Automated messages can be triggered by a vast range of behaviors and events. In our Oracle Consulting Checklist of Automated Campaign Ideas to Explore (free, no-form download), we identify more than 110 triggered campaigns — and that’s independent from the channel you’d use for your message, any segmentation you’d do, and how you’d treat your automations differently across your lines of business.

We organize this incredible variety of triggers into four groups based on whether they’re triggered by...

  1. An action taken by the subscriber or customer or by the brand.
  2. Inaction over a period of time by the subscriber or customer.
  3. A date that’s important to the individual subscriber or customer.
  4. A signal from an internet-connected device owned by the customer or user.

Chances are you’re familiar with those first three trigger types, but that last bucket is the newest and least developed. However, these machine-triggered messages have a lot of potential, especially as more and more products become connected to the internet. 

Examples of Machine-Triggered Messages

The critical difference with this kind of trigger is that it’s completely independent of behaviors related to either the customer or the brand. Based on preset conditions or user preferences, the device itself is determining that a message needs to be sent to the customer or user.

Today, these conditions and preferences generally fall into two categories. Let’s talk about each of them and share some examples.

1. Product Service or Attention Needed

This message tells the product owner (and others, if desired) that their internet-connected product needs attention. Exactly what that is could vary widely, depending on the product. For example, the message could be triggered by:

  • A power bank that’s below a certain level of charge and that needs a recharge.
  • A car that needs a particular kind of servicing, augmenting the often vague and generic service lights on vehicle dashboards.
  • A printer that’s low on ink.
  • A computer battery that isn’t charging as expected.
  • A factory machine that’s experiencing a jam, excessive heat, or another condition that might cause it to stop or become damaged if unaddressed.

Related Article: Machine Learning Trends for Marketers to Watch in 2022

2. Activity Detected

This message tells the product owner (and others, if desired) that their internet-connected product has detected a change in condition or a specific condition. Again, exactly what that is can vary widely, but could include:

  • A security sensor connection being broken, as in the case of a door being opened or left open for more than a prescribed period of time.
  • A security camera or video doorbell detecting motion in its field of vision or in a prescribed area of its field of vision.
  • A smart thermostat detecting a temperature that’s above or below prescribed levels.
  • A hygrometer detecting humidity outside of a prescribed range.
  • A water or freeze detector sensing that condition.

Of course, there are many more conditions that can fall into these two broad categories.

Choose Your Channel Based on Urgency

Of the situations mentioned above, some are good-to-knows, while others are urgent — emergencies even, in some cases. Depending on whether action is needed sometime in the relative near future or right this instant, choose the appropriate channel for the triggered message.

Learning Opportunities

Email can be attention-demanding, depending on a person’s inbox app settings, but mobile push and SMS are much better channels for truly urgent messages. For example, a printer being low on ink or a power bank’s charge being low aren’t super urgent. However, a doorbell camera detecting something or a water detector going off do demand immediate attention, so more interruptive messaging makes sense.

Or even better yet: Establish reasonable defaults, but then give your customers and users the ability to select how they want to be reached.

Related Article: Turbocharge Your Marketing Strategy With Email Automation

Facilitate a Solution for Machine-Triggered Emails

A notification is great, but a solution is better. So, when it makes sense, use the alert to drive action to fix the situation.

For example, if it’s about needed car servicing, then include the dealership service number to call or a link to schedule the service. Or if the notification is about a printer being low on ink, then provide links to reorder ink — or to sign up to have new ink auto-delivered anytime your printer detects ink being low. 

Indeed, machine-triggered emails may be part of the transition to more zero-click conversions, where products, parts and servicing are automatically ordered in response solely to signals from machines (with pre-approval, of course).

But even more exciting is the ever-expanding array of internet-connected things, both conventional and unconventional — such as using plant nanobionics to allow spinach plants to send emails. What possibilities can you think of?

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