Article | Business Relationships

Life Event Marketing: An Effective Way to Attract and Keep Customers

Kim Totty
L female reading youre important to us card in kitchen
L female reading youre important to us card in kitchen

Birthdays, retirements, weddings, births, graduations, anniversaries—they’re all a great reason to get together with friends and family and celebrate. But here at Hallmark Business Connections, we can’t help but ask ourselves—why don’t businesses join in on the celebration, too?

We believe that these major life milestones create opportunities for companies to engage their customers in humanized, highly effective ways. This is what we call “life event marketing.”

What is Life Event Marketing?

Connecting with a consumer on a personal and emotional level, particularly during a unique life moment, in order to trigger a response that results in higher company profits and consumer loyalty.

Life event marketing is an effective marketing technique designed to connect with a consumer on a personal and emotional level—particularly during a unique life moment—in order to trigger a response that results in higher company profits and consumer loyalty.

Unfortunately, not every business understands just how valuable life event marketing is. According to study by Royal Mail Data Services, 55% of marketers say they understand the concept of life event marketing, however, only 24% are running a life event targeting campaign. For 21% of respondents, the term is entirely new.

STAT 24 percent

Only 24% of marketers are running a life event targeting campaign.

SOURCE: Royal Mail Data Services

The life event marketing strategy is one of the best ways to forge an emotionally intelligent relationship with consumers. In fact, another study shows that it’s even more effective than demographic targeting. According to Networked Insights, people going through the same life events at the same time are more likely to have similar interests than those in the same demographic groups. So how do you appear as if your company and the customer are going through the same life events? By thoughtfully applying empathy to celebrate, mourn, encourage, and honor your customers.

Demonstrating empathy through life event marketing is key

to making your company humanly connected to your customers.

The Whens, Hows, Whys and Ifs of Life Event Marketing

There’s a time and place for everything. While life event marketing is a great opportunity to interact with customers on a personal level, there are times when it isn’t always a good thing.

When to use life event marketing:

When should you actually implement a life event marketing campaign? The answer is quite simple—whenever it feels authentic. If it feels forced, it will not resonate with your customers.

How to use life event marketing:

Put a plan in place, including how individual associates will be able to easily respond to life events they hear from customers in the course of their work, and how your marketing organization will address well-known life events, such as birthdays, customer anniversaries and customer appreciation.

Why use life event marketing:

The answer is again, quite simple—it enables your company to apply emotional intelligence to gain better marketing performance and build deeper, stronger customer relationships. As part of your life event plan, know how and when you will measure success. Life event marketing changes how people feel, so make sure you measure both short- and long-term results as well as impact to customer satisfaction and brand reputation.

Deciding if the life event marketing opportunity is right:

If you found out about the life event in an inauthentic way, don’t act on the information. It not only damages your customer relationships, but erodes consumer trust. Avoid creepiness by carefully considering where you learned of the life event. Purchasing data can be creepy to some consumers. But if you found out about the life event in an authentic way (i.e., via a conversation or being connected on social media), reaching out to say, “congratulations,” “happy birthday” or “I’m sorry” is appropriate.

What do Marketers, Customers and Brands Think About Life Event Marketing?

When we help companies express their true feelings for their customers in a way that is genuine, meaningful and repeatable, customers feel recognized and appreciated. Here are what others say about the benefits of life event marketing:

Through a normal course of business, customers share life events with us. (This) empowers employees to enrich human moments and build memorable experiences.

Erica Penner, Manager of Performance Management

For more than a hundred years, Hallmark greeting cards have helped strengthen emotional connections between people. Using the power of a card to connect businesses with their customers provides a unique opportunity for customer engagement that is authentic and meaningful.

Donald J. Hall, Jr., Hallmark Executive Chairman

The effect goes beyond the impact of empathy on the customers receiving the cards. It also helps the customer service representatives themselves feel empowered to make a difference to the people they serve.

Micah Solomon, Bestselling Author and Customer Service Consultant

Below, we’ve included a number of quotes from customers who have received Hallmark cards to recognize a major life event. Needless to say, these customers were not only pleasantly surprised, they welcomed them with open arms:

  • "Very surprised and happy. Said congratulations on my marriage and welcome."

  • "It made my day."

  • "No one has ever done that for me. I am going to send her a thank you card back."

  • "I'm 59 years old and am dealing with cancer. Was absolutely astounded…made my day."

  • "I was so impressed with the card...and put it on the refrigerator door."

  • "I received the card in the mail and I thought to myself, 'How did she know I needed this?'"

  • "I had to call my Mom and Grandma about my experience."

How to Start a Life Event Marketing Campaign

Hallmark Business Connections is the go-to solution for companies looking to engage consumers through life event marketing. We can help your company effectively connect with your customers in any situation—but especially during their major life events. Is it time you started connecting with your customers in new, emotionally impactful ways? Get in touch with us and learn how we can help grow your business with life event marketing.

Want more? Dive even deeper into life event marketing with this article: 5 Great Examples of Life Event Marketing Your Company Can Try Today.