Back To All Stories
Great Ideas Talk Triggers Jay Baer blog


Highlights from our interview with author Jay Baer


One of the most fascinating books for leaders and marketers, Talk Triggers offers a tangible way to generate 'word of mouth' by changing one thing operationally in your business. Author Jay Baer says marketing costs can shrink to zero if it's done well. 
Here are his Great Ideas: 

Same is Lame – Jay says we all play follow the leader by mimicking the best in our category. A talk trigger is a strategic operational difference. It’s something that you do in your business that’s different, and that other people simply must talk about.

Air New Zealand safety videos are funny with hobbits and the All Blacks, but Jay says the Skycouch is their actual talk trigger. It’s a row of seats in economy that folds down like a futon bed. People ask what it is as they move down the aisle. It’s a terrific example of something operational they do differently.

Talk Triggers must be 4 things: Remarkable, (people don’t talk about “just good”), Repeatable (every customer gets access to the talk trigger), Reasonable (making it believable or customers will distrust it), Relevant (it makes sense in the context of your business overall, so it’s easier to remember and easier to tell).

Competency does not create word of mouth. 50-90% of purchases are influenced by word of mouth, yet most businesses don’t have a strategy beyond being competent. They just assume customers will talk about them. Jay points out nobody has ever said ‘let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience’. Word of mouth is about story, and “it was fine” is not a good story.

Create one thing different in the operations of your business that is (really) different from others.  

There are 5 talk trigger types: Generosity (the easiest and most common), Talkable Empathy (unexpected warmth and kindness), Talkable Usefulness (more useful than they expect), Talkable Speed/Responsiveness (hard, because expectations are high these days), Talkable Attitude (more unusual than people expect).

What a talk trigger is not – marketing, not really. It’s not a price, promotion, stunt, campaign. It’s an operation built into your business that you do every day. It’s not ‘going viral” – it’s not renting an elephant to walk into your office (that’s a publicity stunt, it will work for a week). It’s a repeatable and reliable plan that creates conversation every day every year so customers do your business growing for you.

Get your meal for free. Skip’s Kitchen in the U.S. sells burgers and chips. Before you pay, you’re asked to pick a playing card from a fanned out deck. If you get a joker your entire meal is free – whether it’s a whole family or one person. There’s a line to get into their business every day and they’ve never marketed.

GREAT EIGHT with Jay Baer

  1. Recommended book: Iconic by Scott McKain. How the greatest brands became iconic.
  2. If you co-author a book with anyone, who would it be, and what’s its title?  Seth Godin, I love his work, and the book would be called Two Guys with Glasses, One Guy is Bald, One Guy is Fat.
  3. A great piece of advice you could share? Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.
  4. What’s been your lowest moment, and how did you recover from it?  Five years ago, my younger brother passed away suddenly, and when something like that happens it forces you to re-prioritise, both personally and in the business. My team picked up the slack and we got through, but it was tough.
  5. Do you have a daily ritual? I don’t. Every day is different for me. One day it’s all videos, one day client calls, one day on a plane. My wife, who’s a yoga teacher, keeps telling me that I need a daily ritual, but I don’t have one.
  6. What’s something about you we don’t know? When I was in uni, I founded a radio station; I always wanted to be a radio disc jockey.
  7. What’s the secret of success?  Understanding how to keep score. Someone will always have more. You have to keep score on something that matters in your heart, and not on a piece of paper.
  8. What’s a prediction for 2025? We will be using voice as an input mechanism more than we will be typing.

The Growth Faculty Members can view the full video interview, download the transcript or listen to MP3 audio by logging into the On Demand platform:  View Jay Baer’s interview.

If you are not currently a member of The Growth Faculty, click here to become a member to access our On Demand platform and discounts on LIVE events.