Triggers, as the name indicates, initiate Marketing Automation processing. Nothing happens in Marketing Automation without a trigger.

There are two types of triggers in the system: event triggers and time triggers.

Event Triggers

Event Triggers happen when a campaign participant “Does Something” –  Opens an email, clicks a link, registers for a webinar, submits a landing page, etc.

The point of the trigger is to answer the question “When?” When do we send a recipient a message? When they enter this block? When their points reached a threshold? When this recipient is added to a group? Etc.


It’s important to understand that event triggers fire for one participant at a time. For instance, if you build an item that reads

When [recipient clicks a link] then [send recipient a message]

You then add a 100 recipients to that block. Now, if one recipient clicks a link then only THAT recipient will be sent the message. The other 99 recipients did not click a link and therefore will not receive the message.

Time Triggers

Time triggers allow you to evaluate conditions and run actions on a schedule. A good example is a birthday campaign that you want to send daily at 2:00pm. There is no “event” tied to the fact that a recipient’s birthday is today. Rather the trigger is based on the fact that it’s 2pm and it’s time to send our daily birthday message.

Unlike event triggers, time triggers apply to ALL participants in the block. Imagine you have 100 participants in the block and 10 happen to have the same birthday. If you build an item that looks like Example 3 from above:

When [it’s 2pm every day] and [custom field Birthday is today] then do [send message “Happy Birthday” to these recipients]

At 2pm, it will fire (because it is a time based trigger), find 10 recipients that match the condition, and send out 10 emails.

There are a variety of options for scheduling time triggers from specific dates and times, to most of the scheduling options available in Outlook and Google Calendars: