Creating a sensory marketing plan requires detailed attention to how the five senses influence purchasing habits.
Creating a sensory marketing plan requires detailed attention to how the five senses influence purchasing habits.

Think of how the outdoors smell after rain.

Did you smile, reminiscing about the moment the clouds begin to clear? Or did your face sour as you recalled the scent? No matter your particular emotional response, that knee-jerk reaction you had is what forms the basis of sensory marketing.

Our five senses connect to our emotions and help us form memories. Sensory marketing uses this connection to influence and appeal to a customer. When used properly, sensory marketing sparks an emotional connection between a brand and a consumer.

Sensory marketing can help your customers see (and smell…and taste!) your brand in a whole new way.

  • Vision: Visuals include everything from stills, motion video and logos to websites to the color scheme of a print ad. Traditional marketing campaigns often use visuals to reach their audience. Colors and shapes convey a message about your brand without words.
  • Sound: Sound is also used frequently in traditional marketing. Auditory marketing includes the background music to a television commercial, on-hold messaging and in-office overhead music. Sounds emphasize a point and heighten emotions, just as the theme from “Jaws” makes you feel suspense as you await an appearance of the shark itself.
  • Scent: Scent is a powerful marketing tool if used correctly! An excellent use of scent marketing comes from a Dunkin Donuts campaign in Seoul, South Korea. Public buses were outfitted with machines that released the scent of coffee each time a Dunkin Donuts radio commercial played. As for the campaign’s success, the proof is in the coffee – er, pudding. Dunkin Donuts shops near bus stops saw a 29% increase in sales and a 16% increase in visitors to shops throughout the city.
  • Taste: Unless you’re in the food business, you don’t need to take marketing through “taste” literally (and if you are in the food biz, then yes, your product should be delicious!). Taste could mean the overall feel of your brand or simply someone’s first experience with your product. Don’t leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouth, whether they’re a loyal subscriber or they’re just reading a print ad for your newest product.
  • Feel: Touch can apply to your marketing strategy both literally and figuratively. Allow customers to touch the merchandise, or at least a sample of it. Figuratively speaking, reach out to your customers! Make an appropriate emotional appeal through your marketing strategy while keeping your brand open and accessible for communication.

Approach customers on a personal level! Evoke positive feelings and create a new, fascinating experience through sensory marketing. Over time, your brand’s immersive marketing can create a strong connection between you and your customers.

This article is the first installment in our series on sensory marketing. Stay tuned for our next installment, focusing on visual marketing and the impact of colors and shapes on emotion.