Buying Triggers

Imagine this …

After a long and sometimes tumultuous courtship, you and your significant other decide to take the next step in your relationship: moving in together.

You dated for 2 years long-distance and this is the first time you’ll live in the same city.

After weeks of preparation, the big day finally arrives. The two of you walk into your new, fully furnished condo and it feels like a dream.

You spend the day unpacking, decorating, and taking impromptu breaks to make out.

As crawl into bed at midnight, you’re exhausted but happy.

You figured you’d fall asleep right away… but at 3 AM you’re still lying awake.

Your partner is a bed hog. And worse? They keep flailing around and waking you up.

This was never a problem before because your old bed was a California King. But this new bed is a Queen, and it feels totally cramped.

Weeks pass and you find yourself wide awake at 1 AM for the fourth night in a row.

Unable to sleep, you mindlessly scroll through social media.

You see an ad promoting “guided sleep meditations.”

You click on the ad and land on a blog post from Casper, the original bed-in-a-box company.

Midway through the blog post, a box pops up asking if you’d like to sign-up for the Casper email list to get 10% off a new Casper mattress.

What do you do?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at Buying Triggers—why customers must experience a trigger event before they’ll be open to your offer.

Let’s get into it.


“Top Marketing Newsletters You Need to Subscribe To”

The Psychology of Buying Triggers 🧠

Nobody just wakes up in the morning just itching to buy a new product.

(That is unless they spent another sleepless night in bed and finally decide it’s time for a new mattress—like Casper’s customers did.)

Every purchase begins with a trigger event. 

A trigger event is a moment when your buyer moves from being oblivious that they even have a problem to being in the market for a new solution.

Embrace delegation

Trigger events can be:

  • Situational (eg. getting engaged, a dishwasher breaks, starting a new job, etc),
  • Biological (eg. being cold, hungry, etc)
  • Emotional (eg. feeling insecure, depressed, etc)
  • Social (eg. a dispute with a coworker, a recommendation from a friend, etc.)

Once a trigger event occurs and a prospective buyer recognizes that they have a job to be done, the buying journey begins… even if they don’t know it yet.

No trigger event = No purchase

Inside Your Buyer’S Mind🧐

Your buyers are very good at ignoring marketing messages.

In fact, studies show that buyers are so used to being inundated with promotions and advertisements that they’ve developed ad blindness.

But what do buyers pay attention to? Solutions to their problems.

Once a buyer experiences a trigger event, they begin passively noticing possible solutions and actively exploring their options.

That said, the process of making a purchase is rarely straightforward.

As Google says, it’s messy.

Embrace delegation

Buyers will often explore a variety of different options before they begin actively looking for a solution like yours.

For instance, if you sell mattresses, a customer may consider a number of other solutions—like sleep meditations, melatonin pills, a white noise machine, or sleep masks—before searching for a new mattress.

Getting in front of buyers who are actively looking for a solution like yours is often uber-competitive and expensive.


If you discover your customer’s buying triggers, you can get in front of prospects *before* the competition and earn their trust.

Embrace delegation

(Buyer journey graphic adapted from Rewired Group’s timeline)

When buyers are ready to explore a product like yours, your brand will be top of mind. 

And as we’ve learned in our past newsletter on Familiarity Bias, people are more likely to buy products that feel familiar.

Once your buyer has experienced the initial trigger event, catalysts occur that move them through the buying journey faster.

Catalysts may be events that happen in their own lives that are outside of your control—like a looming deadline that requires them to make a quick decision—or catalysts you create—like running a Cyber Monday promotion.

But it bears repeating, prospects must first experience a trigger event before any marketing effort, including HUGE discounts, can be effective.

Said another way…

Cyber Monday deals don’t create demand. But they can capture it.

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?

Unearth your customers’ buying triggers

I say “unearth” because this can take a bit of digging, but it’s worth the effort. You can scan online reviews on Amazon, Facebook, Capterra, etc. or hang out in online communities frequented by your buyers (aka Online Creeping), conduct surveys, or interview past buyers ← my fav.

An easy question to ask is: “Thinking back, what was going on in your world that first made you realize you may need a new solution?” 

Track buying triggers

Once you know what your customers buying triggers are, there are many neat ways to track them and even get alerted when someone may be in the buying journey. You can set up a Google Alert for a relevant keyword or phrase or use Groouply to track keywords in Facebook groups. For B2B, tools like LeadSift or LinkedIn Navigator can help you to identify prospects who have signaled intent to buy. (Check out this Sales Rocks blog post for 34 other ideas for tracking B2B leads.)

Create timely campaigns and content

Discovering your customer’s buying triggers enables you to create smart content and campaigns that speak directly to their needs. For example, the marketers from meal kit companies clearly know that the chaos of “Back to School” season is a trigger event for parents. Each major meal kit brand sent us a mailer in the first week of September.

Embrace delegation

FYI: We’d already tried HelloFresh once before, which makes their hook even more clever.

The Short of It 💥

Trigger events are powerful.

When you learn your customers’ trigger events, you can get in front of buyers sooner, in less crowded channels, with better messages.

And if you’re selling to people who haven’t experienced a trigger event, they’re likely to just ignore you.

Until next time, happy selling!




Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

There are a few ways I can help:

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Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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