Music as a Marketing Mechanism
Music is pervasive. It is at the center of everyone’s life (well, at least it feels that way here in America). Statistics show 93% of the country’s population listens to music. We are surrounded by music no matter the time or place – at home, in our cars, at work, in stores, elevators, waiting rooms and every other imaginable public space. Even if you are part of the 7% who don’t listen to music proactively, there is no denying its reach.
Music to a Marketer’s Ears
Music also has the ability to affect humans in interesting ways. It has powerful ties to our memories. It is personal, to both the artist who created it and the listener who identifies with it. Certain songs and sounds have deep meaning at a very individualistic level for reasons unique to each and every listener. It not only stirs up emotion but is amazing for connecting those emotions to recall and eliciting action. It’s why Cadillac used Led Zeppelin’s song Rock and Roll when they rolled out their CTS model in 2002 – a powerful song that resonates with their target demographic. The song conjures up feelings of control and raw energy, characteristics of the CTS model that Cadillac wanted to promote.
Technology has only helped to further harness the full potential of this medium. When music is married to technology we get a combination of creativity and accuracy. It has created the ability for us to instantaneously hear music anywhere, at any time. It has empowered listeners to put a name and artist to a song they may have never heard before. Given the infinite creative possibilities that music offers, it’s amazing to think about its potential impact on the world of digital marketing. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to explore some of these possibilities.
For example, what if you could connect your brand to sounds and songs? Shazam, an app created in 2002 which helps users identify any song playing within range of their phone, is one tool that can transform this concept into a reality. In 2015, more than 500 million users tracked songs with an average of 17 million searches per day, with 5%-10% of the searches resulting in a purchase. Of the estimated $300 million in digital sales Shazam generates most of it goes to Google, Apple, and Spotify. What makes Shazam so valuable is that its business model and value creation is based solely on data. Not only can the app return information to a user about a song within seconds, it offers the user the ability to download and purchase the music. It can track who is listening to what, where, and when.
Leveraging that model, I think there are massive opportunities for digital marketers to develop extremely creative and strategic sound-based campaigns to intrigue listeners and arouse their curiosity to a level which would make them take action. A sort of “call-to-action” that leads back to a brand message or offer. In fact, Coke Zero has already embraced this concept with their latest ‘drinkable advertising’ campaign.
Consumers can Shazam specific Coke Zero ads and the device recognizes the spot and (upon completing a view) grants the listener a redeemable coupon for a free Coke Zero product. They have also launched “Shazam for Brands”, customized ad units including interactive homepage takeovers. Coca-Cola launched “Share a Coke and a Song”, with Coke bottles displaying lyrics to popular songs, so when a consumer scans the lyrics they are then led to a site where they can record a lip-sync video and share on social media. Target and BMW have also taken advantage of Shazamable advertising.
Another opportunity is the ability to replace traditional ‘jingles’ with actual songs played by a ‘real’ band. If preference is given to emerging bands, then the publicity will be quite affordable and the brand immediately becomes associated to the sound/genre. Demographics that relate with a specific style or sound may develop a bias for a specific brand that could lead to increased conversions. Countless bands have been catapulted into the spotlight with this strategy, including Jet (Apple and iPods), The Born Ruffians (Honda Fit), and X-Ambassadors (Jeep).
Music offers huge potential for creative new approaches to tap into the consumer mindset during the purchase path, and technology is providing a vehicle for expanding the ways to connect brands with human emotion. In the consumer journey, there is nothing quite like making a personal connection with an individual at an emotional level to stimulate action and lead to conversion. With the ability to deliver music anywhere by smart speakers, smartphones, and other devices, artists and brands can mine the power of streaming. It gives the chance for brands to respond in real-time to fans, collect data on preferences and feedback, and ultimately refine the approach to maximize ROI.