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Talk Triggers —or Word of Mouth — Key to More Customer Engagement

Jay Baer, the founder of Convince and Convert, said marketers need to tell stories and not just spew out bullet points.

In business, 19 percent of sales are caused by word of mouth. However, although virtually all companies care about word of mouth, very few actually do what is necessary.

“We just assume people will talk about us but we don’t do anything to make those conversations,” Baer said at the Digital Summit in Dallas.

Baer said “talk triggers” create conversations and clone customers.

But what is a talk trigger?

A talk trigger is another way to say word of mouth. It works because more than ever before people have the power and trust one another more than they trust businesses.

Word of mouth gives you better digital engagements, and half of word of mouth is online.

“You can’t just go about your business the same you have at the beginning,” Baer said. “You have to give them something to talk about, and that thing you give them has to be something they have not seen.”

Here are four characteristics of Talk Triggers:

  1. It needs to be remarkable – Your product, or whatever you are marketing, needs to be worthy of remark. Once you have something that has a talk trigger, your business will spawn stories from others.


  1. It needs to be repeatable – Whatever you do that is worth talking about, it needs to be repeatable. Baer used the Penn & Teller show in Las Vegas as an example. After each magic show, the two stars of the show go out and talk to every audience member, regardless of how long it takes. They don’t treat anyone special. They have done more than 5,760 shows, and each show they come out and make everyone feel special.


  1. It needs to be realistic – Customers will be suspicious if a company promises too much. Customer experiences that are too grand create suspicion. Instead, be like the DoubleTree Hotel and give a cookie during each stay. Something as small as this can make a big impact. Baer said according to a survey, 34% of people who have stayed at a DoubleTree Hotel have talked about the cookies.


  1. It needs to be relevant – Your talk trigger has to relate to your brand. Have you ever given away an iPad? Baer says the only people who do that should be Apple? Why would you promote someone else’s brand? The promotion or marketing engagement needs to relate to your brand.

Baer has a book coming out soon. If you want to download a free six-step PDF about the Talk Triggers, text “Triggers” to 66866.

One Comment

  1. Rolf Gatlin December 6, 2017 at 2:31 am - Reply

    Was thinking about the impact of word of mouth the other day. Have a whiz bang idea and want it to catch on like fire… word of mouth over any other tool in the shed.

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