Event-Driven Marketing: Engaging with Your Customers at the Right Time | DMA

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Event-Driven Marketing: Engaging with Your Customers at the Right Time


Alterian Sits on GBG Webinar Panel, “Moments in Time”

by Roger Luxton

Alterian GBG Webinar PanelIt seems that event-driven marketing is very much a hot topic at the moment, with brands looking to make better use of life event data to respond to consumer behavior. To that end, our partner GBG hosted a series of panel discussions via webinar with Stuart Watt and Tom Ellis from GBG, James Ratcliffe from Capita Customer Management, and myself.

GBG had set up a range of cameras to record our discussions, and mounted on stools looking like the world’s worst boy band, we got to work to discuss Moments in Time marketing.

What is event-driven marketing and why does it matter?

Stuart outlined that, after taking a while to warm up, event-driven marketing has become a big deal; this was supported by the hype cycle research on triggered and real-time marketing from the technology experts at Gartner. He also shared a definition:

A marketing technique that is based on response to a measurable change in customer behavior or a specific customer action or an event that influences customer response.

We shared some of our personal experiences across the panel, with the consensus that consumers were expecting companies to adapt to their triggers, while companies are also seeing clear evidence of the uplift it provides. Stuart explained that it delivers three to five times the levels of engagement of traditional marketing communications. We were able to support this, as one of GBG and Alterian’s joint clients in the travel space has seen four to five times uplift on triggered and timely campaigns.

We also debated that definition. It seemed to make good sense, though perhaps for simplicity, I’d say it’s about:

Creating an Adaptive Customer Experience that maintains relevancy for each individual no matter where or when an interaction occurs.

Case Studies

James shared a fascinating case study explaining the work that Capita has delivered for one of the leading TELCOs here in the UK. He explained how they’d developed a sophisticated program covering all phases of a consumer buying cycle from acquisition, to development, to retention. James made it clear that this didn’t all happen overnight, but arose from a constant process of testing, learning, and improving.

ScottishPower Alterian Case Study

I was delighted to explain how our client ScottishPower is making a real difference to their bottom line using our Adaptive Customer Experience™ platform, Chameleon. This allows them to make true real-time decisions from a centralized data environment and decision engine, collecting in-the-moment event data from all of their channels at once, then firing back decisions and recommendations to those channels—all in less than 100 milliseconds. They’ve used this to improve retention with their ‘Mike wants to Quit’ use case, enabling them to deliver a 22% improvement in retention.

Tom shared how they are making a difference to clients in the retail sector. Using GBG’s “home mover” data, they are better able to identify when consumers are looking to move to a new house. With so many spending events triggering these moves from multiple retailers, Tom explained how the breadth of data enabled their marketers to appropriately plan the opportune time to communicate with movers. As Tom explained, “home movers” is just one of the data types that can help support client strategies, and he and his team are constantly adding more data.

Key Success Factors

I then covered off some of the key factors for success that we’ve seen in companies who are really making event driven marketing work for them. It’s really about having the right data, technology, and messaging in place:

Factors for Marketing Success

Right Data

At Alterian, we talk about making decisions using multiple sources of information:

  • Fast data (in-the-moment behavior)
  • Slow data (historical information)
  • External enhanced data (third-party customer data)

Having all three data sources in place really makes for the best decisions, as it allows the marketer to consider all aspects of a customer’s current relationship with your brand. This increases your chances of truly maximizing every single opportunity with customers.

Right Technology

Real-Time Marketing Campaigns, Analytics

From there, it’s about having the right technology capabilities. Whether you’re using existing technology or adding new, the importance is the functionality to:

  • Connect all systems and channels
  • Analyze and model for personalization
  • Orchestrate omnichannel campaigns
  • Make decisions in less than 100 milliseconds using a real-time decision engine
  • Report on performance to test and learn

Given these varied needs, GBG partners with Alterian to make use of our Chameleon™ platform, which provides a single location from which to manage every aspect of their customer experience. In turn, we rely on GBG as our data management experts; their single customer view with our ACX platform make an excellent package for clients.

Right Messaging

The final aspect is the customer-facing one: Delivering the right messages to personalize communications to each individual. The right messaging is based on your specific business objective and the persona, or audience segment, that you are targeting. Through content blocks and careful planning, it’s possible to deliver these hyper-personalized messages and improve overall CX.

Top Tips for Event-Driven Marketing

James emphasised the importance of prioritizing opportunities. As he explained, it’s easy to have ideas—the real skill is in making sure that you focus on the ones which are likely to deliver the best ROI or address your customers’ biggest concerns.

Stuart highlighted the importance of getting started, citing the old adage that, “Done well now is better than done perfectly never.” Everyone must start small and build, after all.

Tom reiterated how essential it is to do regular testing and learning to refine activity; this helps you avoid pitfalls, like encouraging the wrong customer behavior (like training people to wait for abandoned cart discounts).

And my parting message relates to the importance of syncing all data sources and channels to create a fully Adaptive Customer Experience™. It’s an experience that automatically adapts to unpredictable customer behaviour. Centralizing data and decisions from each channel can be a make or break for customer experience, so don’t risk your bottom line.


It’s always difficult to put a wrap on such an insightful conversation, so our discussions continued long after the cameras stopped rolling and the webinar was finished. I’d like to extend my gratitude to GBG for the invitation to their panel, as well as encourage you to watch the recording. After watching it back, I’ve now realized just how grey my hair has gotten… oh, and I’ll be the one talking very animatedly with my hands. What can I say? I’m passionate about marketing!

I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to team up with GBG to improve our clients’ understanding of data’s essential role to successful marketing.

Roger Luxton AlterianRoger Luxton, Senior Solutions Consultant EMEA

Roger has worked in a variety of marketing and campaign roles throughout his career including client-side, agency, and marketing service providers. He’s also been actively using Alterian technology for over 15 years, and re-joined the business in January 2017 to work closely with our EMEA customers and partners. While he enjoys technology in general, he particularly loves the way it helps to deliver business value.

Roger lives near Newark, Nottinghamshire in the UK and loves spending time with his wife and recently graduated kids. Away from work, he loves long walks, watching cricket, swimming, and his volunteer work as an Alumni Fellow at Nottingham Trent University

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