How Businesses Use Sensory Marketing to Influence Buying Decisions

These days, marketers are all abuzz about sensory marketing.  If you haven’t heard of it before, sensory marketing can be defined as marketing that is designed to appeal to more than just 1 sense.  It is believed that by appealing to multiple senses, the consumer is more likely to be influenced on a subconscious level.   Curious as to how it works?  Below we offer up some examples of sensory marketing in action:

  • Swimming, Anyone?  For many people, the smell of pool chlorine is an enjoyable scent.  Wanting to take advantage of that, Holiday Inn actually creates that smell by adding a bucket of powder to the air system!  Additionally, the hotel chain pumps in the smell of roses for weddings and leather for business functions.
  • Everyone Loves Chocolate.  UK-based Royal Mail wanted to convince 6,000 advertisers to increase their spending on direct mail.  To do so, Royal Mail sent each of these individuals a personalized letter made of chocolate, encouraging recipients to taste, touch, and smell the letter.
  • Smooth as a Baby’s Bottom.  Johnson’s baby lotion deliberately designs their packaging to have a soft texture to transmit the lotion’s primary benefit to consumers.
  • Retailers Have the Beat.  While there is no singular type of music that all retailers use, most of them rely on music to subtly influence buyers.  Abercrombie and Fitch, for example, uses loud, upbeat music with a heavy bass to appeal to teens.  On the other hand, Victoria’s Secret plays classical music to create an impression of upscale exclusivity. 
  • Marlboro Gets Creative.  Marlboro—which has been banned from advertising in many parts of the world—has been forced to rely on a more subtle marketing approach.  The company is known to invest in the atmosphere of bars by including popular motifs associated with their brand identity:  images of horses, mountain-shaped seats, pictures of racing cars (Marlboro sponsors racing events), etc.