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What Are Triggers in Marketing?

May 17, 2021

It was 2007 when Kit Kat saw a plummet in their sales. Then, their marketing director thought to pair the candy with coffee in their advertising. The pair not only fit their already existing “eat a Kit Kat on your break” idea perfectly, but it also acted as a trigger. This ad campaign literally triggered their audience to think of a Kit Kat bar every time they sipped their coffee (aka every day and probably while on a break)—their sales were up by a third in only 12 months.

Poised Avenue Design Studio | What is a Trigger in Marketing?

Triggers in marketing are common products or places that are strategically paired with your brand’s product in order to bring your brand to mind when a consumer uses said  product or visits said place. If you’re familiar with the way classical conditioning works in psychology…you’ll understand triggers.

Like classical conditioning, where a person is quite literally conditioned to respond a certain way to a stimulus being used as a reinforcer, triggers in marketing work in a similar way. You want to strategically place your product in the mind of your ideal audience through association with a product they’re already using or a place they’re already visiting.

How can you use this in your brand?

Consider the products or places your ideal audience already uses/visits often. Maybe they’re avid coffee drinkers or prefer a coffee break during the work day—like Kit Kat’s ideal audience. Then, position your product in a way that brings it to mind whenever your ideal audience uses said product or visits said place. It can be as simple as using a tagline like, “Dreaming of a coffee break? Try a Kit Kat and coffee break instead.” It’s a simple call to action, easy to remember, and pairs well. Now, next time you have a coffee break or see a Kit Kat bar on the shelf, I bet you’ll think of this email and maybe just pick one up for yourself. 😉

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