Can Music Save the Modern Marketer? 717 words · 4 minute read

Recent Digital Trends 2015 Report Shows Customer Experience a Priority, but also a Struggle

While not a one-stop potion-shop for magically building relationships with consumers, music can nonetheless be one of the most valuable assets to any business’s marketing strategy.

In fact, music may become the next customer experience (CX) solution for more brands this year than many might be expecting.

According to a recent report by Adobe and Econsultancy, “Digital Trends 2015,” CX has become the standout objective for many brand and companies. Its importance can be attributed to the rise of consumer expectations, which have blossomed with the advent of the digital age. People can be choosier with the brands they support, and marketers have therefore responded with a comprehensive courtship of customers at every possible touchpoint.

And just like in the movies, a successful courtship should always be accompanied by a solid soundtrack.

As expressed in his co-authored book, Hit Brands, founder & president of Music Dealers Eric Sheinkop developed the marketing theory of Social Empowerment, in which he testifies that people have higher demands from brands nowadays. Simply put, ads need to do more than advertise. In order to swoon the masses into becoming loyal customers, brands need to bring real value to the consumers’ lives, and music is one of the strongest ways to do that.

“The customer has always been in charge, brands have just been slow to accept that,” said a survey respondent in the Adobe report. “There is a shift happening from brand experience to customer experience and personalization will be the driving force of this.”

In 2015, CX may become the most widely typed acronym of the year, other than perhaps NSFW or IDGAF, and music can help maximize the impact of those two simple letters. Music, when managed with a consistent and evocative strategy, can support the customer experience at every touchpoint. Social media and websites, phone apps and YouTube ads, offline promotions and off-site activations – they all can leverage music as a component of the brand’s overall customer experience management (CXM) strategy.

But first let’s answer the question: “Why does customer experience even need a solution?” Though CX was such a buzz word (or buzz-cronym, if you will) in 2014, it didn’t deliver as most marketers expected. According to the report, the anticipated opportunity of customer experience was outstripped by reality last year, and not as many companies as projected were able to capitalize on a customer-focused approach. Nonetheless, brand execs are reportedly confident that efforts in the CX arena will finally begin to crystallize in 2015. In fact, 22% of B2B organizations view customer experience as the most exciting opportunity this year, according to Adobe.

The challenge, however, is for organizations to create memorable experiences for consumers that can also make a meaningful impact on sales. That’s where many companies suffered last year in their CXM: the experiences were not as memorable as consumers wanted, and the R.O.I. wasn’t high enough to justify the campaigns.

And that’s why music might be the solution to that challenge. More than any other medium, music resonates with people in a deeply intimate way. It can be both experiential and subtle, the focus of a campaign or its support. Regardless of the role that music would play in a brand’s CXM, it can be hugely influential if leveraged consistently across all touchpoints.

Want to know the easiest way to guide a consumer through the eight primary steps of CX – awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy? Music. But not just any old song. Brands need a consistent music strategy and a clear sonic identity in order to fully engage their consumers in each touchpoint along the CX spectrum. The more a brand applies its music strategy during audio touchpoints, the more those consumers recognize the sound of the brand. In turn, they begin to appreciate the brand as curators of consistently great music rather than simply as suppliers of a particular product.

That’s how brand advocates are made: providing consumers with engaging customer experience through each step from awareness to advocacy. If a brand maintains a reliable music strategy and builds a strong sonic identity, then half of its CXM strategy is covered. The rest is up to its product/services.

By: Zach Miller, Music Dealers