Getting Heard… Above the Noise?

Being a musician, I have played in bands since I was 10 years old and I have run sound for many others.  There is a reason that you have amps, speakers, mixing consoles, mics and more.  You try to mix the sound so that everything sounds evenly blended. When something needs to be featured (like vocals or a guitar solo), you need to have control to have extra volume to make it stand out. Trust me…  more than one bar owner or over served musician from another band has told me how to mix better, but any sound engineer will tell you that it’s not that easy!

As a live audio engineer there was a recurring problem…  vocalists and other instruments have to be louder than the loudest instrument to stand out.  Start with the drummer.  The higher the sticks and the harder they hit the skins, the cooler they look.  Then guitarists… who have their amps on the floor (not that they think that their ankles have ears), and then pump up the volume to hear themselves better. Next, add musicians monitors facing the back concrete wall and bouncing the sound back at you.

Imagine have you put a 5 piece band on a stage the size of most peoples bathroom (with acoustics to match) and try to make it sound like a record?  I am pretty sure you have been to a bar or club where it was just too loud and everything sounded like day old oatmeal!

This is how some people try to treat marketing messages….

“I Need New Clients”, “I Want to be #1 on Google”, “I Want To Use Facebook to Market My Business”… They figure they need to scream louder than the competition so people can hear their wisdom over their competition’s drum solo!

Marketing Reality Check

iStock_000007779520XSmallIf you are a Realtor…  There are hundreds (if not thousands or millions) of houses in your area. Maybe only 5% of those are for sale. Same goes for car repair shops, shoe salespeople, and dog groomers.  There are over a 150,000 new website domains added to the web each day. Even if only 5% could use my help and (only 1% of those were in my wheelhouse), I could not handle 75 new clients a day.  If you added 1 per week, could you handle 52 new clients per year?  So how many new clients do you need to add per week?  What about the current or past customers?  Will shouting louder than your competition achieve your goals?

We all think we want to have more business than we can handle, but someone suffers (you, your employees, vendors, but God forbid…  your clients).

If you are at the opposite end of the spectrum where you don’t have enough customers…  do you think outshouting your competition is winning or whining?  I am here to tell you that whispering to the RIGHT customers is much more cost effective (and helps you maintain your sanity).

 DOUGH!

Dough_ShowAfter being in bands for years, I finally found a formula that has worked (and it’s done so for over 15 years and still going).  Dough! is a two man acoustic and vocal band.  We don’t play to crowds of thousands or hundreds…  our best gigs are to parties of 10′s.  We use less equipment (sets up and tears down in 15 minutes – bands can take hours). While the more popular ‘BAR’ gigs pay us $150 to play for up to 4 hours…  We play private gigs (for less time) and make up to $1000.  We can play at lower volumes (no drums or drum machines) so people can talk to each other.  And we don’t advertise – satisfied clients do that for us!

What I have learned (and you may) from this…

1) Know Your BEST Audience – Marketing to an audience who knows, like and trusts you (and better yet – understands the value of what you have to sell) is less expensive and more efficient.

2) Give Them A Reason To Want More – Most times we play, people want to hear more songs because they are having such a good time.  In business… shoot for small and measurable successes.  Leave them wanting more and throw in an encore as a bonus…  but give them a reason to hire you again!

3) There Is Plenty of Work or Clients – Not every band or musician is right for every party…  Not every business is right for every customer.  Focus on finding ones where you are the right fit for them, and they are the right fit for YOU.  They are much more likely to cheer you on and invite others to your gigs (pass on your name)!

Take Away

Loud and Proud works for bands, and some businesses, but knowing your sweet spot, can help you to play to your strengths, become more targeted and keep your hearing (and budget) intact!

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback?

5 Responses to Getting Heard… Above the Noise?

  1. avatar
    Matt Brennan January 14, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    I love this analogy. Sometimes businesses (myself included) get caught up in a “must find new client” mindset. It’s easy to translate that way of thinking into louder=better. That’s not always the case. Sometimes you just need a good song, or an intimate concert setting, to use your analogy. Well said.

  2. avatar
    Brian Basilico January 15, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Thanks Matt!

  3. avatar
    Nick January 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Brian,
    Great work- “music to my ears!”

  4. avatar
    Ellen Huxtable January 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Shouting isn’t very good for business. Give up on the drummers. The smart ones wear ear protection and can’t hear you anyway.

  5. avatar
    Brian Basilico January 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    Thanks Nick & Ellen :)

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