I’m sure you’ve all experienced marketing in different forms. Yet, have you ever thought about the fact that marketers deliberately influence your senses? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t. Fact is, companies these days use sensory marketing to influence how customers feel about their brand. Moreover, they aim at providing the ultimate customer experience. By doing so. companies gather the attention from (potential) customers and increase brand recognition. As you know, the five senses are sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. In the next few paragraphs, you can read about how sensory marketing works for each of the senses. Also, we’ll check out some successful examples!

Sight. Let’s talk about nice things to look at. Did anyone just say Abercrombie & Fitch models? You’ve probably seen it, someone in your social network who took a picture with a -nearly naked- Abercrombie & Fitch model. What brands are doing in this context is generate word-of-mouth. Why does it work? Well, as you’ve read last week, sex sells. This statement is confirmed by Murvey (2012), who states that sexual advertisements increase attention and impulse buying. Another strong example is Coca Cola. A red label represents regular coke, a silver label contains diet coke, a black label... Okay, I’m sure you know what the colours stand for. By using colour in the look of their product, Coca Cola creates a way of brand recognition. And with success.

Hearing. Sound can take many different forms in marketing. For example, that one slogan you can’t get out of your head or a song that goes along with a commercial you’ve seen on TV. A word of advice from marketeers; target the emotions of your customer and make them value your brand by establishing a connection through sound. Check out this commercial with your eyes closed and see if you recognize the brand that matches the song. Tip: it’s an oldie but a goodie ;-).

Smell. Scent marketing can have different goals, but all involve using smell to persuade customers. For example, seduce you to come into a store by letting you smell a pleasant aroma. Or, have customers associate a certain smell with a brand. Let’s zoom in on the city centre of Groningen to give an example. Walk past the stores of Scotch & Soda and Stradivarius and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Touch. Imagine you want to buy a new phone. Don’t you want to know how it feels before you buy it? Just go to any phone provider and you’ll find the newest phones displayed, ready for you to try them out. According to marketeers, touch marketing is quite an easy form of sensory marketing. There are always ways for companies to take advantage of how a product feels, for example quality-wise.

Taste. Taste is the most specific sense humans possess (Rybanska & Nagyova, 2017). You might very much enjoy a certain taste, whereas someone else finds this taste horrible, which makes it quite difficult for marketers to generalize customer preferences. Also, it might be difficult to convince customers of certain tastes. Here’s an example of a solution to this complexity: companies going to city centres and handing out e.g. the newest flavour of a KitKat.

After reading about sensory marketing, you can probably imagine that this fits quite well in the modern marketing world. In sum, sensory marketing is a powerful tool that can be used by companies to interact with its customers. After all, it’s all about creating the ultimate customer experience...