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Multisensory marketing is the future

News, 02 April 2015

LONDON: Marketers grappling with the intricacies of media mix modelling may also have to consider how best to create the optimum multisensory mix.

According to Gemma Calvert and Dr Abhishek Pathak, of the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight, if you get that right "you can deliver superior experiences for consumers that far outperform any single sensory broadcast alone – providing huge competitive advantage".

Writing in the current issue of Admap, the focus of which is marketing to the senses, they claim that the emphasis on the visual – the average adult is exposed to upwards of 200 visual advertising messages a day – has led to a situation where most people simply ignore much of what is put in front of them.

Coming from a neuroscience background, they suggest that a cursory few milliseconds of processing by consumers' brains is "insufficient for effective encoding".

But the remaining senses of sound, smell, taste and touch have a greater influence on people's perception than they are conscious of, and by creating novel sensory triggers that typically connect with consumers at a subconscious level, "marketers can cut through the morass of explicit (typically visual) advertising messages to provoke more effective positive brand associations in the minds of their consumers".

The authors further submit that such sensory triggers can lead to consumers' generating their own list of desirable brand attributes, rather than those provided explicitly by the advertiser.

While aspects of this are already understood – make packaging 'loud' and crisps will 'taste' crunchier and fresher – it has been difficult to consciously design a successful multisensory integration since much of this takes place at a subconscious level with the individual consumer.

Marketers have experimented with aspects of this, infusing stores with the scent of pine at Christmas to increase sales, or using slow music to increase spending in supermarkets. And many brands have also developed signature tunes to exploit the value of sound space.

Now neuroscience, the authors argue, can help bring a measureable input into the creation of a multisensory marketing approach, while technological advances such as 3D printing and augmented reality, allow for more effective delivery of sensory experiences.

"In future, if brand owners wish to engage consumers at a much deeper emotional level, build loyalty and differentiate themselves from the competition, they will need to embrace the multisensory opportunities now afforded to them," they conclude.

Data sourced from Admap