We are all consumers, continually faced with a growing number of choices and decisions. Before we opt to buy a particular product, our brains make a multitude of decisions, whether we realize this is happening or not. A well-marketed product will positively influence these decisions by utilizing more than one of the five the senses, engaging the customer on both a conscious and subconscious level. By using effective, product-specific marketing tools, a brand can achieve genuine customer engagement, ultimately separating brand and product from the crowd.
Sight dominates marketing practices and rightly so, given that 90% of the information perceived and used by the brain is visual(1). Logos, colour schemes, photographs and website design are all important in creating a clear brand vision and identity. However, for the past two decades, there has been increasing evidence that other sensory inputs drive consumer behaviour(2). The use of sound, touch, smell, and taste, in parallel with sight, can further enhance consumer-product relationships through experience.
In 2015, the Harvard Business Review suggested that we are entering an era in which sensory marketing will be widely utilized to influence consumer behaviour(3). There are already a number of sensory marketing success stories. These include the use of smell to sell donuts and coffee(4), touch to sell duct tape(5) and even sound in the form of a catchy song used in an Australian Metro Safety Awareness Campaign(6). Clearly, it is going to be a powerful marketing tool in the 21st century.
Sensory experiences trigger emotional responses engaging you with the product and separating it from competitors. Sensory marketing tools are designed to do just that in the cosmetics industry, giving your product an edge over others. By using the tools, customers learn something about the nature of their skin, body, hair, deo or UV care needs, in an experience termed their beauty moment of truth. The tool transforms consumer perception by giving them the information and reassurance required to decide that your product is the right one for them. Their purchasing decision is directed and as your product performs and solves the customer’s problem, trust and loyalty are built.
Integrating an element of touch or smell using a demo tool captures attention and immediately creates an emotional connection between the brand and the potential consumer. Sensory marketing tools effectively provide a consultation, giving the consumer confidence that they are buying the right product for their individual needs. Appealing to the senses of consumers and allowing them to experience a product first-hand before purchasing intensifies a brand’s personality and leaves that all-important lasting impression.
1 Olivares, E. (2013) Visual Information, “We are 90% Visual Beings.” https://ernestoolivares.com/2013/01/11/we-are-90-visuals-beings/
2 Krishna, A. (2011) An integrative review of sensory marketing: Engaging the senses to affect perception, judgement and behaviour. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1016/j.jcps.2011.08.003
3 Harvard Business Review (March, 2015) The Science of Sensory Marketing. https://hbr.org/2015/03/the-science-of-sensory-marketing
4 Bostinno (2012) Dunkin’ Donuts Sprays the Smell of Coffee onto Buses to Increase Sales. https://www.americaninno.com/boston/dunkin-donuts-sprays-the-smell-of-coffee-onto-buses-to-increase-sales-video/
5 Pro Motion! Experimental Marketing (2013) Duck Tape Rolls Across America. https://promotion1.com/project/duck-tape-rolls-across-america/
6 Dumb Ways to Die (2012) Metro Trains Melbourne. http://www.dumbwaystodie.com/watch/#video-player