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Sensory Marketing: How the 5 Senses Add to Your Marketing Strategy

Sensory Marketing: How the 5 Senses Add to Your Marketing Strategy

When most people think of marketing, the visual element is probably the one that sticks out the most. Billboards, window displays, magazines, and videos have traditionally all been a huge part of the biggest and best marketing campaigns.

The world of marketing and advertising is constantly changing and evolving, and if a brand wishes to differentiate itself from the competition, it's not enough to rely on the same old tricks.

Although it's true that for some time, marketing has been a particularly visually and aurally focused endeavor, this is beginning to change. Sensory marketing is slowly becoming the new industry standard and with good reason.

If you're focusing solely on one or two senses in your marketing strategy, you're missing out. All five senses we as humans possess can and should be engaged in a marketing strategy. Providing a rich and full customer experience involves delighting your clients in every way possible.

To completely ignore several important senses is to do your customers, and your brand, a disservice.

Today we're going to take a deeper look at sensory marketing. What it is, how it works, and how you can utilize it to boost your business.

Sensory Marketing: What Is It and How Does It Work?

As the name would suggest, sensory marketing involves engaging multiple different senses as part of your marketing efforts.

In the field of neuroscience, knowledge is constantly being gained about how humans interact with the world. It is now known that stimulation of our senses can have a profound effect on us. A smell, sight, taste, touch, or sound can all trigger strong memories and emotions, which can, in turn, affect our behavior.

Strong sensory experiences can influence a person to want to buy a particular product and form a lasting connection to a brand.

Why Is Sensory Marketing Important?

Sensory marketing is a great way to provide a unique and well-rounded customer experience. But purely from a marketing perspective, it can have some impressive results, as well.

Sensory marketing can be used as a means to facilitate experiential marketing. Experiential marketing involves offering an experience to consumers as a means of advertising your brand. It's one of the hottest marketing trends of the past few years and sensory marketing is an integral part of a great experiential marketing campaign.

Sensory marketing can be leveraged to more effectively guide a consumer through the entire buyer journey.

For example, a café might use irresistible smells to draw customers inside and have pleasant music playing in the background once they enter, encouraging them to browse.

They may make their displays and decor visually appealing with lots of textures and materials to keep those browsing engaged and offer free samples to build rapport and give them that final push to purchase.

Finally, sensory marketing can help build the brand you want. A minimalist furniture design company. A friendly dentist's office. A luxury hotel. All of these businesses will have very different branding needs.

Adopting a 5-senses approach to your branding and marketing strategies can help to cement the specific vision you have for your brand in the minds of your customers.

Sensory Marketing Examples

Sensory marketing can be an effective addition to any marketing strategy. But don't take our word for it. Let's take a look at just some of the ways sensory marketing has been used with impressive results:


Not only for the preserve of billboards and print ads, but sight can also be used in many clever ways for a fuller sensory marketing experience. Take Apple, for example.

Everything it does, from the design of its products to its advertisements and its physical stores, has such a strong and consistent visual thread running through it.

If you hear the word "Apple" you immediately imagine a sleek, minimalist design. Apple has curated its brand image more sharply than most through the use of strong visual queues.


Touch may seem like a clunky sense to incorporate into marketing efforts, but, in many industries, it's an essential component.

If you're looking to purchase a car, a couch, a computer, or a cushion, you're going to want to try before you buy. This is where the element of touch comes in. Consumers like to feel comfortable and sure about the products they purchase. Touch is a great way to reinforce these feelings and remove any lingering doubt.

It can be used in other, more innovative ways, too. To promote their new wellness range, British department store Selfridges set up a pop-up gym inside its flagship London location. Customers got the chance to stretch, sweat, and soak up the atmosphere in a multi-sensory yoga experience.


Taste is a sense that can sometimes be overlooked in marketing. After all, if your product has nothing to do with food or drink, how can you incorporate it? As it turns out, there are many ways to use taste to your advantage, even if it's not your main area of expertise.

If you're a hotel, realtor, casino, or doctor's office, one of the easiest ways to make your patrons feel welcome is to offer complimentary treats.

Casinos, of course, oftentimes offer free drinks to players on the floor. Realtors often keep bowls of fruit or plates of cookies at open houses, both to sweeten the deal and incorporate the sense of smell. And for brands that do deal in ingestible items, free samples and new flavors are two tried and tested methods of keeping customers happy.


Sound is often used by brands to invoke certain emotions or prompt specific behaviors. Beyond choosing the perfect playlist for your store, there are a ton of different ways brands use sound to curate their image and make themselves memorable.

The sound heard at the beginning of classic Nintendo games, for example, is immediately recognizable and brings about feelings of nostalgia and comfort for those familiar with it.

In a more modern example, Visa has carefully crafted the sound made when customers make a payment with its app. Research has shown it symbolizes speed and security to its customers.


Scent is the sense that has been proven to elicit one of the strongest reactions in humans. There is a wealth of research to show that it's one of the most important and accessed senses when it comes to marketing.

Abercrombie & Fitch's heavily perfumed stores are one famous example of scent marketing in action. Scent can be used to give your business a feeling of cleanliness, something that's very important in a hotel or doctor's office. It can create a sense of calm, such as in a spa. It can also influence buyer behavior tangibly. 

In one case, Dunkin Donuts piped the smell of fresh coffee into busses across Seoul, South Korea while its jingle played. When travelers disembarked the bus, they were greeted with an advertisement for the famous donut brand. The result? Sales at stores along the bus route increased by 29%.

Sensory Marketing Makes Perfect Sense

Sensory marketing is a wonderful way to give your customers and clients that little something extra. That special touch marks the difference between a good brand and a great one.

ScentAir is one of the industry leaders in scent marketing. With our services being utilized in over 100 countries across the globe, our passion is helping bring sensory marketing to the masses.

If you're looking for new ways to elevate customer experience, boost your company profile, and help your brand stand out from the crowd. Why not schedule a consultation with us today?