Let's talk about touch points. There is a lot of conversation going on about touch points out in the great, big world of the interwebs. People telling you how to do them. Why to do them. Where to do them. How to outsource them. (Really? Really!?) There are graphs and charts and calculations estimating touch point ROI. There is advice on how to reduce the cost of your touch points, how to speed them up and get them in front of more eyeballs.

And while (much of) this is fine and dandy, I take a much more simplified stance on touch points. It's less science, more art. It has far less to do with calculations and 20 point bullet lists, and much more to do with surprise and delight.

Every touch point is an opportunity to start a conversation.

Google and you will find that there are thousands of sites listing nearly every possible touch point you could ever hope to employ for your marketing purposes. I often suspect, however, some of the best examples are (literally) right under our noses. Baristas have been doing an amazing job with touch points for quite some time, simply by working with what they do and love - in order to give their customers a remarkable experience. With just a little extra care and effort, they elevate "good enough" to "wowza" - and you better believe it not only gets people smiling, it gets them talking.

A few weeks ago, I received a pack of mini-cards from Moo.com (courtesy of Klout.) The set I received has dozens of designs with clever messages and drawings on one side, contact information on the other. When contact info alone would have been good enough, the cards took it up to wowza. With messages like "I like my artsy with a little fartsy," images of jars with beards and, my personal favorite, an illustration of a pair of underwear claiming "I have the worst job in the world," they became an instant hit. We spent a good 15 minutes crowded around my desk, selecting the just-right card for each person. If you walk around our office, you will find them displayed - like teeny, tiny works of art.

What I enjoyed even more, however, were the touch points Moo.com employed before the box ever arrived. Upon placing my order, I received an e-mail from "Little Moo," assuring me he was going to keep an eye on things and stay in touch throughout the process until my order arrived at my desk. When a simple confirmation e-mail would have done, they wowza-ed it up - and it has kept me smiling and talking about it long after my order shipped.

A final though on touch points. They don't have to be fancy or expensive. They just have to be meaningful. A couple years ago I ran into a local photographer at the Farmer's Market. After a brief conversation, I asked for his business card. Instead of plucking one card from his pocket, he pulled out a stack. Each card had his contact information on one side and one of his photos on the other - each one different. He fanned them out, text side-up, like a deck of cards, asking me to choose one at random. Whatever photo was on the back would tell me something about myself, he assured me.

I plucked a card from the stack and flipped it over to examine the photo on the other side. (It was this.)

That business card has a place of honor in my home. It has been with me through three moves. It continues to elicit questions from guests. When "here's my business card" would have been good enough, the photographer gave me something remarkable to remember. And you better believe I'm still talking about it.

>>>Your turn to chime in: What touch points have captured your attention lately? What do you think makes a touch point effective vs. ineffective?<<<

ps: Looking for more touch point examples? You may want to check out this previous post for a few ideas from Method, Virgin Airlines, TOMS and Hell Pizza.