Sensory Marketing Explained

Sensory marketing is used by iconic brands that outlasted their competitors by a landslide. Think of the Disney franchise for instance. How often do we think of Disney and feel the magic of being there? Almost every time! It’s like second nature because Disney has pulled on our emotions. And now we correlate Disney with magic and adventure! 

sense appeal advertising

Appealing to the Senses in Marketing

The sensory appeal in marketing is used to boost the overall consumer experience. From start to finish, companies want their customers to be immersed in a product. You may be wondering why this is beneficial. Sensory marketing goes beyond physical products, creating a psychological connection between an experience and a product. It rules out the competition and brings up the value of your product as a business. If a customer can give a referral via word of mouth or social media with a glowing review, then there is no doubt others will want to try the product to get the overall same experience.

It’s the same reason we go to nice restaurants on birthdays or anniversaries. The food is as important as the overall experience. When we go to a nice restaurant, we like to dress up and be escorted to a table with a reservation. Though this example isn’t the best for e-commerce web pages, the same concept can apply to online pages. It’s all about customer experience!

Today, we are going to explore the realm of sensory marketing and how you can implement it to benefit your business regardless of being an online platform or in person. Both require a sense of sensory marketing to attract quality returning customers. However, both tactics require a different type of customer experience.

How can an e-commerce web page compete with in-person businesses when it comes to sensory marketing? There are many ways to answer this question but first let’s look into the pros and cons of sensory marketing.

Benefits Of Sensory Marketing

Emotions play an essential role in the science of our buying experience. Although we tend to buy things out of the mandatory need of a product like clothing and food, we have so many options that we are pulled towards things that bring about emotion.

There are so many loyal customers to brands because of sensory marketing. To build a memorable and inspiring brand, marketers play off of things like what makes us feel fulfilled, what will be rewarding, and more.

The combination of all senses used to appeal to potential customers is emotionally grabbing. The overall experience makes us feel something and can create a dopamine cycle within customers. This cycle pulls them to purchase again to fulfill that need. This can create a good returning customer rate!

There are benefits to using all senses in marketing and their uses should be considered when implementing a better customer experience:

what is sensory marketing

The Marketing Of Smell

Sensory marketing of smell can be very appealing or very repulsive. Of course, we all want our business to have a positive connotation. A light aroma that surrounds your brand is good. For example, think about how the scent of coffee reminds you of Starbucks. This makes scent a great thing to incorporate into marketing. For online businesses, smell is hard to incorporate. Using reviews that describe the smell/aroma as something positive can be beneficial. Or, you could also have a list of scented ingredients of a product. 

The Marketing Of Sight

Marketing visuals are the most commonly used aspect of sensory marketing. Websites use fun colors to correlate happy emotions with their website as well as cool fonts.  How often do certain fonts make us feel a certain way? A casual lifestyle brand will not have its brand name in fancy cursive lettering. Visual popups on e-commerce sites are great in moderation!  All of the same visuals apply in online and brick-and-mortar stores, especially in window displays.

The Marketing Of Sound

How often do we walk into stores and hear music that fits the vibe of the store? Coffee shops usually play chill acoustic music, and department stores have upbeat chart music. Both create a different feeling for customers in their buying journey. Coffee shop marketing is pretty extensive. Coffee shops want you to stay and relax. While at department stores, they want to get you excited to buy. Another great way brands have incorporated sound marketing is through jingles!

The Marketing Of Touch

The feel of a product is one of the top factors of the customer experience. The other sensory marketing techniques are great but if the product doesn’t feel inviting in a potential customer’s hands, they’re not likely to buy it. Touch sensory could even go as far as making sure your brand has high-quality thank you cards, flyers, and packaging.

Hopefully, you have a better idea of how you can incorporate each sense into your marketing strategy. You’ll notice that the marketing of taste isn’t mentioned above, which only applies if your product is consumable.

sensory marketing examples

Sensory Marketing Examples

We are going to give a couple of sensory marketing examples in a couple of different industries and platforms that a brand might use to sell their product. Sensory marketing paints a picture for a customer. It is a sense of storytelling advertising. Whether your brand is in tech or customer service, we can all take note of how reputable long-lasting brands have used sensory tools to make their way to be the best of the best!

Apple: “Think Different”

Apple is a revolutionary tech company that is designed with a simplistic black and white logo.  The feel of Apple products throughout time makes customers feel tech-savvy, advanced, and knowledgeable. By implementing sleek designs, Apple makes us feel an emotional tug toward their product. A classic sleek tech-savvy persona is exactly the feel they want their customers to have.

McDonald’s: “I’m Mclovin’ it”

McDonald’s is a red and yellow staple fast-food establishment, with its bright colors and fun logo. Everyone recognizes the golden arches, which can be considered symbolic. Everyone remembers going to McDonald’s as a kid. McDonald’s plays on that nostalgic emotion with the clown mascot and attraction of a kid’s playground. 

Tiffany & Co: “Beautiful Design Makes a Beautiful Wife”

With the sound of the slogan, you can already tell the quality of the product is what matters. Quality and design are what are going to attract high-quality buying customers to jewelry. Anyone who sees is a small blue box tied up with a white ribbon knows that’s Tiffany and Co! 

All of these brands are vastly different in their target audience and desire to appeal to two different emotions. Retail brands love to play on emotions in sensory marketing. McDonald’s is not going to use the same sensory marketing as Tiffany & Co because they are two different products with two different uses. However, both can utilize sensory marketing in person and online. 

sensory marketing

Digital Sense Appeal Advertising

The digital world is full of opportunities to be creative with your platform! Most aspects of sensory marketing can be applied online as well as in-person. Visual sensory through video links and pop-ups are great. Be sure to incorporate colors and fonts that represent the feel of your brand. If you want a customer to feel empowered, using colors like black, white, and red is always great. Use sensory marketing that supports your company values. For example, on the contrary, using bright colors like green and yellow are fresh and happy emoting colors.

Sensory sound in digital marketing can also be very creative with page-turning sounds. There are so many ways to incorporate aspects onto your platform that make a customer feel a certain way, whether that’s playful, elegant, or empowered. 

Using Sensory Marketing

Overall, the sensory factors of taste and touch play the most important role in convincing a consumer to buy your product, while senses like smell, sound, and visuals create an ambiance for the customer. This is the exact reason why customers love their local coffee shop over Starbucks on occasion! This is what keeps customers coming back and spreading good words about your brand! 


  • What is sensory marketing?
  • How can you appeal to smell in marketing?
  • What are some brands that have used sensory marketing?
  • How can you appeal to touch in marketing?
  • Can sensory marketing be used by e-commerce businesses?

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