Engaging the Senses to Affect Perception, Judgment and Behavior

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Abstract
I define “sensory marketing” as “marketing that engages the consumers’ senses and affects their perception, judgment and behavior.” From a managerial perspective, sensory marketing can be used to create subconscious triggers that characterize consumer perceptions of abstract notions of the product (e.g., its sophistication or quality). Given the gamut of explicit marketing appeals made to consumers every day, subconscious triggers which appeal to the basic senses may be a more efficient way to engage consumers. Also, these sensory triggers may result in consumers’ self-generation of (desirable) brand attributes, rather than those verbally provided by the advertiser. The understanding of these sensory triggers implies an understanding of sensation and perception as it applies to consumer behavior—this is the research perspective of sensory marketing. This review article presents an overview of research on sensory perception. The review also points out areas where little research has been done, so that each additional paper has a greater chance of making a bigger difference and sparking further research. It is quite apparent from the review that there still remains tremendous need for research within the domain of sensory marketing—research that can be very impactful.