In an ideal world, you want to reach your customers early in their buying journey so that you can be top of mind while they consider their options. This requires you to intercept the customer with the right message in order to convert them and beat your competitors. This technique is known as event-driven marketing and the concept hinges on the understanding that the buying journey isn’t linear and requires you to get to your customer at the right time.

This requires you to master the art of data modelling using a careful mix of first-party and second-party data. When harnessed effectively, you are then able to reach your customer very early in the buying cycle, giving you a competitive advantage. This entails intercepting the customer’s journey of interest, awareness, consideration and conversion. These phases take many months to mature but the timing itself will depend on the customer’s individual biases, urgency and means. 

Targeted purchasing

Google’s research offers great ways to intercept a customer’s biases with targeted messaging. This triggers a need for instant gratification, it engages with pressure felt by limited offers as well as authority bias when a message is backed by an expert. But to target the right customer with this messaging, the business needs to have access to customer data in order to attract the right customers. 

Understand the change trigger

Advertisers need to have the right trigger at the most opportune time in order to harness this advantage. This is how event marketing plays out. Here, an ‘event’ refers to a time of change in a customer’s circumstances which will make purchasing your product or service more likely. So for example, a pregnancy or a new job could trigger a marketing message specific to that customer. The upside of this approach is that you then start talking to that customer before they have considered all their options consciously. 

So say for example you start talking to customers who have applied for car finance, you can already start talking to them about car insurance. Because while they may not have a car right now, they soon will buy one and then will need to quickly decide on their insurer. So here your data profiling would need to highlight which customers in your base have recently applied for loans or require a new vehicle. This approach requires you to take advantage of a window of opportunity when the customer may be particularly receptive to a particular message. In cases like these, you want to be top of mind and ready to talk to them while they are warming up to the possibility of a transaction. 

Personalised marketing that is privacy-compliant

Data privacy like POPIA and GDPR, not to mention how sensitive customers are around data privacy, means that businesses need to walk this fine line very carefully. Finding a balance between delivering useful, personalised messaging, whilst authentically respecting the customer’s privacy needs to remain a high priority for advertisers. These messages can use first, second or third-party data to create extremely powerful engagements which drive traffic and escalate conversions. Targeted Facebook adverts, and other social media adverts offer less invasive direct marketing without requiring direct access to customer data. However, if you have access to your own opt-in customer data, it's worth creating specific marketing drives that target your customers, armed with this information. This will take your marketing to a whole new level and allow you to engage with customers at a particularly ripe shopping period. 

The bottom line

When you identify potential customers early, you give yourself a major opportunity for establishing a rapport with your customer before they even know they are in the market for your product or service. This requires a meticulous amount of data mining in order to construct the right messaging, but when done well, it can make all the difference in how the customer responds to your brand and if they decide to buy from you once they realise you are the answer to a current or upcoming need. 

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