Guerrilla Marketing Becoming More Mainstream

Filed under: Creative Marketing Ideas — admin @ 11:06 am

~ This was posted on - November 14, 2009

Looking for hold music for your business phone?  You’re not alone.  For businesses looking to leverage “alternative marketing solutions” in a down economy hold music is a no-brainer weapon for the arsenal.  The use of less expensive promotional vehicles to augment or replace traditional advertising is on the increase even as Bloomberg.com reports that newspaper circulation declines steepened in recent months.  “The Economy” is not the only reason for this trend.  Today’s marketplace is seen as more sophisticated and skeptical, and less susceptible to the impact of traditional advertising media (at least as traditionally employed).  I.e., traditional marketing is not dead, but there are new players in the game, and a “mix” of marketing channels and approaches, likely, will always be the best approach.

Couple shrinking marketing budgets with a changing consumer mindset, and “guerrilla marketing” may be becoming mainstream.  At the same time on-hold music and messaging, which was once seen as sort of a “necessary evil”… where hapless callers were unceremoniously forced to listen to instrumental Muzak™ renditions of last year’s pop music hits, has morphed into a sophisticated and viable, albeit low-cost means of communicating with – and marketing to consumers.

If, however, you’re planning to simply slap some canned hold music on your business phone, your callers might have a somewhat anachronistic experience waiting in your on-hold loop.  That is, they might think they’ve time-warped back to the era of disco dancing, leisure suits, and avocado-green kitchen appliances.  While keeping up with the times merely for the sake of “hip-ness” may not be the most effective business strategy, there is, for many businesses very real, demonstrable value in the thoughtful use of on-hold messaging.  Consider the following script written and produced by Holdtime Studios for a new client as an example of how hold music can be employed to connect with customers, inform them of relevant developments with your business, and market products and services to them while they are in a “warm” state, having called you on the telephone.

(This is an on-hold script for Halton CAT, the CAT heavy equipment dealer for Oregon and Southwest Washington.  This is one paragraph out of seven or eight in a three to four minute production.  Picture broadcast quality sound, a pleasant, soft jazz music bed, and a warm and friendly male announcer…)

“A LOT OF THINGS GET OVERHAULED AROUND HERE – ENGINES, HYDRAULICS, HEAVY EQUIPMENT, AND OUR WEBSITE…  WE’VE STREAMLINED THINGS AND ADDED SOME NEW FEATURES.  JUST HEAD ON OVER TO HALTONCO.COM TO FIND THE PRICES YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR ON OUR HOME PAGE.  EVERY WEEK, WE PUT FOUR MACHINES FOR RENT OR FOR SALE BELOW MARKET PRICE.  CLICK ON THE SUMMER HEAT LINK, OR SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAIL BLAST TO FIND THE PRICES YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR AT HALTON TODAY.”


Turn the Music On, and Hold the Phone!

Filed under: Music On Hold — admin @ 11:04 pm

~ This was posted on - November 5, 2009

Call it “making lemonade from lemons” or call it “smart business”. Whatever you call it, you’d be well-served by giving appropriate valuation to the time spent on-hold by callers to your telephone system. Businesses pay substantial advertising dollars to “get the ear” of others. When a caller is on-hold with you, you have their ear. It’s a big mistake to underestimate the importance of this fact. This is particularly true in light of the prominent role telephone communications plays in contemporary culture.

The reality is that the telephone has become so much a part of our lives that it often seems like a virtual appendage of some people’s bodies. To emphasize the point, the next time you’re out and about driving around town, take note of how many other drivers you see who are talking on their cell phones. (You may want to hang up your own phone first before doing this, as you can only concentrate on so many things at a time.)

I remember a time when the thought of a day in the not too distant future when the average driver on the road would actually have a pocket-sized wireless telephone with them in the car would sound like something straight out of a science fiction movie. I think most of us back then, upon hearing such a notion, would envision people trying to drive while holding some typical telephone of the time such as a big, clunky desk phone. (I actually worked with a fellow who did exactly that in the early 1980’s when I was a radio traffic reporter. One of the veteran reporters somehow had a real, sure ‘nough, working “car phone”, i.e., a desk phone attached to a radio transmitter in his trunk! The rest of us had to transmit our traffic reports to “base” via conventional 2-way radios, but this exalted one actually called in his reports over his car phone. Mind blowing! How he ever came to be in possession of, what for the time was such absolutely incredible technology, I never found out. Then there was the guy at my high school whose father was a millionaire and was reputed to have a wireless telephone installed in his Ferrari. I was sure he knew James Bond personally.) Even in those days there was a well-established, widespread love of and obsession with the telephone, but we had little idea of what was coming just around the corner.

My point is, we spend a lot of time on the telephone. Too much time, I would argue. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that society as a whole might benefit if some folks had their cell phones surgically removed from the sides of their heads. (According to “statistics”, the average person spends 40 minutes per day/20 hours per month/10 days per year/2 years in a lifetime on the phone. The portion of that time spent on-hold is, reportedly, 17 minutes per day/8.6 hours per month/4.3 days per year/330 days in a lifetime.) At any rate, for people calling into your telephone system, whether they spend a portion of that call on-hold or not, their call to you is just one of many they will make that day. For most people, time spent on the telephone, on-hold or otherwise, is, arguably taken so much for granted that the typical person on a telephone call may be somewhat oblivious to the fact that they are communicating via telephonic technology. During the portion of a call in which they are on-hold their “in-the-moment quotient” is likely even lower. With the right approach, “on-hold” can be positive and productive – for your callers and for you, as well.






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