June 20, 2014 9.22 am This story is over 118 months old

The story of a blonde lady and a cup of coffee

Use triggers: The story of the lady and the coffee is the perfect example of using trigger points as part of marketing activity, according to Shaun Cole.

Truly taking the time to understand the person or company you are targeting as a prospective customer can help you to learn their trigger points – something that immediately causes the person to want to work with you. Trigger points may require a little research, but the rewards can be out of this world.

The story of the blonde and the coffee

It was another busy afternoon at Ideafuel when I received a sales call from an enthusiastic young woman. I agreed to a short meeting with her at our Lincoln studios. A few days later, the woman arrived with a coffee in her hand, passed it to me and said: “A cappuccino with two sugars – that’s right, isn’t it?”

I was gobsmacked. She had taken the time to research exactly how I liked my coffee by reading my posts on Twitter and LinkedIn. As a result of her using this trigger point, I gave her much more of my time than I had originally planned – and she made the sale.

One woman did her research well enough to pick up Shaun his coffee preference, which in turn led to a sale.

One woman did her research well enough to pick up Shaun his coffee preference, which in turn led to a sale.

It only cost £23

At Ideafuel, we frequently use trigger points to help our clients make their marketing campaigns ultra-targeted.

For example, a firm of debt recovery specialists wanted to contact the financial directors of prospective organisations. From our research, we found that receptionists often put obvious marketing materials straight in the bin. We clearly needed to do something to trigger these receptionists into passing the materials on.

So we sent each prospective company a leaflet and a cheque for £1. These cheques were passed on to the FDs because staff in the accounts department didn’t know how to process a £1 cheque that didn’t marry to an invoice.

From the first batch of around 600 letters – nearly half of the companies agreed to a meeting with the debt recovery company when it followed up the letters with a phone call.

And, get this: only 23 of the £1 cheques were cashed!

Top five tips to understanding trigger points

Trigger points don’t have to be complicated – here are five easy ways to understand them.

Do your research
The coffee example shows how a little research can go a long way when it comes to finding out someone’s trigger points. Research your potential customers and find out their likes, dislikes and responsibilities – then apply this knowledge to create ultra-targeted marketing campaigns.

Make it timely
Remember how the TV channels on Boxing Day used to be filled with holiday adverts? After the excitement of Christmas is over, people usually want something fun (and warmer!) to look forward to. This is a perfect example of companies applying timely trigger points.

Target the right people
In planning our campaign for the debt recovery company, we understood that the first people we really had to target were receptionists, even though they weren’t the main intended recipients. Think about who else will see your marketing message and how you can influence them.

Don’t forget the details
If the coffee given to me by the enterprising woman had only had one sugar, I would have been less impressed and she might not have made the sale. It was her accuracy and the fact that she had obviously taken the time to research me that really stood out. This shows how the slightest of details can truly make the sale.

Call to action
It is essential that a potential customer is encouraged to do something after receiving targeted marketing, whether that’s to call you for more information or to expect a call. Don’t let your efforts go to waste!

Shaun Cole is Account Director at Ideafuel, a creative-led graphic design, marketing and branding agency based at the Think Tank in Lincoln.