Title : Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth
Author : Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin
The Blurb : Talk Triggers is the definitive, practical guide on how to use bold operational differentiators to create customer conversations.
Key + : Really actionable advice.
Key – : Case studies are all US.
Talk Triggers is a clear guide to understanding how to get your customers to be your biggest advocates. It’s presented in plain-speaking language, with no marketing psycho-babble at play, and provides some really actionable ideas that all marketers could apply in their day-to-day work.
The overall premise is that we know word of mouth is important and indeed peer-to-peer recommendations are often more trusted than other forms of marketing, so how do we as marketers get more people doing this leg work for us?
The authors demonstrate that doing a good-enough job is not enough. No-one opens a conversation with, ‘That hotel I stayed in last night was adequate’ or ‘that mortgage adviser I used was alright’. Unfortunately being run-of-the-mill good isn’t enough to get any business talked about – what people do talk about is being different.
According to the book, this difference is your ‘talk trigger’.
A USP (unique selling proposition) is apparently quite different from a talk trigger. The former being something that gets discussed in boardrooms, the latter being a potential topic of conversation at a party. You get the point.
The book also discusses whether or not social media is part of this word of mouth communication that is so highly sought after. Conclusions are that although social media has the potential for greater reach, it has not replaced word of mouth: on and offline communications are both important. It also references studies that show that in general, people are more likely to trust a recommendation from a tight, trusted network than they would something that has been circulated very widely. Therefore a conversation over a pint in the pub, could generate more business than a recommendation on Twitter.
There are four requirements of a talk trigger: it must be remarkable, relevant, reasonable and repeatable and fall into one of five talk trigger categories of empathy, usefulness, generosity, speed or attitude.
From a cheesecake restaurant with an unusually long menu, to a hotel that serves customers warm ‘welcome’ cookies, banks with a silver telephone, theme parks that give away soft drinks, dentists who personally phone patients before appointments, as well as plenty of B2B examples as well, the book is littered with copious case studies, leaving the reader believing they too could adopt this as a strategy.
The authors are quick to point out that talk triggers are often not devised in the board room. They are however frequently formulated from the knowledge and experience of those dealing with customers on a regular basis, as they can see where value can be added or what truly brings joy.
Talk triggers will have different impacts depending on how many of a business’ customers they affect and whether the talk trigger is rolled out at a product or brand level. Guidance is offered about where to start, how to get buy-in and importantly, how to measure.
Not every differentiator is a talk trigger which is why it’s important to follow the guidelines set out. For example, an idea may be remarkable and eye-catching but if it doesn’t deliver any business advantages because it can’t be repeated for other customers, or if it doesn’t really resonate with the brand, then it’s probably not worth pursuing.
Favourite line(s) : ‘In the immortal words of Spinal Tap, “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”’
Score : 9/10
Verdict : I really enjoyed this book – some great creative ideas, sufficient strategy and all in an easy-going read that won’t send you nodding off at bedtime as many ‘business’ reads do.