10 Facts about Sensory Marketing

Patty DuChene

Sight is just one of the five senses linked to our brain. Marketers consistently target sight with advertisements but many overlook the fact that some of our most memorable experiences are made up of a multitude of senses.

Infusing tactile experiences into messages can set you apart from competition and yield huge response rates and conversions.

There are all sorts of research articles that points towards the effectiveness of this: authentic connections created through tactile or sensory experiences. Most likely you've experienced this as well. Think about being drawn into your favorite bakery just from the aromas in the surrounding environment.

Digital marketing lacks the ability to have any sensory impact on potential customers other than sight. What if you could effortless employ multi-sensory experiences into your workflows and sequences? This is exactly what we aim to make possible at Postal.

Here are 10 Facts about Sensory Marketing

sensory marketing

1. The sensation of warmth makes people more generous

A Harvard Business Review article mentioned an experiment in which people were asked to hold a warm or cold therapeutic pad. They weren't told that researchers were actually looking to see if the sensations affected behavior in unrelated investment decisions.

Turns out, people who briefly held the warm pad invested 43% more money. This suggested the sensation of warmth gave people a psychological feeling of safety and comfort, spurring more generosity.

Utilizing physical warmth as a marketing technique may seem difficult but it can be as simple as getting a warm cup of coffee in the hands of your contact.

2. Heavier items increase perceived value

The same article describes another experiment where people were asked to evaluate a candidate while either holding a light or heavy-weight clipboard.

When holding the heavy clipboard, people seemed to think the candidate was expressing more interest in the job. Don't send your contact a brick by any means, but consider this while pondering tactile marketing strategies.

3. Soft products can make people more susceptible to persuasive influences

The last study in the same article discussed how the tactile sensation of hardness influences purchase decisions. People sitting in either a hard, wooden chair or a soft, cushioned chair bargained over the price of a new car.

Throughout the experiment, it became evident that people sitting in hard chairs were stiffer negotiators than people sitting in the soft chairs.

This suggests soft products can make people more susceptible to persuasive influences. A stress ball with a message regarding how your product could relieve the stress of your client would be a great way to use the sense of touch to your benefit.

4. Pleasant smells can improve mood by 40%

The olfactory nerve is linked to the part of the brain that monitors memories and emotions. Research has shown that 75% of all emotions generated every day are due to smell, and as a result, we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell over something we see, hear, or touch.

scent marketing

A Nike study even showed scent affected desirability of shoes in 84% of subjects, with some subjects willing to pay 10-20% more in scented environments. Brownies and baked goods in your direct mail campaigns are a great option to trigger the sense of smell with your potential clients.

5. Emotional advertisements work the best

An analysis of campaign profitability found that campaigns with purely emotional content performed almost twice as well against those with purely rational content. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many sales and marketing organizations lack in the ability to emotionally engage with their customers.

The status quo has been selling on the points that differentiate your product or service: not how it will make your customer's life better. Think of how your messaging can tug on the emotional strings of your leads that your competitors aren't touching.

6. Happy content spreads the quickest

We've all gotten those drab automated emails telling us to buy some product because of x, y, and z. And what do we do? TRASH! Maintaining an optimistic brand voice can be a key way to ramp up responses and conversions.

Studies have shown that good news and positive content are shared faster on social media than any other type of content. Keeping your messages consistently positive can be a great way to gain traction against competitors.

7. Color increases brand recognition by 80%

Given the fact that vision is the most commonly targeted sense, we actually wrote a whole separate article about it. The main takeaway here is color and emotion are strongly tied together. There is a whole science called color psychology that dives deep into this.

To keep your messaging aligned with your brand, ensure the colors you use correspond with the emotions you are trying to evoke in your audience.

color psychology

8. Sadness helps connect with people through empathy

Think about the last commercial you saw that promoted your local animal shelter. Did is strike you as particularly happy content? Probably not. This is because sadness can be used in marketing to empathize with your target audience.Empathy is defined as the ability to understand the feelings of another person. As a marketer, if you are able to evoke this feeling with your customers, chances are you will see them give more. We don't recommend consistently sending sad content, but when appropriate, it can create strong authentic connections with your leads and contacts.

9. Untraditional sensory tactics can evoke excitement

All brands have their own personalities. From Harley-Davidson and their rugged appeal to motorcycle enthusiasts, to MTV's wackiness that appeals to young adults, almost every brand has a unique and differentiating personality that appeals to a certain market.

In 2016, Sundar & Noseworthy researched the effects of brand personality on sensory mismatch. They tested products that were visually aligned with how they feel (sensory match) against those that weren't visually aligned with how they feel (sensory mismatch).

One would think mismatch (a bag of coffee that looks like burlap but feels like paper) would receive negative evaluations. They actually found in some cases that 'exciting brands' with some sort of mismatch were perceived positively.

This goes to show that brand perception can influence sensory marketing tactics. Do people think of your brand as 'exciting'? If so, try utilizing some sensory innovations in a way your reach potential customers.

10. Dynamic imagery evokes a perception of movement

In 2014 Cian, Krishna, and Elder defined dynamic imagery as an image capability to evoke a perception of movement. The conducted research that showed dynamic imagery is an important aspect of logo design, which affects consumer engagement and attitudes.

The following year they found that this imagery prepares the observer for action and can increase consumer behavior. When creating content, think of ways to leverage dynamic imagery to have a better chance of engaging with viewers.

What does all this Mean?

sensory engagement

As more and more sales and marketers are looking for ways to engage with their audiences offline, incorporating sensory marketing in your strategy can be a huge differentiator.

In fact, 94% of top executives believe gifts that facilitate a deeper personal connection are important to business success. Forming that authentic personal connection is largely attributed to sensory aspects such as design, smell, and texture.

Corporate gifting can be taken to a whole new level if businesses actively consider how to engage with the sensory side of things. Hopefully some of these facts inspire new ways to creatively reach your potential customers that will set you apart from competitors.

Patty DuChene

Patricia DuChene (also known as Pat, Patti, Patty, Tricia, and PD) is the Vice President of Sales at Postal, an Offline Marketing Automation platform that generates leads, increases sales, and improves customer retention. Prior to joining Postal, Patricia was the Vice President of Int'l Sales & Managing Director for a work management software company called Wrike, where she built out client facing teams in Dublin IRE, Melbourne AU Tokyo JP, and Kyiv UA. A native of the 805, she was thrilled to join the Postal team with the promise of delivering an authentic, scalable engagement platform in San Luis Obispo. She is a passionate advocate for women in technology and takes an active approach when encouraging women to consider careers in technology. When she isn't in the office, Patricia can be found hiking with her husband and princess pug, Hammond von Schnitzel.