Prime the Pump

Do you have music playing in your retail store or while your customers are on hold? Below is an excerpt from Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki.

Prime the Pump

Adrian C. North, David J. Hargreaves, and Jennifer McKendrickof the Universityof Leicester devised a study to investigate the power of “priming the pump.” The study, conducted in a market in the East Midlands area of the United Kingdom, involved displaying French wine and German wine while the market played French or German music near the shelf. (music, wine and will)

The market sold forty bottles of French wine and eight bottles of German wine to French music. With German background music, it sold twenty-two bottles of German wine and twelve bottles of French wine. A questionnaire asked the shoppers if they were aware of outside influences as they shopped. When asked via an open-ended question, only one mentioned the music as an influence. When the questionnaire asked specifically whether the music was an influence, only six of forty-four subjects said it was.

The researchers interpreted these results to mean that music can “prime related knowledge and the selection of certain causes if they fit with that knowledge.” So maybe the right music (or other environmental factors) can help you enchant people! And if you own a shop, you probably want to avoid playing “Shop Around” and “Walk On By” where customers can hear them.


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