Survey looks at garden centre on-hold marketing

The UK garden trade speaks with a middle-aged, female voice, new research has revealed.

A study conducted by PH Media Group found the most popular voice used by garden centres and gardening businesses is female and aged between 45 and 55. It is also warm and friendly in tone, helping to reinforce a sense of dedicated service.

The research audited garden centres' on-hold marketing  - the messages heard by callers when they are put on hold or transferred - to reveal which voice and music was most widely used.

PH Group voice and music head Dan Lafferty said: "A female voice offers a soft, soothing presence, especially when combined with relaxed music, so can help to instil customers with a sense of ease and openness.

"But that doesn't mean it will necessarily be the best fit across the board and companies should use a voice which best reflects their products, customer base and service proposition. An older, deeper male voice, for example, is perceived as authoritative and professional, providing
customers with a different kind of reassurance."

The most popular music tracks were relaxed and uplifting in style, designed to reinforce the sense of top-class service communicated by the tone of voice.

Many firms opt to use popular music tracks but, due to existing emotional associations, these tracks are often unsuitable in convincing a customer to buy, said Lafferty

"Placing a piece of commercial music in an on-hold situation, no matter how cheery and upbeat it may seem, is a lottery of the individual's previous experience of the track. Using commercial music is also a square peg, round hole scenario, taking a piece of music and trying to make it fit a new purpose to convey a message it was never intended to.

"A bespoke music track starts from the ground up, with each element forming or reflecting the brand proposition, and with there being no previous exposure among the client base. The physical attributes of the track - whether major, minor, fast, slow, loud or quiet - are used to communicate emotional meaning, rather than the personal experience of the individual."

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