Sensory marketing awakens the consumer of the five senses. Its definition is logical and intuitive. Thus, this type of marketing seeks to establish an emotional or sensory link with the customer so that sales are generated or linked to the brand with certain values.
In the last decade, the constant race to give value to products, services, and brands has led companies to wonder how to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market.
The question that arises is: what to do now? Disciplines such as psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and food engineering have come together to answer this question. Thanks to them, a new way of doing marketing has been arrived at: the marketing of the senses.
The era of sensory marketing begins
Sensory marketing is a term that was first mentioned in 1998. From the hand of experts Bernd Schmitt and Alex Simonson, the objective of this type of marketing is presented. Its purpose is to reach the consumer’s right hemisphere (the one that handles emotions) instead of targeting only the left hemisphere (which governs logic and reason).
The five senses in action
Using each sense in marketing makes sensory perception a more effective tool for a holistic experience.
The sense of smell is the first to be remembered, at 35 per cent. Fragrances play a privileged place in people’s lives. In this way, they indicate harmless objects: food, flowers, potential partners, or harmful: poison, predators, gas leaks.
For its part, the sense of taste is etched in memory by 15 per cent. Humans can distinguish only four pure tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. However, for some time now, there has been talking of a fifth flavour: umami.
The view is one of the most exploited in the marketing sense, although it is not as memorable as the smell and taste: remember only 5 per cent of what we see. Brands have used it to define their corporate identity: colours have to be pleasing to customers and, at the same time, distinguish the brand from its competitors.
On the other hand, the sense of hearing permeates 2 per cent of what the consumer remembers. This sense can greatly influence the differentiation of the brand. Sounds and music are sought that recall positive experiences previously lived and enhanced people’s desire to buy.
Lastly, touch accounts for 1 per cent of what remains on the customer’s mind. The sense that makes us perceive the contact of objects through our skin is outlined as a determining factor when designing the packaging.
The brain interprets one or more of the stimuli that have been detailed and generate a positive or negative sensation. This sensation added to many others will create an experience that can become a memory. Herein lies the possibility of reaching customers by stimulating the senses.
Where do the benefits of sensory marketing lie?
Sense marketing allows brands to establish and strengthen themselves in the minds of their consumers. It does so from the moment in which awareness about the product is created. Therefore, a pleasant memory or a positive impact can be transformed into significant results. Its advantages are highlighted:
- Optimize communication with customers: one of the maxims of human communication is that a message does not necessarily require verbal communication to achieve its purpose. When sensory marketing is applied, the brand tells its customers that it cares about their well-being. Also, establish a more human relationship with them.
- Turn the brand into a solution: the customer stops feeling that a company is one of those that promote capitalism. You feel and understand that the product provides you with a solution to your problems. In this sense, copywriting becomes essential to achieve a better interpretation of the brand.
- Increase the added value: recent studies in neuroscience and neuromarketing reveal that, by generating empathy, the purchase decision is made mainly from sensory stimuli.
- Induces acquisition and engagement: By encouraging the purchase of products and services through a subtle combination of basic impulses stimulated with a creative and interesting design, sensory marketing ensures its presence among the favourites of its audience.
Possible risks of sensory strategy
Although a well-implemented sensory strategy is an added value for the brand, the company runs several risks. These are specified in:
- People have a different perception of odours: depending on the consumer’s culture, a different conception of odours can be had. What conveys joy for some may have the opposite effect for others.
- The colours of a brand are not aligned with what the company needs: these colours may be far from creating that much-desired feeling in the store or conveying negative emotions to the consumer.
- The same stimuli can influence in one way or another depending on the person’s mood.
Thus, a brand has to take care of how it uses sensory stimuli. To do this, he has to focus on knowing the brand, the buyer person, and each product. To what end? To successfully implement the sensory strategy.
A fusion between falling in love and hooking leads sensory marketing to be more and more present and occupy a relevant space. Examples are many and varied. Here are some that have stomped on:
- Ford and its new-smelling cars: The company launches the first used cars that smell new. This well-known brand selects and offers the first second-hand vehicles with all the characteristics and benefits of a vehicle that has just left the factory.
- Volkswagen: decided to recreate a piano on the subway stairs. Once the person stepped on the step, each musical note sounded. It caused a special moment in people of all ages, making them live an unrepeatable experience.
- Burgers for the blind: The Wimpy company came up with a message that was a revelation for the blind. A total of twelve hamburgers in which they used sesame to form braille messages on the bread. The impact reached thousands of customers, as it was a magical experience for people who touched and read what was put on their burgers.
Once you reach the era of marketing of the senses, you can understand why low-cost supermarket chains such as Aldi, Dia or Lidl initially presented a somewhat sloppy and simple aesthetic.
At the same time, it is understood that stores of high prestige and high prices seek to differentiate themselves with their minimalist touch. Thus, if a person enters a designer clothing store, they will only find one size of each garment. It is not that there is no more, but that it is intended to gain exclusivity.
Thanks to sensory marketing, brands fall in love and stand out. They activate one of the five senses of the human being or several simultaneously, creating significant effects in the emotional area of the brain. The brand gains engagement and positions itself with certain values. Meanwhile, the person experiences new gratifying sensations.
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