Life Event Marketing and How to Target Consumers When it Matters Most
Successful marketing is about targeting the right person, at the right time, and with the right message. While marketing techniques and the terms themselves have changed over the years, this has always been the golden rule of marketing. However, gathering the right data insights to target consumers when it matters most is often easier said than done. Consumers travel across multiple devices, use any number of digital channels, and are often less than willing to give up their valuable data. The good news is that with today’s advancements in technology and the massive growth of Big Data, consumers are leaving behind more and more clues for marketers to gather and analyze and as a result, these “right time marketing” strategies are becoming easier to accomplish.
While not a new strategy, one of the easiest tactics to engage consumers with right time marketing messages is through life event targeting. Consumer life events, such as getting married, buying a house, or having children, provides marketers with a reason to engage with a consumer and increases the likelihood that a consumer may purchase.
In data from 2015, a study by Royal Mail Data Services shows that half of those surveyed see life events as a new sales opportunity, up from 16% in 2014.
However, according to the research, “While 55% say they understand the concept of life event marketing and the fact it triggers consumers to make new purchases or review contracts, their organization is yet to realize the value of implementing a strategy based on marketing around these events. Only 24% are running a life event targeting campaign and for 21% of respondents the term is entirely new.”
In Royal Mail’s 2016 report, seven out of ten marketers recognize that the most important aspect of a life event is the reason it provides for them to engage with a customer.
Types of Life Event Data
Highly personalized mailings based on trigger touchpoints can produce significant improvements in response rates, up to 10 times higher when compared to traditionally-timed campaigns. The key is to start with good data. For example:
- Brides To Be: Women who are shopping for wedding venues, ordering invitations, gowns, etc. and report that they are getting married and when (month and year).
- Newlyweds: Newlywed data compiled from sources such as bridal registries, wedding invitation purchasers, and other public record sources.
- Recent Divorce: Recently divorced individuals. This data is often sourced from county courthouse filings.
- New Teen Driver: New teen drivers from sources such as self-reported parental data, survey questions, and social media data.
- New Home Buyers: New home buyers sourced from mortgage data.
- Expecting A Baby: Data on expectant parents compiled from baby registries, maternity wear purchases, and birth announcements.
- Child Near High School Graduation: High school students sourced from student and family surveys, public records, internet sites, publishers, consumer response mechanisms, student directories, and club memberships.
Demographics vs. Life Event Marketing
Marketers have long relied on demographics to segment and target their customer base. However, just because two consumers may share a demographic profile, chances are they probably have very different interests. Networked Insights recently released research comparing demographic targeting to life event targeting, or what they refer to as Hi-Def Targeting. The study highlights the following great example:
The study identified 3 main data points that could help marketers discover opportunity audiences and shape campaign themes, messaging, content, and media buys:
- Consumer interests: The brands, media, websites, TV shows and apps consumers talk about most during each experience.
- Consumer emotions: The positive and negative emotions expressed by consumers as they discuss relevant topics and experiences.
- Emotional drivers: The situations and circumstances that drive the broad consumer emotions of excitement, anxiety, love and hate.
By utilizing these data points for specific events, marketers can create strong messaging most apt to appeal to each situation. Take a look at the following example in Networked Insights’ research:
Life Event: Recently Graduated
Consumer Interests: Today’s grads are talking about technology, finances and car purchases as they leave school. Their media choices are primarily online and skewed toward social media. When they do watch TV, they go for a mix of reality, sports and drama. They rely on apps to keep them connected to friends from college and to meet new people.
Consumer Emotions: Graduation is mostly associated with positive emotions (74% of the emotional conversation). Students simultaneously express hope for the future and sadness/nostalgia about leaving school. Sadness outweighs anxiety, but can take the form of remorse.
Emotional Drivers: Some of the top emotional drivers of those newly graduated include making their parents proud (excitement driver), doing well in an internship or career (excitement driver), future moving too fast (anxiety driver), and leaving familiar surroundings (anxiety driver).
Brands that look at emotions and interests at different life events can create new messaging built to meet their targets’ needs.
Numerous opportunities exist for marketers based on life events. A new homeowner will appreciate an offer from a local hardware store and a college graduate will be more apt to pay attention to information on fuel-efficient cars. Consumers in a state of change due to a life event feel as if they have “permission to buy.” Brands who reach out during these crucial life moments can reduce customer churn and create loyal customers for life.