As I was listening to one of my favorite playlists today, I was struck by how emotional music can be. A certain melody or specific song has an amazing ability to trigger our emotions in an instant. Ask any runner, and they’ll tell you that one of the ways they set the tone for their run is by pre-programming the music they’ll listen to when they run. Many writers swear by the same technique and have spent hours putting together just the right mix of songs to inspire their work.

You’ve probably noticed how music impacts your reaction to TV commercials. In the short run, it sets the tone and tempo for the spot and gets your emotions fired up. But in the long run, just the first notes of a familiar jingle can have you repeating the company’s tagline or theme song lyrics. And that connection lasts for decades. 

If I could magically make this column play the first few bars of “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” many of you over the age of 40 would be subconsciously reaching for a can of Coca-Cola before you could remember why. That campaign ran in 1971, and we still have that trigger embedded in our memory decades later. That’s powerful.

Music is a connector. It connects us to memories, people and stories. Marketing is about making a connection with your audience. 

You don’t have to be producing a multimillion-dollar TV spot to leverage music’s impact. There are plenty of ways for marketers of all sizes and shapes to work music into their marketing plan.

Sponsorship: According to Billboard, live concert attendance is up over 20 percent, and there are no signs that it is about to slow down. What? You don’t have the budget to sponsor Madonna’s new tour? No worries – the local music scene is on fire. Our community is producing some incredible vocalists and bands that are performing on a regular basis. 

Odds are, these musicians haven’t had a lot of experience in being sponsored, so you may have to carve out a deal from scratch. But just like the nationally known artists, each of these local talents has a following. Find the singer or group that has attracted the audience that matters to your business and see if you can strike a deal. 

Customize your music: If you’re creating a jingle or want to have a consistent piece of music associated with your company, don’t buy something off the shelf. Have a piece of music composed that you can own and use for years to come. And remember, sometimes the words are what make a jingle stick. Instrumental music can be even more potent if it’s well-written. Again, there are plenty of local composers who have both the talent and the equipment to help you bring the musical spirit of your organization to life. 

Set the mood with music: Whether you have a retail store or you deal with your customers over the phone, you have the opportunity to establish the tone of your interactions with music. 

Here’s the key to this strategy that is often missed. If you are not the same age/demographic as your target audience, remember: It’s not about what you like; it’s what they like. Have you ever walked into the store Hot Topic at the mall? You immediately know (if you’re over 20) that you are not their target audience. Use your musical selections to create a welcome mat for your right-fit customers.

Whether you’re putting together testimonial videos or a radio series or creating a live event, don’t forget to think long and hard about music and how you can elevate your results with it.