Tips & Advice

How Taxi Cab Drivers Saved a Theater Through Word of Mouth Marketing

Johnny McKenna

A Nielsen study found 83% of people trust recommendations from friends and families. A similar study years prior saw 92% of individuals trust recommendations from anyone, even if they are a complete stranger.

Compare that trust rate to the average consumer who trusts banner ads at 42%, social media ads at 46% and billboards or other outdoor advertising at 56%. 

After reading stats like that, it seems obvious that NOT putting some kind of energy into word-of-mouth marketing is leaving money on the table. 

Here are 3 word-of-mouth marketing campaigns that drive incredible results.

1. The Cheesecake Factory Menu Length

Yeah, you read that right. Something so mundane and ridiculous (as well as something that’s so easy to mock) gets people talking about The Cheesecake Factory. Jay Baer spoke with hundreds of people who ate at the Cheesecake Factory and 38% of them have told someone else—without being asked—about the size of the menu. There are plenty of memes and jokes devoted to the length of the menu. But really, The Cheesecake Factory is the one who’s laughing all the way to the bank.

The Cheesecake Factory, a multibillion-dollar business, spends 0.2% of their revenue on advertising. Read that again. Research by David Godes and Dina Myzlin discovered that one, single word-of-mouth conversation by each new customer has the potential to generate $200 worth of sales for The Cheesecake Factory.

2. 7-Eleven on 7/11

Imagine it’s a blazing hot day in mid-July. You look at the date and see it’s the 11th. A smile spreads across your face as you realize it’s National Free Slurpee day at 7-Eleven. Of course you head to the closest 7-Eleven and while you’re grabbing your free slurpee, you make sure to grab a few things to accompany it. 

The craziest part about free Slurpee day is the sales of Slurpees increase by 38%! Free products always incites action in customers – as well as word-of-mouth. Most local news stations will run some sort of story, talking about all of the people getting free Slurpees on July 11th. 

3. Taxi Drivers Get Free Admission

In 1973, John Neville took over as director of the Neptune Theatre which was unfortunately running at a deficit. Neville offered free admission to taxi drivers and their families. The result was Taxi drivers excitedly shared their theatre experience with passengers and tourists. Within 2 years, the theatre subscriptions had doubled and the deficit had been eliminated.

For most businesses, word-of-mouth marketing is easily their most profitable and effective source of new business. If you’re not putting effort behind a word-of-mouth strategy, it’s time to carve out some time and make it a priority.

Last updated August 30, 2021.