The Importance of Music in Marketing

May 16, 2017

Music is essential for good advertising. No, I’ll take that a step further: For most people, music is an essential part of life

For those of you who know me, this position probably doesn’t surprise you. I am—by my own admission—obsessed with music. I play almost a dozen instruments (some of them better than others), have written songs for recording artists, and fronted my own bands since I was 14 years old. A few of my songs have gotten radio play, charted on Billboard, and been featured on TV shows—they weren’t popular enough for me to retire from the royalties, but they were popular enough to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. 

It’s not just my own music I’m obsessed with, either; my music collection is huge and diverse. I love country, pop, rock, americana, classical, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and just about anything you throw at me. I’m not here to gloat about my hipster-envy-inducing vinyl collection…I actually have a larger point. I just want to agree that it’s fair to say that I know a thing or two about this particular subject. Can we agree on this? Ok, let’s move on to the good stuff then!

Music can trigger memories and emotion

The beautiful thing about music is the way it can trigger emotion. A good song can tell a story and make you feel what the artist wants you to feel. Dance and party songs are high energy and make you want to dance and party. Sad songs can stir emotions that make you feel melancholy, or amplify a sadness you’re already feeling. “We Will Rock You” by Queen makes you want to play hockey. It’s science. 

Music can also trigger memories, which is one of reasons it’s such a powerful marketing tool (yes, I’m getting to the marketing part of this article very soon). What song was playing for your first dance at your wedding? When you hear that song now, does it remind you of that dance? Does it remind you of your spouse, and all the time you’ve spent together? I bet it does.

My wife and I have entire albums that define stages of our 18-year relationship. Dave Matthews Band’s album “Before These Crowded Streets” sums up the first few months of us dating in high school—angsty and dark, but with a beauty and hopefulness for the future. “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley takes me back to an airplane over the Atlantic, headed somewhere warm and breezy. Not the warm and breezy place itself, mind you…the airplane going there. I played Brad Paisley’s “Then” on guitar as I watched her walk down the aisle at our wedding. After the rings were exchanged, we danced to Train’s “If It’s Love” while our friends watched and clapped along.

If I hear any of these songs, I’m immediately back there at that moment. “Ain’t it funny how a melody brings back memories?

This is not just a lyric to a country song by Clint Black—it’s also a very true statement. 

So what does this have to do with marketing? 

Everything. The purpose of marketing is to persuade your audience to do something: buy this, vote for that, support this, donate to that. To do this effectively, you must appeal to your audience’s emotions. We’ve already established that music can help you to create an emotional response in a listener. Match that with a compelling video or message, and you have a marketing asset that will serve you well. 

It’s also said that a person needs to see or hear an advertisement multiple times before it really sinks in—depending on who you ask, it’s usually 5-12 times. That’s why media companies encourage you to run your ads often, especially with a new campaign. Gotta get those reps! 

Royalty-free, popular artists, or custom-made?

Though you can get great royalty-free music from many sources, or license popular songs if you have the budget (as this can get expensive), having a custom piece of music written just for you will ensure that this aspect of your branding will be unique and taylor-made to fit your organization. If done well, your music will be catchy and memorable, an “ear-worm” that your audience will remember and associate with your business. It will also trigger a targeted and specific emotional response, helping you to tell your story more powerfully. 

A Recent Example

We recently spearheaded a rebranding campaign for a health system in West Virginia. There were a lot of challenges the organization faced with changing its

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Color scheme
  • Signage
  • Image


Our team was on hand to introduce this new brand to the public, and the first thing we decided was that Mon Health needed a new music bed—a “theme song” or “jingle” that would reflect the energy, growth, and healthiness that the new brand represented. It also needed to be memorable and separate Mon Health from area competitors. Quite a tall order for a simple piece of music, right? Well, we love a good challenge! This is the simple 8-note hook we came up with that started it all:

8 notes. You can remember 8 notes. Go on: whistle it to yourself. Feels good, right? Do it again. Now it’s stuck in your head—you’re welcome. 

Because the name was changing, we decided to brand the organization by name in the music. So let’s get some singers in there:

Now let’s put it all together with a nice upbeat arrangement of nylon-string acoustic guitar, piano, bass and drums:

Catchy, right? The whistle is the memorable hook that will stick in people’s ears and help with retention of the new brand. I knew we had something when everyone in the office was whistling that melody for 2 weeks straight. The words “Mon Health” are sung to make sure everyone knows the new name. The music bed is upbeat yet relaxed, with a kind of “Jason Mraz” feel-good vibe. It makes you want to smile. It’s warm and inclusive, not sterile and cold like what we sometimes think of when we imagine a hospital. It fits the new brand, with its vibrant greens and yellows. It’s bright and summery, with all the positivity and serenity as a stroll through a park. Go back and listen again with your eyes closed…can you see it? 

The music was also designed to fit perfectly into TV and radio commercials. So when we added the music to a TV spot our film team produced, we knew it would fit like a glove and be consistent with the tone and emotional center of the TV spot:

InnerAction Media | Marketing Agency | Morgantown, WV

This is just one example of how you can design music to work for your specific needs. We’ve created custom music pieces at IAM for years, and just like with everything we do, we specifically address your organization’s mission, value, strengths, and message in our work. It’s not about what we think sounds cool or trendy, but rather about what we believe will get you the results you’re looking for.

If you would like to talk about music in marketing, we should probably learn a little more about each other. So give us a call or click below to get a FREE 30 minute marketing audit—I promise you’ll learn a lot!



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