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Marketing to the five human senses is (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) is the best way to make consumers remember your brand. The strategy of engaging these senses to promote products and services is known as sensory marketing. Multi-sensory experiences establish an emotional connection and influence a consumer’s perception of a brand. Whether it’s the smell of a new car or the radio jingle that’s stuck in your head all day, the science of sensory marketing works.

Think about the advertisements you see on a normal day. It is estimated that the average consumer sees 6,000–10,000 ads every single day. That sounds too crazy to be true, but take a moment to stop and think about every ad you could (and do) encounter on a daily basis. You will pass billboards on your way to work, and depending on your commute, you might even see window clings or posters advertising sales. When scrolling through social media, you will see a plethora of Facebook and Google ads. Not to mention every business page you follow, who is sharing their daily post of new products, discount prices or business services. Your emails (personal and work) are flooded daily with business promotions and offers. Whether you prefer to watch cable TV or Hulu, you will see commercials. You will also hear ads between songs on the radio or your latest podcast. When you take all of these different marketing channels into account, suddenly 6,000-10,000 ads a day doesn’t seem that unrealistic.

The only way to cut through all this noise is to utilize sensory marketing. The more senses that are utilized, the better chance you have that your consumers will remember the ad. So, how can you create an advertising piece that will engage the most senses?

Currently, print marketing is the only advertising channel that allows businesses to reach all 5 of the human senses. Consumers can’t touch TV ads or see radio ads. While they can hear and see online ads, they can’t feel or smell your product. They definitely can’t taste your product on any of these marketing channels. Multi-sensory marketing paired with print advertising allows brands to project more personality and connect in such a way that consumers cherish and remember them.


Taste probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of how you interact with ads. Although taste isn’t used as often as the other senses, it can still have powerful results. In 2013, a Fanta campaign was released that allowed consumers to tear off a piece of the page and eat it! The ad described the flavor of Fanta and then encouraged readers to eat the advertisement in order to be treated to an orange-tasting treat. This encouraged people to seek out the ad, as it was very unique and helped to create conversations online about the sensory ad.

Food companies and restaurants can benefit the most by creating ads people can taste. Even if the taste itself is not the best, it will still get people talking about your brand. You could use this to launch a new product, raise awareness for a current product, or just pick your favorite thing you sell and try to re-create the taste for people at home. Modifying your paper to be edible isn’t the only way you can incorporate taste. You can include free samples of your products in direct mail pieces. If you don’t sell anything edible, you can still leave a lasting impact by mailing small chocolates, tea, coffee, or another treat for the recipient to enjoy. The more they can associate with your ad, the better.


Think about how you listen to music and how much you enjoy it. Certain songs can evoke certain feelings in you – sadness, excitement, relaxation, and a wide range of other emotions. With the right sensory promotional products, you can use sound and music to conjure good feelings with whoever is opening your mail piece. You can pick a song or theme that makes you feel good when you listen to it, and then others will get that same feeling and associate it with your ad. It will create a lasting memory and now your brand will be thought of whenever that song or something that sounds similar is played. It doesn’t just have to be a sound – you can record a message for the recipient so that they can hear a trusted voice rather than just read what is on the paper. Or you can include fun sound effects to make the ad stand out and help get your point across. Sound can be done both physically in the piece itself or with a QR code that the user can scan on their phone.


Color schemes can set the tone for your piece and tell a story of their own. Different palettes can give varying looks and tones to a brand. Color evokes feelings. For example, the color green is connected to the environment, growth, wealth, and health. Blue sparks feelings of harmony, trust, and quality. Looking to build excitement? Red is associated with passion, energy, and action. Color isn’t the only variable when it comes to visuals. Fonts and images also tell a story that elicit specific responses from consumers. Print advertising opens up a world of possibilities for using captivating visuals. The way your piece looks causes a lasting impression without anyone even reading the content. Take time to craft a design that reinforces your message and captures the consumer’s attention. You can also use videos in your direct mail pieces. 84% of consumers say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service after watching a brand’s video. By using a QR code, you can pick any video you want and share it via your direct mail piece. It is a lot easier for a consumer to look at products and services with a video than to look at multiple different pictures.


The sheer time difference between opening a letter in the mail and aimlessly scrolling past digital ads or deleting an email is exponential. Print advertising is tangible. Thick card-stock gives an essence of quality to a brand. From glossy finishes to textured overlays, printed materials have a variety of options. A tactile piece gives companies an edge and a sense of sophistication that can’t be replicated online. People touch and hold your marketing piece. This is an opportunity to physically connect and say something about your brand.


Walk through any library and catch readers getting a whiff of their book. Scents are always specific and are a direct link to the part of the brain that triggers memories and feelings. While it may seem odd to focus on incorporating scent in your print advertising initiatives, the truth is that it works and yields dividends. Yankee Candle added scratch and sniff to its catalog and sales increased by 18%. Versace uses smell to promote different perfumes and colognes. There are countless examples and studies on the power of olfactory experiences. So, whether it’s mowed grass, leather, or apple pie, consumers not only see and feel your piece, they smell it. If you invest in focusing on this human sense, they’ll remember it. If they remember it, hopefully they’ll buy into it and be a customer for life.

Create Sensory Marketing

As you can see, printed materials are a multi-sensory and effective marketing approach. Combining the 5 senses in your print advertising campaigns will truly create an unforgettable experience for your customer and help you stand out from the competition. Need help designing your next print ad? Our in-house award-winning design team is here to help you see your vision come to life. Appeal to the basic human senses and get your audience talking and buying from your brand. Walker360 is here to help you get started and support you in all your print, design, mail, and marketing needs. Let’s connect.