Forget Muzak, On-Hold Messages Are a Great Marketing Tool

Last week, Marka and the FEI tribe concluded their discussion on SEO. This week, the topic is how on-hold messages can teach customers and prospects about your business while they wait. Remember, fire = print.

Marka strode into Org’s office one morning. “We need to change the message people hear when they call FEI and are placed on hold.”

Org was confused, but willing to hear the marketer out. “What’s wrong with it?”

“After leaving the office yesterday, I called FEI because I couldn’t remember if I’d left my grape-leave wallet here or at home,” Marka said. “Rowena, one of our CSRs, put me on hold while she looked for it…and I had to listen to five minutes of Orpheus FM.”

“The all-lyre station?” Org asked. “Who chose that?”

“It’s Zoot’s favorite,” Marka said with disgust. “Using radio music as our on-hold audio without proper licenses, however, is actually illegal. Radio music played on hold is technically a rebroadcast and therefore not legally covered by the license the radio obtained from the record companies.”

“So we call the radio station and get a license of our own,” Org suggested.

“Nope,” Marka said. “Radio stations cannot legally provide us with a usage license for the music they play, because they do not own the rights to it. Essentially, using radio music on hold legally would involve getting express permission from every record company whose artist’s music is played on whatever station we were using. It’s not even close to being worth it. Our choice of station can also be controversial…”

“It’s safe to say some customers won’t share Zoot’s love of the lyre,” Org interrupted.

“FEI can do better than lyre music, top 40, or dead air for our on-hold audio,” Marka said. “Let’s take this opportunity to educate customers and prospects about our company and the products and services we provide.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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  • AlexAtSpectrio

    Thanks for mentioning our project! Marka and the FEI tribe have it right. Most business owners or managers have no idea what the experience is for their callers. You can learn more about how Bayada Nurses is making the most of this targeted and attentive audience here:

  • rich

    You’re assuming that the individual on hold is open to hearing your message. I don’ t think they are. In fact, they’re probably all ready perturbed at being on hold.