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Time of the season: how coffee pods highlight the need for perfect timing


Loyalty is complex. Customers display a range of behaviours.

Active loyals. Habitual loyals. Situational loyals. Active disloyals.

These are the groups of consumers that the DMA’s Customer Engagement: How to win trust and loyalty research discovered last year.

This highlights the importance of understanding the types of customers you might encounter, and how you can tailor your approach to different personas. This is key to fostering loyalty and promoting the actions most important for your business, generating ROI.

However, new research from Bain & Company focuses on the importance of timing your brand’s communications. Top marketers know how to connect with their customers in both a relevant and timely manner, and how they can adopt the latest technologies to get it spot-on.

Using the example of Keurig – a coffee pod business – the authors, Laura Beaudin and Francine Gierak, explain the importance of timely marketing communications: “Some people buy months’ worth of coffee pods at a time, while others purchase smaller amounts every week or two. Engaging with consumers at just the right moment makes a huge difference in revenues and customer convenience, by ensuring that people won’t run out of pods.

Using purchasing behaviour as a guide, it would be easy to segment the customer base into a few different personas - ‘stockpilers’, ‘on-demanders’ or ‘sporadics’ for example. This would allow marketers to better understand the unique behaviours and triggers these groups might show before they make a purchase. From here, it would be relatively easy to tailor relevant offers and messaging to each group according to the cues they are giving.

Specifically, ‘stockpilers’ who show hyper-regularity in their purchase behaviour can be targeted once a month, every month – tweaked to the individual based on their stage in the life-cycle.

‘On-demanders’ may visit the website a few days before they make their purchase, which would be the perfect opportunity to promote new products or add-ons they may be interested in. The authors summarise: “When marketers gain a deep understanding of the key moments in the customer lifecycle, they can spot crucial signals when they appear and then release a sequence of messages tailored to each customer.”

This principle could be applied to any product or service. Smaller purchases might be targeted to consumers to land on pay day, when they are flush with fresh cash and looking to treat themselves. Other products such as furniture or cars might have a purchase cycle of a number of years, meaning the timing of these communications should be spread out – with the lifetime of the product in mind.

This research also echoes the old direct marketing maxim of right person, right message, right time – and understanding the cues from your customers is the key to getting this timing perfect.

To read more about the research, visit:

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