Chatter Matters: Use Talk Triggers to Spark Word of Mouth Marketing

When you choose a new book or movie, what influences your decision?

According to Nielsen, one of the most persuasive elements is a recommendation from your family and friends. Sixty-six percent of respondents said that, beyond the availability of a show or movie, the endorsement of others was the second biggest factor in their personal media selection.

Create Catalysts for Conversation

As social creatures, we trust the opinions of others. But did you know word-of-mouth marketing drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending and is estimated to account for 13% of consumer sales? That’s why word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is vital to your business success.

Traditionally, WOMM was spread from one person to another based on recommendations. But today, WOMM describes both targeted efforts and naturally occurring instances where users share their satisfaction with a brand. This means anything from print testimonials and oversized displays to live events and social media sharing can be used to get good gossip flowing.

But beyond great products and strong service, sometimes you need an extra catalyst to get people sharing. Unless a friend asks them for a recommendation, why would someone go out of their way to talk about your business? Because you made it so easy for them to do this! To be more intentional about sparking conversations, brainstorm how your brand can set up word-of-mouth “triggers.”

What is a Talk Trigger?

A talk trigger is a benefit, articulated with a story, that people will talk about when together. This means giving your customers something memorable, like an experience, thought, or feeling they rarely find elsewhere. Now people are almost forced to talk about you to others.

For the Cheesecake Factory, the talk trigger is its massive menu, which has hundreds of items and almost 6,000 words to describe them all. The menu didn’t just happen—it’s a strategic choice by the Cheesecake Factory that gets people talking. Marketing research shows that, due to the novelty of this product, 38% of Cheesecake Factory customers talked about the menu afterward being asked. The bizarre menu is a simple thing that encourages conversation and makes customers advocate for the brand.

Hosting an event? Don’t let opportunities for talk triggers pass you by! Perhaps you can host a “Meet the Speakers” reception, where featured guests also sign books, pose for selfies, and answer questions. Nothing is more “shareable” than an experience where guests are front-row participants.

Want to surprise and delight customers? When they register for an event or product, make the last question you ask something like, “what is your favorite kind of treat?” Give customers options like chocolate, flavored popcorn, or snack mixes and surprise them with a personalized, complimentary goodie when they come in for a service or an event.

Original, Unexpected, or Uniquely You

Every company can create a talk trigger – something remarkable, relevant to customers, and repeatable – so it can be offered consistently over time.

Need inspiration for creating your own talk triggers? Start by mapping the customer journey and identifying potential touchpoints or places for triggers. Then interview new customers and long-time loyalists to get their perspective on your brand. From here, have fun brainstorming! Create something original, unexpected, or uniquely you.

What can you do that your clients don’t see coming? That’s how you get them talking.

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