Why are Sensory Insights so Important?

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These days companies are getting more engaged in the conversations about Sensory Insights. However, in majority of cases, Sensory Insights continue to be strongly disconnected from other Consumer and Market Insights topics and work in a vast majority of companies. As a result, Sensory Insights is still something that is primarily happening in the Product Development departments.

Are Sensory Insights only about smell and taste which importance can be clearly understood by food and perfumery experts?

Actually, Sensory Insights should go much further. Even classical Consumer Behavior literature underlines importance of implementation of the Sensory Insights across the whole Marketing Mix.

Why am I talking about the Marketing Mix? The reason is very simple, if we consider the basic psychological underline mechanisms of consumer behavior, we’ll easily find out that perception is one of them.

Perception is determined in academic literature as “a process that enables people to select, organize and interpret information” (Solomon et al, 2010).

The model below shows the overall connection between sensory stimuli and consumers perception (Solomon et al, 2010).


That means that Sensory Insights enable marketers to identify the most suitable color of food or drugs, or create the most suitable smell for clothes, cars, stores, household products and also advertising.

Then Sensory Marketing will become attributed to multidimensional perception across the whole branding strategy rather than only product development. Incorporating Sensory Insights in the whole Marketing Mix, marketers are able to determine the most suitable communication tools, the way the product is bought, how it’s delivered and packaged.

In my experience, talking about product packaging, both marketing and product teams are primary thinking about the communication message, mandatory product information to be presented and its functionality.

Thus, for instance, the picture below shows two cases with business cards – quite B2B kind of product. However, even from the picture you can see that developing a case on the left hand side marketers paid a lot of attention to sensory experience – creating different textures – smooth ribbon, exserted letters on a stamp and rough paper of the box. Creating a box on the right hand side marketers didn’t think about any sensory experience – it’s just a plastic box.


So, correctly developed touch experience both in terms of the product and its package, enhances perception of the product quality and leads to emotional connection with a brand.

Smell associated with a product, communication materials or a place of purchase can stir emotions and lead to feelings that we wish to be attributed with our product or service. Sounds can drive a step-change in brand awareness and empower different brand attributes. 

Doesn’t it sound like a mix that you wish to achieve? Therefore, on top of creation of the usual Marketing Mix, incorporate sensorial marketing aspects across all its dimensions. It brings additional powerful tools that will work towards overall brand and product perception. Build a strategy on combination of different sensory aspects with the Marketing Mix, which will allow you to boost brand loyalty and consumers satisfaction with a product.

Source: Solomon,M., Bamossy,G., Askegaard, S., Hogg, M.K. (2006). Consumer Behavior. A European Perspective. 3rd ed. Madrid: Pearson Education Limited, pp. 35-61

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