Marketing Buzz 07/03

Using music to enhance sales; public speaking is an expensive way to advertise your business
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the July 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Mood Music
We all know that music affects our mood, but can you use music to enhance sales?

  • Slow-tempo music encourages consumers to linger. So slow music is a great strategy for a gift shop or an apparel retailer, where the longer shoppers are in the store, the more they buy.
  • Fast music speeds your customers up. If you operate any type of fast-food restaurant, for example, you can actually encourage turnover with the pace of your music. So pump up the volume!
  • Matching the music to your product ups sales. If you're looking to encourage sales of, say, French wine, research shows that playing French music significantly boosts sales. Retailer Restoration Hardware used a specially compiled CD called "Rum Punch" a few years ago to rev up sales of its tropical merchandise.
  • White noise can work, too. Silent retail environments make customers nervous. Injecting a low hum of white noise puts them at ease.

Retailers are defined by their music. Starbucks, for example, sees music as integral to its brand. In fact, its music was so frequently requested by customers that Starbucks partnered with a record label. The lesson? Stay in sync with your customers.

Free Speech
With today's mind-set of spending less and getting more, consider speaking as an inexpensive marketing tool. Not only does it position you as an expert, but, as Sarah Victory--a speaker, coach and the author of How to Double Your Business in One Year or Less (Northland Business Press)--says, "Speaking is the ultimate free sample. Your audience believes that if you can afford to give away a few ideas, imagine how much more [you must] know."

Speaking for free can generate huge returns as long as the audience is in a position to buy. Before you get in front of the members of your target audience, figure out what key issues they face and how your talk can help solve them. It's perfectly acceptable to briefly reference your business on the podium, but only as it relates to how you solved a similar problem. Blatantly self-promoting speeches always backfire. Instead, make your talk about what you can do for the audience.

And don't forget the title of your speech--it's what sells your presentation. "Audiences buy a solution, a result or an experience," says Victory. Clever usually doesn't sell. Compare "Full Frontal Selling" as a title to "How to Get More Sales in Less Time." After 10 or so speeches, you should start seeing good results.


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InsightExpress can help you make better decisions about your new service offerings, product launches, advertising or pricing. The site walks you through the entire process without having to hire a marketing researcher and is supported by customer service. Prices start at $500.

was spent on consumer promotions in the United States last year.
SOURCE: Primedia's PROMO magazine and the PMA

Internet ad revenues were nearly
in 2002, a decrease of 17 percent from 2001.
SOURCE: Primedia's PROMO magazine and the PMA

Marketing consultant and speaker Elizabeth Goodgold is the author of Duh! Marketing Awards (

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