How To Get Your Message Across Using Trigger Events

bright light bulb trigger event
Earlier this week we talked about how the world is full of competition, small business is overcrowded, and standing out can be tough.This week, we’re going to talk about how you can rise to the challenge and overcome the obstacle of being just another fish in the sea.

Consumers are a tough sell these days. That’s because of advertising insensitivity caused by an overwhelming number of ads pummeling them daily. Everyone is clamoring for attention.

Adding even more problems to the issues is the fact that small businesses have to compete with expensive ad campaigns from larger companies. These big corporations can afford slick advertising and savvy media marketing.

That literally means the small guy’s efforts at promoting a business are often swallowed whole and rarely seen. But, there are ways to avoid this…

Dealing with Advertising Insensitivity

A barrage of advertising builds resistance and insensitivity. Faced with too much stimuli, people ignore much of the information and disregard most advertising. Even the most compelling campaigns don’t produce instant results.

Selective perception helps us filter out information that isn’t related to our lives. If our brains paid attention to all the stimuli we receive in any given day, we’d quickly suffer from information overload and trying to process an overwhelming amount of data.

We see what we want and need to see, and the rest is ignored… unless we’ve just experienced a trigger event.

How Trigger Events Wake Us Up

Have you ever bought a car and suddenly noticed how many people drive the same model? Have you ever decided to shop for a new computer? You might be delighted that there suddenly seems to be tons of ads and specials for new computers in flyers.

Buying the car and deciding to buy a new computer are trigger events. These trigger events shake up selective perception and wake people up. These people have their radar wide open and ready to receive stimuli that resonate with needs.

Target these people. Create a marketing message that resonates with their specific needs or that relates to their lives.

Creating a Trigger Event Message

You’ve probably noticed these types of ad yourself. They usually begin with, “Are you…?” Here are a few examples:

  • Are you a new father who needs help with your baby?
  • Are you looking for a reliable car that won’t let you down?
  • Are you ready to turn your busy life into freedom?

You get the idea. Just fill in the blank after “are you” with a message that directly targets your audience and away you go. Will you get instant results? No – but you’ll have a much better chance of being noticed in the sea of competition.

Knowing the specific life events that your target audience faces and what they have recently experienced helps you build a better marketing message that gets heard.

Also, focus on the benefits that your product or service offers.

A person who has just experienced the realization that his life is too busy and that he needs a break will light up when he hears a marketing message promising more free time. Someone searching to buy a replacement PC will perk up when he hears that you offer higher quality at lower prices – and fast service so that he gets his PC more quickly.

The Pain of the Situation

One of the best ways to resonate with potential customers is to address their pain, their hardships. People dislike discomfort and suffering, and they’re quick to seek solutions that offer fast results.

Of course, don’t promise a miracle cure, because your buyers may be disappointed at the lack of instant change. Craft your marketing message to address the pain clearly, so that the person thinks, “That’s exactly how I feel right now.” Then offer your solution and the outcome the person can expect.

Think of headache medicine and the marketing messages that surround this product. TV ads address pain, suffering, tension… they have people rubbing their foreheads, wincing and definitely showing a hurting head. Life is bad.

Then the message goes on to solution: with a couple of pills, the person suddenly smiles, the pictures grow brighter and the world seems right again.

Take a look at what you sell. What’s the pain that precedes your cure? What problem do you help resolve? Try your hand in the comment section and we’ll chime in with our thoughts.

Reader Comments

May. 22. 2008 7:46 PM

Consider “Blue Ocean Strategy” as a wonderful resource text—-your posting echoes a the basic tenets.

Jan. 5. 2010 5:37 AM

James hits the nail squarely on the head about making your message resonate and be seen by the buyer becuase it leverages a Trigger Event that turns on selective perception.

As the creators of Trigger Event Selling™ we have a perspective not only of Trigger Events but of how to identify the best Trigger Events for what you sell.

We provide at no charge a template and instructions on what is called Won Sales Analysis (aka Trigger Event Analysis).

Those interested in identifying the Trigger Events for what they sell can download the template and instructions at

I hope this adds value to the conversation.

Have an EVENTFUL week!


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