What do sound engineers and marketers have in common?
Firstly: Both insist on ‘testing, testing’.
Secondly: The good ones make things crystal clear.
But clear doesn’t necessarily mean loud.
There’s a misconception in our world sometimes that volume = victory.
That the more you raise the noise, the easier you’ll be heard.
But getting your message across isn’t about turning it up – it’s about cutting through. Clarity isn’t achieved through sheer force of decibels. It’s about choosing what to amplify rather than just blindly turning the master volume to ten like seemingly all train station P.A. operators do. If you want the 0925 service to reach its final destination of the quaint town of Engaged Customer, you have to stop off on the way at Cleartown, Plainville, and the famous, bustling station known as Get Yer Pointa Cross.
FACE THE MUSIC
You’ve got to hit the sweet spot between your frequency and your environment. To create harmony between your message and your audience. And this doesn’t require a raw power approach. It takes a deft touch. Balance, precision, consideration. You have to be self-aware enough to know when you’re going too hard or not hard enough. You have to listen carefully for feedback. You have to be keenly attuned to the room.
Have you ever been to a gig and it just…didn’t sound right? Maybe it was too bassy, too muffled. Or too loud and buzzy. Maybe the singing was too quiet or all the loud stuff felt like it was at one side of the room. Or it could be that the sound just didn’t have enough meat. It’s understandable – there’s a million things that could go wrong. So much equalising, balancing, counterbalancing. Not just anyone can squeeze magic out of four teenagers, two cheapo guitars, and a malfunctioning, three-stringed bass.
STRIKE UP THE BRAND
Yep, a lot can go awry. There’s only one way to get them screaming “ONE MORE TUNE, ONE MORE TUNE” – you’ve got to take the time to listen. To really open the ears, take in the crowd and get an overview of the experience of the gig-goer.
You’ve got to identify the nuances in the sound and coax out only the gooiest of bits. Because every brand has something sweet in its sound. An intriguing frequency or tone in there somewhere. This little nugget of interest could be anything – an element of how it’s produced, it could be a distinctive flavour, a feeling that you don’t get from anything else – it doesn’t matter.
Every brand out there has some small ingredient that makes it worth listening to. That morsel must be identified, nurtured, and protected. It has to be balanced in the mix so it’s not overpowered, yet it can’t be out there by itself or it’ll sound isolated and maybe even jarring. Getting the balance right means you can put your best foot forward and create a harmony between your best tones and timbres and the ones you’d prefer be pushed to the background.
OWN YOUR WAVELENGTH
It’s a two-way street, too. Having your own frequency means people know where to go for a certain vibe. It means they know what ears to bring when they’re tuning in. If you’re clear about what you’re saying (and who you’re saying it to), you’ll find you don’t have to shout.
To be heard, you have to say your piece in a different way. A way that better resonates between both what you’re offering and what the customer wants. Finding the sweetest sound for your voice. Finding the frequency that puts shivers up spines. Owning your wavelength.
OVER AND OUT
So don’t just turn it up – craft a sound that’s uniquely yours. One that carries your voice clearly to the eardrums of the world. No pops, no fuzz, no distortion – just hi-res, 3D surround sound marketing.
And, like the bonus tracks nobody asked for, we’ll end with the duds – the sound production/marketing jokes that didn’t cut it for the intro:
- What did the sound engineer say to the marketer who was making coffee? I’ll have one two, one two.
- What did the marketer say to the sound engineer? Were you expecting that feedback?
What’s the difference between a good marketer and a bad sound guy? Whether the buzz was created deliberately or not.