Sensory marketing: definition, examples & typologies

We are all familiar with the sensation of being thrown back in time when the perfume once used by our mother hits our olfactory receptors. Or the irreplaceable tactile experience of running our hands through clothes in a store. In the business world, the suggestion of the five senses belongs to sensory marketing.

Sensory marketing: what it is and why it matters

In a world where “virtual” has apparently become the keyword in every aspect of our lives, a simple yet revolutionary truth has clearly emerged: marketing doesn’t have to be digital to be effective. And that is the most important lesson of sensory marketing, a hybrid approach aimed at winning the consumer’s attention and trust by stimulating all of five senses: not only sight and hearing, but also touch, taste and especially smell.

How does sensory marketing work?

Companies are focusing more and more on customer satisfaction to achieve successful commercial operations. Sensory marketing is the most immediate way to put customers at ease while fulfilling their needs.


Despite being a leading company in the digital technology field, Apple refuses to sell his products exclusively online. The in-store experience is highly immersive: the white color prevails, conveying the same sense of cleanliness and freshness as the website, while all the devices can be touched and experienced firsthand.


Starbucks cafeterias are more than just a place to drink coffee – they are hubs of creativity, designed to provide a complete sensory experience. The aromas of the iconic coffee flavors are matched with background music which is kept consistent in every store.

Dunkin’ Donuts

In a sensory marketing strategy created within Seoul, the multinational coffee and doughnut company made sure that commuters on buses perceived the smell of coffee everytime a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial was played on the radio. Brand sales increased by almost 30%.

The five senses of sensory marketing

Sensory marketing applies to all five senses, although some types embrace every kind of businesses whereas others are more sector-specific.

Visual marketing

Visual marketing is the most traditional type of sensory marketing. It’s the use of pictures, videos and other kinds of visual arrangements to reinforce brand identity and communicate more directly with customers. A picture is worth a thousand words: the human minds processes images 60 thousand times faster than words.

Sound marketing

In the era of voice assistants, podcasts and Clubhouse, the audio dimension of experience is increasingly gaining importance. Not only jingles: the right background music to the consumer experience can have a groundbreaking impact.

Tactile marketing

Tactile marketing involves not only the touch & feel of a specific product, but also the whole in-store physical experience. 75% of consumers say that they’d prefer to “feel” a product before they buy it: on a subconscious level, every purchase is influenced by texture, shape, weight and even temperature.

Taste marketing

Although fairly limited to the Food & Beverage field, taste marketing is based on a scientific fact: the average person has over 10,000 taste buds, that make taste an integrated experience also made of scent, suggestion and memory. Sampling, dinner events, signature drinks, chocolate swag: the campaign formats are potentially endless.

Olfactory marketing

The limbic system in the brain that is responsible for processing smells is also in control of our memories and emotions: scent can not only bring a memory to life, but also, on a practical level, attract more people into a store and make them spend more money.

Olfactory branding by Scent Company

Among all the senses, smell triggers the most instinctive reactions and creates the longest lasting connections. Scent Company, leading company in the olfactory branding field, creates tailored emotional identities for companies and events, which can directly reach their clients’ hearts. Signature scents are the result of countless fragrance combinations and are designed to reinforce brand identity through a real sensory imprinting.

Scent Company ambient fragrances are designed by Italian and French perfume artisans and professionals. They communicate the company’s identity and personality in an immediate way, while immersing the client in a relaxing, stimulating or energizing environment.

Scent Company guides brands in a process of identity definition and differentiation aimed at reflecting their characteristics and values in a signature scent. And not only that: they also offer integrated solutions which include the best fragrance diffusion systems.

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