Once Again Marketers Get a Whiff of Scent Marketing

What’s That Smell? (Exhibitor Magazine)

Scent in MarketingOne area of promotion that tends to be underutilized, if not unappreciated, is scent marketing.  The use of olfactory elements for marketing products has been a mainstay in certain industries (e.g., baked goods, fragrances) but has been slow to expand as a marketing tool in other areas.

At one point scent marketing seemed to have a bright future.  In fact, in the late 1990s a few Internet start-up companies, including DigiScent, envisioned delivering olfactory elements (i.e., scent) over the Internet.  But these ideas dead horribly during the turn-of-the-century Internet implosion and little has happened since.

But this story shows scent marketing is still something that could work.  While the context discussed here is its use in trade show marketing, the concepts are applicable across many industries.  In particular, the discussion of the four scent strategies in this story is worth reading.

While marketers in general and trade show exhibitors in particular have typically lavished much more attention and money on sight and sound in their promotional mix, science suggests that scent marketing has far more potential: Vision and taste have three and five receptor genes, respectively, in our DNA, while smell has 350 odor-receptor genes, suggesting that nature designed us to be not only more receptive to scent but be more affected by it as well.

Is this just another false start or is scent marketing really poised to take off this time?


Image by erix!