Can a Small Business Use Sensory Marketing?

A few years ago, I wrote my Masters dissertation on sensory marketing, and so it was with interest that I read Anne Cassidy’s feature in today’s Guardian about the brands taking this form of marketing forward.

Sensory marketing is a type of marketing which uses the five senses to engage consumers on an emotional level. For example, the use of certain smells can be a powerful tool for the memory and so may allow a potential customer to feel more inclined to use a brand as a result of linking the smell, and so the product, to favourable memories – leading to both sales and brand loyalty.

Some forms of sensory marketing are undertaken to enhance experiences. I have written previously about the sensory additions of scented bubbles and sweets at the 2013 London New Year’s Eve fireworks, a perfect example of this.

It may seem that these activities are only possible for big brands (with big budgets) to use to promote their products or services, but this isn’t the case. Small businesses can use simple sensory tactics to appeal to their customers, such as:

– Smell: Brew good quality coffee in your reception and offer it to visitors. The smell will be inviting, yet business-like. You may also want to consider using atomisers or candles to generate other smells, but be careful not to make them overpowering and potentially off-putting.

– Visual: Consider the look and feel of your premises, including the dominant colours used. Is it appealing or does it put off potential customers?

– Sound: Are there any sounds which will make your business more appealing? This may include music, but also consider sounds which customers may find reassuring to hear, such as the sound of equipment running which may present a busy atmosphere.  Also consider whether any sounds need to be removed (or moved) to make your business more welcoming.

– Touch: Would the provision of tablets to take information make your business seem more professional, or can you increase comfort in seated areas with fabrics and cushions?

– Taste: Is there anything you can offer or include to entice customers by taste?  Cookies for children, chamomile tea at beauty salons, or mints for waiting customers at a garage may all help to endear customers to your business.

All of these methods should be considered in relation to your business. Anything used should be relevant to the product/service you are trying to sell, other it will be confusing to customers and therefore unsuccessful in boosting your business.

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Published by

nicolaoloughlin

Chartered Marketer based in Bedford, UK.

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