Drip Marketing vs. Trigger Marketing Campaigns… Is One Better Than The Other?


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Drip campaigns are delivered based on pre-determined time intervals while trigger marketing campaigns are initiated based on prospect behavior.

There are two primary tactics for nurturing leads: drip campaigns and trigger marketing campaigns. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of respondents from the recent Q3’11 Lead Scoring and Prioritization survey indicated they had used drip marketing tactics. Most email marketing tools provide drip marketing capabilities which allow marketers to configure business rules that automate the delivery of emails in pre-configured time intervals. Drip campaigns are most frequently utilized to augment the sales cycle with automated email communications. Top Performers indicate segmentation and demographic targeting yield some of the best results from drip marketing tactics, primarily because frequent and relevant communications are more likely to engage prospects and pull them through the sales cycle without frequent sales intervention. This frees sales to focus finite time on the real short-term opportunities in the pipeline.

Trigger marketing campaigns are actually initiated by prospect behavior; for example, a click-through on an email, a webpage visit, or the completion of a form on a landing page. Use of trigger marketing tactics separates Top Performers from Everyone Else, suggesting trigger marketing techniques are more effective than drip marketing. Top Performers are twice as likely to leverage trigger marketing tactics over Everyone Else. Lead Scoring is an advanced technique that some Top Performers are using to combine drip and trigger tactics. Business rules assign numeric values (or scores) to specific behavior; the aggregate value of this behavior allows marketers to trigger certain messages based on the prospects level of engagement and/or stage in the buying cycle. However, just 2 out of 10 companies that are nurturing leads in the Q3’11 survey (345 companies) actually leveraged lead scoring capabilities.

What’s the best way to apply drip marketing?

For B2B organizations, sit down and map the buying cycle stages for your prospects. What information do they need to know before talking to sales? Do you have specific content that helps provide this information. Try configuring a series of 3-4 email communications to new prospects over a series of weeks or months. Pre-configure the automated delivery of educational materials or industry specific best practices that are relevant to your brand. Use drip-marketing to become a trusted source of thought-leadership for your prospects. Don’t try to sell. Prospects that actively engage in every email are the best leads to pass to sales or add to a trigger marketing campaign which can rapidly adjust message frequency and relevance based on their level of engagement.

What’s the best way to apply trigger marketing?

A typical trigger marking campaign might utilize a combination of email campaigns and landing pages. Top Performers use trigger campaigns for prospect segmentation. If you aren’t quite sure what products or services you should target to a new prospects, set up an email campaign with a few different value propositions from your portfolio of products and services. Link each value proposition in the email to a unique landing page which provides additional information on one product or service. Set up a series of trigger campaigns for each landing page link that automatically trigger relevant email communications after a landing page is completed by a prospects. In much the same way a change machine separates the quarters and pennies from a handful of change, your trigger campaign can automatically route prospects to the most relevant communications.

For more information on Lead Nurturing best practices check out the Gleanster Deep Dive: Top Performers Answer Common Questions About Lead Nurturing

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


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