In the age of omnichannel communication, every business event can provide a challenge. How do you get the most value out of your accomplishments? Our favorite tool for optimizing your message across multiple channels are trigger systems.
Introducing Trigger Systems
In its simplest form, a trigger system is a marketing and communications plan that’s ready to go before you ever need it. You can create a trigger system around any recurring event your company needs to communicate about. Once the event is in sight, a specific and replicable set of PR and marketing tasks get triggered, including anything from updated PPC social media and search ads to press releases to totally updated marketing materials — anything you can think of to optimize the reach of your campaign across multiple channels.
Sure, it sounds simple, but once you set up a trigger system, the thinking around what to do is done, and you can focus your energy on creating a message and supporting creative that cut through the noise and demand attention.
How to Use Trigger Systems
Each trigger system is unique to whatever event you need to communicate about. It can be as small and specific as creating abandoned cart emails and retargeting ads when an online retail customer leaves items in their shopping cart, or it can be a sprawling, whole-company situation, like the PR and marketing campaign around a new product. Trigger systems can expand or contract to serve your needs, regardless of the scale of your campaign.
Below are several examples of situations where trigger systems can maximize your multichannel development, including retail promotions, trade shows, and establishing credibility for a startup company. Regardless of the vast differences in communication needs for these situations, they all benefit from a well thought-out, repeatable communication plan.
Maximize Your Retail Campaigns
Trigger systems are a perfect fit with retail because of their adaptability. Retail is cyclical in nature and it requires relevant, often seasonal variations on similar marketing tactics, which means you can create a plan for each different type of sales campaign. Whether you’re looking at a monthly promotion, a last-minute clearance sale or a huge holiday event, your communications plan is already in place. If you do a 25% off sale each month, you may prefer a more limited plan, with only a set of social media posts, a blog and email blasts. But when it’s time for the holiday shopping season, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday communications to think about, your trigger system may be a drawn-out, full-company plan that begins months ahead of time, and requires periodic meetings, complicated spreadsheets and project managers to execute.
Get Talked About at Your Next Trade Show
The main purpose for your company to attend a trade show is to drum up new business. To do that, you need to stand out from the other companies around you and strive to be the booth that people just have to go to. That begins with memorable and engaging creative concepts that communicate the true value of your company and help your booth stand out from the surrounding competitors.
Trade shows are another great example of a predictable, recurring event where trigger systems can create a replicable, streamlined process. If you want to be taken seriously, you should update the information and the look of your materials each year — but you should be producing the same set of updated materials every year: company brochure, product sell sheets, highlighted services pamphlet, etc. But if your budget is tight, having a trigger system lets you look back at what you’ve done in the past, and make an informed decision about what you want to do differently moving forward.
I you’re attending 10 trade shows every year, you can create a unique trigger system for each show, or for each different type of show you attend. Your trigger system might include an email blast to sales prospects, press releases announcing your attendance and highlighting your company’s recent wins, buying ads on the trade show’s website and in the program, a show-specific splash page for your company website, refreshed marketing materials and must-have giveaways — and, obviously, a stand-out new booth design that stops people in their tracks.
Building Credibility For Your Startup
Building credibility is critical for every company, but it can be make-or-break for new companies — particularly those dealing in new or emerging technology or creating whole new markets or market segments. It doesn’t matter how accomplished your staff is or how groundbreaking your tech is — building a new customer base, expanding your operations and seeking investors are really tough when you’re the new kid on the block.
Your credibility consists of everything your company excels at in your day-to-day operations: cutting-edge technology, general performance, quality of products or services, stellar customer service, consistently hitting deadlines, etc. But your audience has to know about your credibility for it to matter. And that means you need a system in place that helps you get the most mileage out of every milestone. If you’re guessing this is the point when I would bring up trigger systems, you hit it square on the head!
For a startup, every business win is an opportunity to build repetitional value that can translate into an investor signing that next big check, or a Google or Facebook to come calling about acquisition. But when you’re always focused on the next big project, those opportunities can come and go without your company benefitting. Trigger systems offer a simple and clear way to get the word out so your accomplishments get the attention they deserve, when they happen (and not three months later). And they make is super easy to do the same thing the following month, when you hit a new milestone, and when that next big round of funding comes in, and when you hire a new CEO away from a well-established tech company. trigger systems make sure you don’t miss out on opportunities to establish your company’s reputation.
Big ROI From a Simple Concept
Trigger systems are based on very simple concepts, but putting them in place creates a system of accountability and replicability which ensures all the work gets done, and allows you to focus on crafting the creative ideas and messages and executing the supporting creative in a way that makes it truly connect with your audience — because, after all, that’s the point of all this!
Michael Schaffer is Founder and CEO of Echo-Factory