When it comes to ‘Word of Mouth’…a ‘Talk Trigger’ can yield a delicious mouthful of returns.

Here’s a quick blog that provides a prime and memorable example of how a seemingly basic idea can yield broad benefits, time after time, in the marketing world. It’s from author and customer service guru Jay Baer, whom I’ve referenced before in our blogs.

In Jay’s research presented within his book Talk Triggers, he shared a story about how a Word of Mouth marketing tactic worked to a T, gleaned from his personal experience.

Jay began by talking about a business trip he made to Cleveland, staying at a Ritz Carlton hotel. On the property, near the elevator, there was a bowl of perfect green apples. On the last day of his 3 day conference, he asked if any of his 20 colleagues had noticed the apples. They had. Did anyone eat an apple? No. Would they tell a story to someone else about the apples? Certainly not.

In placing green apples near the elevator, the Ritz presented something that merely occurs. It’s backdrop scenery. It’s background noise. It’s just ‘there’. Jay states that “Stories are built from experiences, not bullet points.”

Jay then contrasted his less than fruitful (pun intended) Ritz Carlton experience with the unique DoubleTree hotels’ ‘hook’. At DoubleTree, you’re greeted with a baked-on-site-and-served-warm chocolate chip cookie physically handed to you at guest check-in. It can’t be avoided or ignored. The DoubleTree makes the effort and gives guests something to experience. And the experience is the ‘talk trigger’…which makes all the difference in the effectiveness of Word of Mouth marketing tactics. (And it doesn’t hurt that the cookie is delicious.)

Jay said that he found nearly 30% of DoubleTree guests tell someone a story about their cookie experience. Pre-pandemic, the hotel chain was handing out nearly 75,000 cookies a day worldwide. Statistically, that equates to about 25,000 stories every day. And 9.125 MILLION stories a year, all baked into each DoubleTree guests’ stay. This kind of unique customer experience invokes a ‘talk trigger’ and makes getting easy word of mouth customer endorsements from those who experience it almost a natural occurrence. This in turn elevates the hotel’s awareness and brand image and helps turn curious (and hungry) first-time guests into repeat customers/guests…raving fans, even. Raving fans have friends who hear their stories of the warm, satisfying cookie, remember their influencing ‘endorsement’ story of DoubleTree, and become new customers themselves. Genius. (Message to DoubleTree, don’t ‘Delete Cookies’)

The bake-away take-away of Jay’s experience is this: If you want customers to talk about you, (YES YOU DO) those customers need to have a story to tell…but it needs to be something that OCCURS, not something that simply EXISTS.

Does your business have a ‘talk trigger’? Or do you need help integrating a talk trigger strategy for your business? Contact us for a comprehensive business strategy review. We can help get people talking about you!

– Bruce Thiem, CMOco Director of Integrated Media