Why is social media so popular? How could Amazon have known this was the right book for me or Netflix predict that that documentary would be totally enrapturing? Interactive marketing has defined an entirely different approach to how we reach our consumers and it has everything to do with stimulating the response system in our brains.
As a society whose scent, sight and auditory systems are bombarded daily with every effort to catch our attention, it makes it extremely hard for marketers to tap into the art of standing out. We’ve been trying to penetrate into the emotional response system for decades and have been fairly successful; however, this is a process that, much like the art of business, must be fine tuned often. Humanity’s over-all success has pivoted on its sudden and far-reaching adaptability, making our jobs as marketers a very challenging and creative endeavor.
The brain is much like a computer. Neural encoding is the process in which the brain chooses to respond to only some of the million of stimuli that pass our sensory systems per second. Our brain has evolved to only take a certain percentage of stimuli (minute compared to the amount thrust at us), then compose models to better predict the next situation. The red flash of color may catch our eyes, but the feels and fragrances that sinks into our core will catch our imagination and directly influences the decision to interact or ignore.
But how do we get across the haze of stimuli and get through to people on a personal level? How do we engage a society that walks around with their ears attached to headphones and eyes attached to the ground they’re rushing by? Companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook have paved the roads for personalizing your experience. They have created computer models designed to dissect YOU, your likes, and dislikes, buying patterns and thought trends. Similar strategies are extending beyond the on-line world into the physical world and are included now in digital billboards, displays, kiosks, brand driven events and productions. But most of these experiences are only tapping into sights and sounds whereas extending beyond – to touch and scent – may help us break through the noise.
Senses help define our perspective. They establish familiar settings and make us feel those extremely enduring sensory-based forms of memory. Nostalgia, to be understood as the sentimental longing for a place or idea from the past is one of the most resilient forms of memory. And scent, a primeval sense, is quite effective in triggering nostalgic feelings. Everyone can instantly remember the fragrance of their parent’s house as a kid and our many childhood hugs are almost always coupled with the residue of our mother’s perfume or our dad’s aftershave.
Touch is also very powerful. Infants define their entire surroundings by shoving all objects within an arm’s length into their mouth, tasting and feeling the different textures. Their frantic grasps to touch any and everything within their reach are their instincts urging them to interact and remember. Even in the beginning stages of cognition, our sensory systems teach us how to hold on to our experiences by becoming fully engaged.
Touch and scent is intimate. It’s energizing. It’s resilient.
This is where interactive marketing comes into the picture and where engaging all of the senses will help break through the noise. You literally have the world at your fingertips when it comes to your next promotion, digital advertisement, production or event. Involving scent and 4D experiences like weather effects is the future and your creativity is the driving force to push your company to the next level. What experience will you create next?