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Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth

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Talk Triggers is the definitive, practical guide on how to use bold operational differentiators to create customer conversations, written by best-selling authors and marketing experts Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin.

Word of mouth is directly responsible for 19% of all purchases, and influences as much as 90%. Every human on earth relies on word of mouth to make buying decisions. Yet even today, fewer than 1% of companies have an actual strategy for generating these crucial customer conversations. Talk Triggers provides that strategy in a compelling, relevant, timely book that can be put into practice immediately, by any business.

The key to activating customer chatter is the realization that same is lame. Nobody says "let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience I had last night." The strategic, operational differentiator is what gives customers something to tell a story about. Companies (including the 30+ profiled in Talk Triggers ) must dare to be different and exceed expectations in one or more palpable ways. That's when word of mouth becomes the customers of these businesses simply MUST tell someone else.

Talk Triggers

Consumers are wired to discuss what is different, and ignore what is average. Talk Triggers not only dares the reader to differentiate, it includes the precise formula for doing it.

Combining compelling stories, inspirational examples, and practical how-to, Talk Triggers is the first indispensable book about word of mouth. It's a book that will create conversation about the power of conversation.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published October 2, 2018

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About the author

Jay Baer

20 books98 followers
Jay Baer is the co-author of The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter & More Social.

He is social media strategy consultant, and founder of the firm Convince & Convert, that works with leading companies and their agencies on social media integration.

His Convince & Convert blog is one of the world’s top English-language marketing resources, as was ranked the #3 social media blog in the world.

A founder of five companies, Baer has consulted for more than 700 companies on a variety of digital marketing and social media initiatives since 1994, and clients have included Nike, Sony, P&G, Monsanto, Caterpillar, MetLife, and Cadbury.

A November, 2010 issue of Fast Company Magazine cited him as one of the three leading social media advisors in America.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 41 reviews
Profile Image for Lorilin.
757 reviews241 followers
October 13, 2018
The main point of this book is that your business's sales will increase if you give your customers a story (a talk trigger) to tell their friends and family. For example, people talk about The Cheesecake Factory 's exhaustive menu and Hilton Double Tree's warm cookies at check in. Give people a story to talk about, and they will market your brand for you.

The book outlines what counts as a talk trigger. Then it talks about how to create talk triggers, how to measure their success, and then how to expand and amplify them. In a nutshell, a talk trigger must be remarkable, relevant to your area of business, reasonable, and repeatable. It should focus on empathy, usefulness, generosity, speed, or attitude. You'll know it's working when customers feel compelled to share their experiences with others.

One of the sections I found most useful is the one on potential obstacles that you might face as you consider a new talk trigger for your business. Author Jay Baer states:

Employees and customers share an inability to envision things that are different. Different is hard. Different can be an unfortunate reminder of the unimaginative side of human beings... [Sometimes] the gatekeepers blocking your way are afraid the idea won't work, which might blow back on them, or they're worried that it will work and its success will somehow tarnish their reputation for creativity.

No matter what, though, Baer encourages readers to keep thinking outside the box to consider new ideas. Allow new ideas time to work, he says, yet don't be afraid to abandon them if they aren't. Above all, don't let the haters get you down, and don't give up.

Overall, Baer delivers a positive and empowering message using unique and creative strategies. I ended up really enjoying this book. 

Thanks to Portfolio and Amazon Vine for the ARC!

See more of my book reviews at www.bugbugbooks.com.
Author 5 books36 followers
August 21, 2018
There are a lot of good tips in here that can be applied to smaller businesses, however the examples in book are primarily huge chains. Well written and packed in a easy to digest format. I'd recommend for any business owner or brand manager for creating something special that will get talked about, can be repeated, and will last.
Profile Image for Arjen.
189 reviews7 followers
February 24, 2019
One of the greatest challenges for a brand.... I've been working on generating client referrals and social media buzz for our construction equipment for years in my current role. Reading this book has pushed me up a level in my determination! Key insight are to involve the whole team, and to also include the talking trigger subtlety in other marketing activities.
Profile Image for Lane Anderson.
94 reviews6 followers
January 3, 2020
Highly recommend to every business owner and marketer.

This book doesn't just explain why word of mouth is important, and it doesn't stop at defining the four essential criteria for an effective talk trigger, or conclude after suggesting the five types of talk triggers. It follows through with six steps on how to create a talk trigger in your business.

This book is a resource for real, business-changing action.

I really like the quick reference guide in the back that summarizes each chapter. I'm sure I'll be pulling this one off the bookshelf once in a while to reference.

Every business values word of mouth, but less than 1% of businesses have a plan to earn word of mouth! Read this book. Be one of the 1%.
December 21, 2021
The Talk Triggers book was highly valuable in practicality, simplicity, and strategic focus. The language used by the authors was minimalistic in terms of the theoretic concepts and terminology used, which was contributing to the understanding of the main messages and concepts. The practicality was stemming from the case study approach with the examples of companies, products, and services for each concept. Such an approach was supporting the descriptive aspect of the book. At the same time, the authors managed to create a strategic approach around their concept, culminating in practical recommendations to businesses and entrepreneurs with specific steps and guidelines. Specifically, the framework supporting the creation of talk triggers had specific steps describing the practical steps necessary for its incorporation.

While talk triggers entail communication, the authors of the book underlined their substance constituting their value. Specifically, the Cheesecake Factory example with the menu size that was working as a WOM tool represented an unconventional instrument from the standpoint of its form. At the same time, the authors underlined that the uniqueness of the talk triggers was insufficient for their effectiveness in the long term. Thus, business entities needed to ensure the sustainability of talk triggers, suggesting their benefits would be outweighing their costs. These concepts were particularly evident in the four talk triggers criteria. In particular, the book suggests that firms should remain remarkable in their talk triggers as “worthy of being or likely to be noticed…”. On the other hand, the reasonableness criterion limits this characteristic to avoid “overpromising” and instill trust . The balance between the uniqueness and sustainable nature of talk triggers was amongst the most interesting concept in the book.
While the majority of the concepts presented in the Talk Triggers book were highly effective and practical, it is possible to debate certain points. For instance, the authors stated that the creation of talk triggers was not marketing. Such a statement was separating the WOM and talk triggers from the marketing campaign and communication strategy. Furthermore, the authors were denying the possibility of using the conventional media as a channel for creating and using talk triggers. In my opinion, the separation of talk triggers from the marketing and communication strategy limits their effectiveness and subtracts from the general corporate strategy. In this disagreement, it is possible to suggest that talk triggers should become the naturally integrated components of corporate strategy, as they need to reflect the mission and vision of the company. The alignment of talk triggers with the company’s strategy would also support their realistic nature and increase the level of trust from the customers. For instance, the case involving Americollect, mentioned in Talk Triggers, demonstrated how the identity of the company became its talk trigger. Thus, the traditional media channels would be effective for developing this instrument.
Profile Image for Alejandro Sanoja.
312 reviews12 followers
March 15, 2020
This is a great book for business owners, marketers, and salespeople. It'll get you thinking outside of the box on ways to grow your revenue in a meaningful way.

I first learned about "Talk Triggers" through a podcast episode and thought that it was enough. Yet, the book goes much more into detail (as expected, duh).

Flow: 5/5, easy to read and bingeable.

Actionability: 5/5, the book shares some specific step-by-step instructions that you can follow to apply what you will be learning.

Mindset: 4/5, it will offer new perspectives for business owners, marketers, and salespeople on how to engage your current and potential clients in meaningful and memorable ways.

Some Of My Highlights:

"...sparking a conversation about your brand among a network of loosely connected humans is cheaper but infinitely more complex. It requires patience, faiths, and agility, not traits that have traditionally been valued in CMOs."

"Real influencers rarely need to be paid. In fact, most of then can't be bought. It's a failure of our profession that so many marketers still don't get that."

"...the success of brands like Slack, CrossFit, Chipotle, Dropbox, Tesla, and Google have proved that word-of-mouth marketing creates not just customers but loyal, passionate advocates."

"Researchers David Godes and Dina Mayzlin found that a single word-of-mouth conversation by a new customer leads to an almost $200 increase in restaurant sales."

"A USP is a feature, articulated with a bullet point, that is discussed in a conference room. A talk trigger is a benefit, articulated with a story, that is discussed at a cocktail party."

"Word of mouth is perhaps the most effective and cost-effective ways to grow any company."

"...19 percent of all consumer purchases in the United States were directly caused by offline or online word-of-mouth activity."

"...the impact of recommendations and referrals in business-to-business (B2B) scenarios is actually far greater, due to the considered nature of most purchases, the high average prices, and the limited number of total customers."

"...63 percent of business owners believed that more than half of their overall revenue came from referrals. Yet 90 percent of those respondents had no defined system for generating those referrals."

"Typically, messages passed within tight, trusted networks have less reach but greater impact than those circulated through dispersed communities."

Profile Image for Scott Pearson.
551 reviews19 followers
January 3, 2020
With the advent of the Internet and social media, word-of-mouth marketing has come into its own. Word of mouth was always a potent force offline, but online, its force has only amplified. The trouble, I find, is the excess noise. Yes, everybody’s doing it, and your product’s survival is at stake. What can make your product thrive via word of mouth? Baer and Lemin offer some answers with their concept of Talk Triggers.

Talk Triggers are things that cause people to talk freely about a product. Examples include Doubletree’s free cookies and The Cheesecake Factory’s expansive menu. These emblems end up defining a product and sponsor its success. Baer and Lemin talk about what makes an effective Talk Trigger and differentiate it from mere gimmicks. They also provide a couple real-life examples in each chapter of how a business thrives using some element of a Talk Trigger.

The authors also provide a template on how to create (and re-create) a Talk Trigger for the reader’s business. They reference online resources (worksheets) that help the reader put the pen/pencil to the paper and shape their business ventures. Their goal is not simply to introduce a new concept; they aim to enhance business practice.

I find their concept very practical and easy to implement. The work of inspiring the reader is achieved by abundant instances of real-life use. It’s fun and interesting to read about how businesses have been successful via viral word-of-mouth campaigns. It seems that Baer and Lemin are especially aware that they merely highlight an existing practice instead of inventing something new.

It would be nice if the authors extended their work from the study of business practices vis-a-vis word of mouth into the psychology of how to come up with effective Talk Triggers. Obviously, some Triggers are more effective than others. They acknowledge this fact squarely, but they do not delve deeply into the psychology of what makes a particular Talk Trigger more effective than another. If they were to write a follow-up work on this topic, I’d definitely take the time to read it.

December 20, 2021
The book is informative, insightful, and filled with strategies organizations could leverage to boost their performance. The authors build the book's content on prioritizing consumers as the first step in promoting organizational success. Its wealth of knowledge clearly explains why some companies have struggled to adapt to a changing world. The idea that consumers have more opportunities during increased connectivity, engagement, and transparency was eye-opening. Besides, buyer behavior has changed due to technology allowing us instant access at any moment and anywhere. The book's insights are necessary when looking into the future of marketing. The book's content makes it highly valuable in the corporate space. Organizations worldwide can apply this content to navigate the marketplace dynamics associated with consumers, enhancing their performance metrics. The authors have a chance to improve this book's quality in subsequent versions. One way to improve the book is to provide several examples in each section and chapter connecting the content with real-world application.
However, I disagree that the book only applies to the business market or companies looking to promote their products. While it is undoubtedly one of the examples used throughout the book, there are plenty of places where even an individual can make the strategy work. Marketing has always been about engagement and conversation but not to the current degree. Additionally, I disagree that customers have more power now than before because there is so much access to information. They are easy to influence. An example is the negative press coverage Wells Fargo got for opening accounts without customers' permission. Even though clients used media outlets to voice their concerns publicly, it is still not as powerful as mass-media channels were in the past when consumers did not have other options. Consumers are now looking for information. They expect to find it all in one place, which is why we see search engine optimization as a vital marketing strategy for many companies.
Profile Image for Teena in Toronto.
2,189 reviews64 followers
November 23, 2019
I find books about customer service and customer reactions interesting so that's why this book caught my eye ... it's about talk triggers and word-of-mouth marketing. I'd never heard the term "talk triggers" before.

The sections are:

* Why word of mouth works
* The four talk trigger criteria - be remarkable, relevant, reasonable and repeatable
* The five types of talk triggers - talkable empathy, talkable usefulness, talkable generosity, talkable speed and talkable attitude
* Creating talk triggers in six steps - gather internal insights, get close to your customers, create candidate talk triggers, test and measure your talk triggers, expand and turn on and amplify your talk trigger
* Appendix - summaries of the chapters including the key points and key data

I liked that there were case studies in all the chapters. For example, they discussed how Doubletree Hotels by Hilton give you a warm cookie when you check in. I've stayed at the Doubletree Hotel in Regina, SK, a few times and yes, they do give you a warm cookie (sometimes two!) when you check in. And yes, I've told others about it and mentioned it in my blog posts and Yelp posts. And yes, it is one of the reasons I stay at this hotel when I go to Regina. I didn't realize there was a term for it (ie talk trigger). The book also discusses Five Guys Burger and Fries. I've had a burger and fries at a few of their restaurants. Even if you are eating in, your order comes in a bag. And regardless of the size of fries you order, they intentionally give you more (hence the bag) ... and yes, they do. And yes, I have mentioned the abundance of fries in my blog posts and Yelp posts without realizing it was their talk trigger.

Blog review post: http://www.teenaintoronto.com/2019/11...
Profile Image for Abdullah_91.
2 reviews
April 24, 2021
This book is based on the Purple Cow Effect marketing concept created by Seth Godin which states that companies must build things worth noticing right into their products or services. The conventional way of advertising and marketing communications are usually handled by the business marketing group and published through social media, TV channels, Radio etc. This book has looked at this concept differently and suggested that brands should be talkable themselves, and stories about the brand should be spread by customers. Godin called it “Purple Cow” and the authors called it the “Talkable” part of the brand. When a brand succeeds in creating their own word of mouth, customers will be eager to spread their experience and stories about that brand when they try it. These stories will serve the brand as a free advertisement and it is more effective than the conventional way of advertising for simple reasons:
1- It's hyper relevant. The recommender customizes the recommendation to fit the receiver’s perceived needs. No other form of marketing is as personalized, and consumers desire personalization.
2- It saves the receiver time as he/she will not have to research for making decision.
3- It comes from our close friends, relatives, and colleagues. From people whom we trust and Trust is "a company's most important assets" as David Horsager said once.
4- It comes from independent people with no financial interests which will add more credibility and persuasiveness to the equation.
5- It’s free. Customers tell your stories involuntarily, which turns them into volunteer marketers.
2 reviews
April 4, 2020
Based on my views, the book is an exciting piece that demonstrates the right way to increase sales by giving customers stories about products and services. I also indicated that the material provides crucial insights into the best ways to encourage customers to share information with their friends and relatives. For example, I captured the talk about The Cheesecake’s menu that gives clients something to talk about and market the company’s brand (Baer & Lemin, 2018). I further argued that it outlines the various elements of a Talk Trigger, including the process of creating the triggers, testing, and measuring their effectiveness. I agree with the idea of Talk Triggers being relevant, reasonable, and remarkable to capture the interests of different clients. The three factors create a compelling message that motivates clients to share experiences with other people. I also identified chapter one of the book as one of the most insightful parts that reveal the challenges faced by organizations as they strive to implement Talk Triggers. For instance, Baer and Lemin indicated that "employees and customers share an inability to envision different things." In this case, it is crucial to understand the unimaginative aspect of human beings that influences their creativity. My thought about the book concludes by stressing that it encourages readers to be critical thinkers who consider new ideas.
Profile Image for Nathan.
Author 2 books46 followers
July 7, 2019
Fantastic book. I help companies design experiences for their customers and far too often, they think that means nothing more than making the process faster and friendlier. But, if your goal is to get the process over as quickly as possible, that's just better service; not an experience. Too often, those businesses just make themselves less remarkable rather than more.

This book - along with its free online worksheets - gives you a way to avoid that trap; by designing something remarkable into your operations. They call it a talk-trigger and give examples like the warm cookie upon check-in at a Doubletree Hotel, the huge menu at the Cheesecake Factory, free soft-drinks at an Indiana amusement park, and many more.

If I have one criticism of the book, it's that they have the same limited definition of customer experience that I referenced above. Most of their mentions of customer experience are what I would call customer service. A customer experience only comes when you have something remarkable enough to create a memory in the customer.

But while their definition of customer experience was a bit off, their solution is right on: design something repeatable into your process that gets customers talking about you. Design a talk-trigger.
1 review
November 27, 2020
In general, I really like the idea of Talk Tiggers because it doesn’t cost as what advertisement does, also it is a memorable story that will add a positive picture to the brand and it will be a part of it. when customers are talking about the company’s talk triggers that means it has been succeed and people will never forget it, while advertising is temporary and may not add anything to the brand’s picture.
On other hand, I believe the book will be better if it has an example with real profits calculation that show how the profits have been increased after using talk triggers. Also, the book will be more convincing if it has a bench mark or comparison table with other methods of promotions, specially that the talk triggers has more advantages comparing to other methods. In addition, the book chapters can be managed better than what is exist, the talk triggers definitions and types should be clarify in the beginning chapters to allowed the reader to track the examples goals fastly.
Finally, I found the talk triggers book is really enjoyable and useful, and I recommend it because it can achieve two common targets for the companies in the same time, increasing the profits and increasing the customer satisfaction.
Profile Image for Marija Vaicaitiene.
10 reviews1 follower
June 25, 2019
Author interviewed companies which demonstrates the best word of mouth cases, analyzed processes that lead to their talk trigger and found patterns how to make customers talk about any product or services. So this book is a very good step by step guide how to create talk triggers: how to get to the idea, how to make it happen, how to measure the results and how to keep customers talking forever.
My favorite examples of talk triggers:
* Oral surgeon who is calling (him selves) to all his patients a week before the visit just to ask if they have any questions.
* Conference organizers creates special HOLD ON song for waiting customers on the telephone.
* Car rent company gives away two bottles of local bear with a hand written note.
Profile Image for Olli Kopakkala.
120 reviews6 followers
January 17, 2019
Hyvä opas Word of mouth-markkinoinnin aktivoimiseen.
Kannattaa keksiä jokin asia, mistä asiakkaat muistavat yrityksenne ja haluavat kertoa eteenpäin.

2/3 kirjasta on tosi hyvää kontenttia. On paljon hauskoja esimerkkejä. Sen jälkeen menee aika turhaksi asioiden toistamiseksi. Lopun vinkit on luokkaa "Pidä kokous ja miettikää miten saatte yrityksellenne oman "talk triggerin. Jos se ei toimi, keksikää uusi."

Lisäksi tässä ei hirveästi oteta huomioon turvallisuutta, mitä muissa samantyyppisissä kirjoissa painotetaan. Referral Engine on parempi.
Profile Image for Madeleine Work.
73 reviews2 followers
February 28, 2019
I finished reading this book completely convinced of the power of talk triggers. The authors provide a sufficient number of case studies to get an idea for how talk triggers can play out in the real world and give aspiring "talk-triggerers" some food for thought. The last few chapters of the book also provide step-by-step instructions for how to plan, measure, and scale up talk triggers in your own business.

I found this book informative, inspiring, delightful -- and funny! The authors have a quippy style of humor that really gets me right there.
Profile Image for Abbie Miller.
345 reviews
April 21, 2019
So many business books are written in the same format: summary upfront and repeat with different words through the next 17 chapters. This book is unlike all those business books. Not only did the authors describe with detailed examples, methods and successes and failures the topic at hand, they went on to walk you through step by step (for real!) how to do it for your business. This, in and of itself, IS A TALK TRIGGER!! #winning
Even if you’re not looking to create a talk trigger for your company, at the very least it will compel you to consider what and why you are unique.
Profile Image for Shannon.
119 reviews
September 15, 2019
Completed the audiobook in one sitting (windshield time). Good points, good examples, and actionable steps outlined in Section 4. The four requirements and five types of talk triggers were explained simply - making it easy to digest from every seat in an organization. As I was listening, I couldn’t help but think, “this is a purple cow.” Low and behold, they mentioned Seth Godin’s book a couple times. Regardless, it’s a good refresher for any sales/marketing/customer team and prompts you to spiral into some thoughtful brainstorming.
Profile Image for William Brophy.
79 reviews1 follower
March 19, 2020
Read this book!

If you really want to differentiate your brand from competitors and create the proper conditions for word of mouth marketing than this is your book. The ideas are simple to understand yet powerful. If you've ever talked about how big the Cheesecake Factory menu is, how DoubleTree has fresh cookies at check-in or how Five Guys gives an extra scoop of fries with orders, you've promoted a talk trigger. Check it out today!
Author 3 books8 followers
November 22, 2018
I listened to this book and it was good enough where I now am going to buy the book in print version so I can highlight and use many of the suggestions in the book. If you're looking to build word of mouth about your business, this is a book you should READ and highlight so you remember what ideas you want to implement.
March 11, 2019
Worth reading

As Zincer argued, the text must have only one idea to stick. this book definitely does have a huge idea in itself. Though I do find quite obvious almost all strategies and tactics here, the observation on 4 types of talk triggers and the idea of the talk triggers itself is sticky. Hope this book soon will be available in Russian so my colleges could read it .
Profile Image for Jason Krause.
Author 1 book10 followers
December 10, 2020
A very practical book on getting word of mouth marketing for your business. Talk triggers should be remarkable, relevant, reasonable, and repeatable. They are woven into the operations of the organization, not just promotions. The last I checked they had some free downloadable products on their website.
Profile Image for Dan Moyle.
18 reviews2 followers
January 31, 2019
This book is full of great examples of what it takes to exceed customer expectations and generate strategic, purposeful word of mouth marketing. Jay and Daniel have created something special here. I’ll be shouting this strategy from the rooftops for a long time.
Profile Image for Felipe CZ.
514 reviews33 followers
March 15, 2019
A book about the importance of world-of-mouth. That is one of the best and cheapest (or free) ways to grow a business. So by crafting a talk trigger that makes your customers talk about you, according to your values, you will make a difference and stand out in a crowd.
July 26, 2019
The chapters are laid out so easy and quick read. You don’t need to teach chapters in order. The first half of the book really explains what are talk triggers. The second half I didn’t feel were as strong but provided framework on how to creat talk triggers
Profile Image for Seth G.
17 reviews
January 15, 2019
A fantastic read. Worth the read. Jay and Dan really help you get an handle on getting WOM for your business.
Profile Image for Mark Bruk.
19 reviews8 followers
March 4, 2019
i was expecting more than just telling me to be different all book long, okay some ideas were interesting and appliable to our business but the rest could of been written on one page.
Profile Image for Nick.
69 reviews
April 7, 2019
Amazing read that really got some gears turning for me. Every book I’ve read by Jay has been excellent and this is no exception. Already have some notes jotted down to pitch my team on Monday!
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