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Allison MelnikJanuary 22, 20195 min read

Book Clubbin': How Marketers Can Incorporate Talk Triggers Into Their Marketing Strategies

IMG_2435Editor’s Note: The Book Clubbin’ series recaps business and marketing related books read by the PR 20/20 team each quarter as part of the agency book club. This series will highlight key takeaways and top tips directly from each book club book.

In the digital age, marketers now more than ever are looking for ways to make their companies stand out amongst all the noise. However, doing so is often tricky without the right strategy in place.

In this day in age, 50% of Americans would choose word of mouth as their source of information.

For our most recent book club, the PR 20/20 team read Talk Triggers by Jay Baer (@jaybaer) and  Daniel Lemin (@daniellemin) to learn how marketers can make an impact through word of mouth. But, in order to get people talking about your business, you must first give them a reason to.

One way you can do this: talk triggers. According to the authors, talk triggers are defined as “a built-in differentiator that creates customer conversations.” In other words, strategic choices that compel word of mouth.

Below, I overview three key elements marketers can utilize to incorporate talk triggers into their marketing strategy based on key findings from Baer and Lemin’s book.

1. Understand the importance of word of mouth.

Marketers often underestimate the power of word of mouth.

But, did you know 83% of Americans trust recommendations from friends and family and 60% trust online reviews? According to the Baer and Lemin, 19% of all purchases are influenced by word of mouth, but only 1% of companies have a strategy to implement effective word-of-mouth tactics.

Consumers rely on others, especially ones they trust, to provide them with honest feedback. Whether it be a book you’ve been interested in reading or a service for your home, reviews are critical when making a purchasing decision. In the book, word of mouth is described as being critical for the following reasons:

  • It’s hyper-relevant. This is customized to tailor to the receiver's needs.
  • Saves consumers time. Instead of conducting in-depth research, consumers can rely on readily available reviews from online sources, family or friends.
  • It’s independent. The individual fueling word of mouth has no financial interest in the sale of the service.

So, why aren’t more people utilizing the goodness of word of mouth? In order to fuel word of mouth, marketers must first give consumers something to talk about.

2. Focus on the requirements of talk triggers.

Finding that extra spark that gets consumers talking about your business doesn’t have to be difficult. When marketers truly connect with their company’s brand and understand core values, beliefs and what makes them unique, it provides opportunities to dig into differentiating factors. 

When evaluating what could make your business rise above the clutter, also consider the four requirements that make a talk trigger possible:

  • Remarkable. Same is lame. Following top industry leaders is not always the best option. Focus on making a splash for your brand with something people will remember.
  • Repeatable. Contrary to belief, surprise and delight are a stunt, not a strategy. Pick something that works for your company and do it over and over again. Baer used the example of DoubleTree, which gives warm chocolate chip cookies to every single guest that checks in, and people remember this touchpoint about their brand.
  • Reasonable. Experiences that are too grand create suspicion. Focus on being different enough to be talkable, but not so big that it’s not trusted by customers.
  • Relevant. Your content must have context. Think about who you are and what you are about. Focus on delivering one of the four types of “talk triggers:” generosity, responsiveness, usefulness and attitude.

These requirements should also be paired with the five different types of talk triggers. The authors discuss how a company’s talk trigger should focus on one of the following:

  • Empathy
  • Usefulness
  • Generosity
  • Speed
  • Attitude

A good talk trigger example is Amazon’s customer service. While some may argue good customer service is hard to find, Amazon contradicts this modern stereotype. If a customer experiences an issue with their order, whether it be damaged, incorrect, lost, etc., Amazon customer service will have your back. Between refunds, extended Prime memberships or shipping out new items, Amazon holds true to high-quality customer service to ensure consumers are happy at the end of the day. In turn, this gets customers talking about the great experience they have with Amazon, and how they made a bad situation less painful and even enjoyable.

3. Bring talk triggers to life.

Once you have an understanding of the requirements and different types of talk triggers to consider, it’s time to bring yours to life.

When marketers create a talk trigger for their company, they should follow these six key steps:

  1. Gather internal insights from team members to compile knowledge already known about your customers.
  2. Get close to your customers to fully understand how you can connect with them, what will most appeal to them, etc.
  3. Create candidate talk triggers through identifying potential campaigns that could fuel word of mouth.
  4. Test and measure the talk trigger to ensure it’s making the intended impact.
  5. Expand and turn on your talk trigger once it’s been tweaked and properly defined.
  6. Amplify your talk trigger to expand audience reach and overall impact.

Remember, talk triggers won’t happen overnight. It takes time for the campaign, whatever it may be, to reach the right audience and organically fuel positive word-of-mouth traction. Baer and Lemin outline a few ways you can begin weaving the talk trigger element into your marketing tactics, including:

  • Advertising
  • Social media
  • Customer service responses
  • Email campaigns
  • Website

Follow the tips throughout this post and be patient as your business’s differentiating factor comes to life.

For more information on how you can begin implementing a talk trigger into your marketing strategy, click here.

Fuel knowledge through the power of reading.

Each quarter, the PR 20/20 team reads a business and/or marketing-related book to keep up with the latest industry trends and spark creativity. Check out our most recent posts from the Book Clubbin’ series to discover key takeaways from our selected books:

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Allison Melnik

Allison Melnik is a consultant at PR 20/20. She is a 2014 graduate of Kent State University with a concentration in organizational communications and public relations. Full bio.