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Ken Warkentin's Blog


Sounds Good

Published: September 27, 2011 1:23 pm ET

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As a customer, when I walk into any business, even if it’s a dry cleaning store, I crave welcoming messages for my senses. We have a wonderful shoe repair shop in my town, the proprietor plays Jazz Classics, and even though I’m not a fan of that form of music, it instantly puts you in a good place when you open the door.

These days, everybody is a diligent consumer, even at the racetrack. The customer wants to feel good about making a decision to leave their home, putting forth the effort to being in a place where people really care, and appreciate their business. This sets up the whole costumer experience, encourages them to have a positive approach, inspires them to wager with confidence, and makes them want to come back.

One of the important aspects of customer comfort is music, and harness racing needs to take advantage of it.

It has been scientifically proven over and over background music sets the tone and mood, and it can greatly affect the human spirit, emotion and decision making. Music can simply make you feel happier and even relieve pain. In any culture, music can affect everything we do. Pleasing music or even pleasant sounds keep customers around longer, and have a positive influence on their consumption behavior. We work out to high tempo tunes for energy and relax to classical music, depending on personal preference.

Interestingly, whether you enjoy the genre or not, smooth jazz is by far, that’s right, BY FAR the world wide choice of internet listeners. I love to have that playing through my speakers while working from home, and somehow I psychologically feel more productive when it’s on. Some might call it elevator music, or muzak, yet perhaps it’s just the pleasant, unobtrusive sounds that subliminally make us feel positive, like we’re going in the right direction.

Music can provide us with the ideal environment for thinking, which is what we’re trying to do when handicapping and making decisions involving our money. When I was in Sweden last year, I learned that the folks at Solvalla Racecourse had actually done a study on how music affects their patrons. They played different types of uptempo instrumental music, changing it at various stages, such as a bright march for the post parade, and building to a stirring crescendo of orchestral movements just before the start of the race, with the excited fans clapping along.


2011 Elitlopp Opening Ceremony


Yes, it worked. It certainly added to the pageantry, alleviated the monotony of just another race on just another night, and dressed up the overall presentation as a series of events.

That’s production value.

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