshold you treat that donor differently — be it special packages, special messaging, special "clubs," etc.? How is that not a trigger-based strategy?
Trigger-based marketing is what you should be doing already. If you aren't looking at specific types of engagement and then creating special pathways for donors based on those actions, then you really aren't doing the right thing for your donors.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.