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Talk Triggers: Unleashing the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Digital Marketing

Appreciate the value of your talk triggers.

This article draws inspiration from extensive research and compelling case studies found in “Talk Triggers: The Definitive Manual for Cultivating Customer Conversations,” a groundbreaking book by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin.

Countless businesses assert their superiority in the market, but only a select few truly deliver on their promises. You’ve likely encountered numerous occasions where an advertised “world-famous” restaurant fails to live up to its lofty claims as you speed down the highway.

It’s reminiscent of the tale of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” — when every company boasts about being the best, it becomes nearly impossible to discern who is trustworthy. Even when businesses genuinely offer top-notch products or services, there’s no guarantee that their customers will share their experiences through word-of-mouth.

Instead of relying on empty accolades to fuel your word-of-mouth marketing, adopt a far more impactful and sustainable approach: talk triggers. A talk trigger is an aspect of your business that sparks conversations among your customers, amplifying your brand’s influence.

A talk trigger can take various forms, and most importantly, it doesn’t have to break the bank. For example, DoubleTree by Hilton warmly greets each hotel guest with a delectable chocolate chip cookie. The minimal cost of this gesture pales in comparison to a massive advertising budget, yet it remains a defining characteristic of DoubleTree’s brand. Coincidence? Definitely not.

Discovering Your Unique Advantage

When everything feels strikingly similar, price becomes the sole distinguishing factor. Even worse, companies invest substantial time and effort into competing based on customer experience or product quality. While these aspects are undoubtedly important, they merely serve as the baseline expectation. If you and your closest competitor both deliver exceptional service, your differentiating factor vanishes into thin air.

It goes without saying that delivering subpar customer service is never advisable, but it’s crucial to recognize the limitations of relying on something that all your competitors offer. After all, a selling proposition should be genuinely unique. Being the same as everyone else is uninspiring, and psychological studies have proven that we tend to overlook what’s average in favor of discussing what’s distinctive.

Shattering Conventional Norms

Instead of becoming one among many companies that intentionally strip away their unique qualities, strive to transform them into talk triggers. Genuine talk triggers don’t emerge spontaneously — they demand careful thought and strategic planning. When selecting the ideal talk trigger for your business, ensure it possesses these three essential attributes:

Crafting an Intriguing Talk Trigger

Many argue that advertising is the toll paid by unremarkable businesses to sustain their operations. Without a distinct experiential element, they are left with no choice but to rely on hefty advertising budgets, which can burden even a solid business with excellent products. Your talk trigger should be something that compels people to share it with their loved ones because it inherently piques their interest. This is especially crucial for challenger brands aiming to compete against well-established companies.

WindsorONE generated excitement by imprinting its lumber with a telephone number that customers could call to receive a free T-shirt. While their customer service representatives collected contact information during these calls, they took the opportunity to discuss the company’s various products. The “Call Kurt for a Shirt” initiative saved advertising expenses while significantly reducing the cost of acquiring new leads, all while providing customers with trendy apparel.

Embracing the Element of Surprise in Your Talk Trigger

Companies often succumb to the expectations set by their competitors, leading to the elimination of any opportunity to stand out and resulting in dull, standardized markets. In her book “Different,” Harvard Business School professor Youngme Moon explains how “competition and conformity will always be closely intertwined because a race can only be run if everyone is facing the same direction.”

Instead of following the same direction as your competitors, concentrate on setting your business apart. Jay Sofer, the owner of Lockbusters, discovered a way to build meaningful relationships with customers through Yelp. By encouraging a customer to donate money to a rescue shelter rather than paying his regular fee, Sofer’s story took on a life of its own. References to the donation to Sugar Mutts Rescue continue to appear in the five-star reviews his business consistently receives from satisfied customers.

The Power of Self-Promoting Talk Triggers

A compelling story not only captivates your audience but also inspires them to share it with others. However, your talk trigger should not be a mere PR stunt or an empty slogan, as the marketing landscape is already saturated with such tactics. Instead, a talk trigger should encapsulate something truly captivating at the core of your organization.

David Bowie’s adoption of the Ziggy Stardust persona might have seemed eccentric in the 1970s, but that was precisely the intention. Bowie sought a talk trigger and knew he could ignite conversations and garner attention by defying societal norms entirely. A Rolling Stone article detailing the genesis of Ziggy Stardust states that Bowie aimed to “out-glam and out-shock” musicians like Alice Cooper.

Talk triggers possess the potential to profoundly impact your company’s success, far surpassing incremental improvements in service or price reductions. Instead of struggling to keep up with the competition, break free from the race and fashion a talk trigger that compels your customers to forget about everyone else.




Tags: Digital Marketing

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