Many music stores seem to feel a little like Elmer Fudd, looking everywhere for clientele that are clever and elusive. Attracting more people to music and involving them in it is the dream for most music store owners, isn’t it?
Your business’ survival depends on a supply of committed music lovers. Those people are your quarry. Putting together a plan to bring them through your doors is more attainable than you think, but you’ll need to work to develop it. If you’re looking to secure new customers who have money in their pockets, allow me to give you a few ideas that will have them looking for you!
A number of years back, writing for The New York Times, Oliver Sacks noted some of the benefits of music-making. He wrote, “Music is an especially powerful shaping force, for listening to and especially playing it engages many different areas of the brain, all of which must work in tandem: from reading musical notation and coordinating fine muscle movements in the hands, to evaluating and expressing rhythm and pitch, to associating music with memories and emotion.”
Who might want to engage their brains that thoroughly? Where can these new potential music-makers be found? You don’t have to go too far. Baby Boomers (born from the mid-’40s to mid-’60s) have grown up and gone to work and, now, they’ve gotten old. There are some 76.4 million of them still around in this country alone. A large number—whether still working or in retirement—might want to get back to their youthful love for music. That fact gives you a huge, deep pool of people who might have forgotten that, in high school and college, they were told to take engineering or medicine, rather than focusing on “the arts.” Nevertheless, they’d always wanted—and still want—to play trombone, harp, cello or something else. With a little of your encouragement, those people might just rekindle their ambitions.
One major shift in strategy that must be part of your thinking as you plan for this new, mature clientele is this: Music stores need to partner more completely with their community. Think about churches and synagogues, to which various members of many families head several times per week. Your store having activities that individuals or social groups are involved with means you become a big part of their lives. Working toward the status of an integral family gathering place will show your music store in a different light. And that’s important, because we’re looking to find ways to integrate shoppers and students who are more mature, and who might not see themselves as “the typical customer.”