The Science Behind Sensory Marketing

Sensory Marketing is a powerful tool for strengthening your visitors’ emotional bond with your products and environment. But how does it work?

A complete Sensory Marketing program targets the five senses to reinforce your brand’s values and personality, as well as your product’s attributes and benefits. The goal is to create positive sensory experiences that influence your visitors’ buying behaviors and encourage repeat business.

Studies show that our senses affect our attitude, mood and memory more powerfully than words do.

When you can appeal to your audience’s senses, you’re more likely to reach them on an emotional level, rather than a rational level.

Embodied cognition is the idea that the mind is not just connected to the body, but influenced by it. Our sensory systems are fundamentally integrated with cognitive processing. That means our bodily sensations impact the decisions we make, typically without our conscious awareness.

And often our senses amplify one another. So, when you can appeal to multiple senses, you can produce a stronger, more consistent, more holistic experience for your customers. As an example, smelling cinnamon makes a heating pad seem to work better. Cinnamon suggests warmth, which can enhance the heating pad’s perceived effectiveness.

How Our Senses Influence Us

Vision and touch trigger a conscious process in our brains. Taste, smell and hearing are more closely linked to our emotions and have a greater impact on loyalty.

Sight. Many visual components can impact customer buying decisions, but color is perhaps the most influential visual element you can leverage. Consumers often make judgments about a product in 90 seconds or less and 90% of people will base their opinions purely on color.

Studies show that brand acceptance is based largely on whether or not the colors ‘fit’ the brand and product. In fact, up to 90% of quick buying decisions are based on the colors of products or branding alone.

Sound. Audio has a significant impact on visitor behavior. That includes overhead messaging and in-location music. Some fashion stores have noticed that loud dance music increases sales. That’s because the loud volume over-stimulates shoppers, weakening self-control and triggering impulse purchases. And overhead messaging can influence how customers navigate your environment, which products and departments they look for and how welcome they feel.

Smell. Did you know 75% of our feelings are generated by smell? Various scents provoke different reactions and impact emotion, concentration and memory recall. For example, the scent of roses enhances happiness, while lavender and cinnamon promote relaxation. Peppermint and rosemary are invigorating. Ginger and chocolate stir romantic feelings.

Touch. Pleasant touching causes the brain to release oxytocin – the ‘love hormone’ – which creates a feeling of calmness and well-being. When consumers touch your products, they may experience a sense of ownership, triggering their ‘must-have’ purchase decision. Even interpersonal touches, such as a handshake or a pat on the shoulder, can make people feel safer and spend more money.

Taste. This is perhaps the most intimate sense, purely because the sense of taste can’t be experienced from a distance. It’s also the hardest sense to cater to because it differs significantly from person to person, with nearly 80% of our taste preferences impacted by genetics. But if you can appeal to your audience’s sense of taste, you’ll tap into the part of the brain responsible for encoding the time, the place and how positive or negative their experience was when they encountered the taste.

See various studies and results of how the senses impact our decisions.

Achieving Results with Sensory Marketing

When you can implement a Sensory Marketing program that elevates customer experiences, you’ll connect with your audience on a deeper, more emotional level, increase visit time, encourage repeat visits and enhance satisfaction.

To learn which Sensory Marketing elements will work best for your brand and environment, contact Jon Marker, SensoryMax’s Director of Business Development.

About the Writer

Cassandra Evans has been a Creative Consultant with MadAveGroup since late 2019. She has a passion for creating “positive, lasting impressions” on every audience.

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