Does Your Marketing Make Sense?

Marketing Sense, the 5 senses of marketing, sense marketing, how to make marketing better.

Wikipedia states, “A sense is a physiological capacity of organisms that provides data for perception.” The five most commonly known senses are: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. We use at least one of our five senses every moment of every day. They are constantly working together to help our brain understand what is going on in our surrounding environment. This is critical for our safety, our well-being, and our ability to comprehend each new situation we encounter.

When creating a marketing campaign, do you ever consider how it will affect your target audience’s senses? Depending on your products, services and marketing initiatives, this may definitely be something to consider.  Let’s discuss why…

SIGHT: Almost every marketer considers the visual aspect of their campaign. Is the creative pleasing to the eye? Do the colors used complement each other? Is the copy clear, concise and easy to read? Are the people in the photos smiling, positive and energetic? Those are basic visual considerations, but did you ever delve deeper into the graphic design aspects of the artwork to strategically demand the eye’s undivided attention. Possibly, you selectively highlighted key words that you wanted to stand out in a specific font type or color? Or maybe, you added drop shadows or bevel effects to create dimension and make images/words “pop” off the page. These are tactics playing to your target audience’s sense of sight.

HEARING: Sometimes the use of common sounds can help trigger our mind to produce a specific visual. For instance, if you are listening to a radio commercial, you’ll notice that the script often includes more than conversational dialogue and background music. It integrates commonly identified sound effects such as money clinking, car horns beeping, babies crying, doors slamming and sirens wailing…this tactic enhances the audio communication, strongly appealing to your senses to help your brain develop a stronger visual. Current trends include incorporating sound into traditionally “visual” advertising formats such as direct mail – we see this regularly in Greeting Cards. They not only have an eye-catching visual and message, but they now often have the ability to play music and/or talk to the recipient too. What if your next direct mail piece had a sound bite chip that played the same jingle that currently plays during your TV and radio commercials?

TASTE: If you are in the food industry, how your product tastes is very important. But, unfortunately, we cannot always send someone a physical, tangible sample of a product to appeal to this sense. Some food manufacturers do send small samples such as trial size cereal boxes, but if this is not a possibility you can always include a coupon for a “free meal” or a “taste portion” of your product. It won’t have an immediate effect on your target’s senses upon arrival, but their mind will be more inclined to try your product with this additional tasty incentive.

SMELL: If your product or service has a distinctive odor, you can incorporate a scent into your marketing campaign. This will entice your target audience’s sense of smell. The capability has been around for a while, most frequently used in perfume advertisements. However, new technology now allows for a variety of scents to be incorporated into direct mail, sales displays and product packaging. From mint to coffee and fresh laundry to mowed grass, familiar smells could help influence a consumers’ purchase decision. People take delight in the aromas of their favorite foods, the fragrance of flowers and the smells of a nostalgic childhood. Even bad smells can have an impact. A clever pamphlet, I received from my local Fire station contained a “scratch and smell” sticker to help me identify the odor of a gas leak. Whether using scented paper, inks, glues or scratch and sniff stickers, your campaign can give a customer an unexpected and memorable olfactory experience.

TOUCH: “Touch and see for yourself.” This is probably one of the most common phrases used during in-person sales demonstrations. Why…because if we can feel it ourselves, than we believe it is true, better and real. Our skin contains sensory receptors that respond to various mechanical, thermal or chemical stimuli. They send this information to our brain where our brain then compares it to previous experiences that help interpret how we perceive the current sensation. Marketers should use materials in their campaigns that positively impact the way consumers perceive their brand. Many specialty stock options now exists: from decorative, textured, coated and embossed paper to fabric and tissue papers, that allow recipients to “feel” the product and the perceived quality of the brand. There are also printing techniques, such as letterpress printing, that appeal to one’s sensory receptors by creating an impression on the paper. These touchable marketing methods are often used on high-end marketing materials and fancy cards such as wedding invitations, but can also be used as simple tactics in everyday materials – i.e. foil stamped certification stickers and customer engaging scratch- to-win discount offers.

In conclusion, taking a multi-sensory approach to marketing is worth a try. It will heighten your recipient’s experience, play on their emotions and make your campaign more unique, memorable and different from your competitors.

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