When we think of marketing in most cases we have a tactical approach. The attention seems to focus on technology, digital campaigns and social networking. In the daily reality of our work we can verify —with relatively little effort— that true relationships are face-to-face, physical and highly personal. The relationship between companies and consumers is linked to experiences that are multisensory. The obsession with digital platforms is related to the constant priority of e-commerce. The effect of Amazon, eBay and Mercado Libre in the marketing operation has been brutal, the example of these companies forged the idea that marketing should be focused on creating conversions, be measurable and profitable.
Consumers flee digital
The reality is different, we do not choose to buy on an e-commerce site just because of price or advertising. We know that the main trigger for a purchase is the trust and perception we have of a brand. If this were not true, consumers would only buy from the cheapest site, but this is not the case. The multisensory value of the brand is crucial when it comes to giving confidence to the final consumer. A brand rarely triggers strategies at the tactile, auditory and olfactory level. In the point of sale the smell of the store is crucial, the texture of the fabric on a shirt or the volume of music in a restaurant. In all these examples it is sensory stimuli that make the difference.
It’s amazing that we’re still stuck in transactional marketing. We must dedicate more time to relationships that generate a higher level of sensory interaction. Physical products and spaces are an obvious example, but let’s think about physical media like magazines. I still remember the first Esquire magazine I bought, at that time it was customary to put up perfume samples, the result was an experience I won’t forget. The same happens with the ink of the books. This goes beyond print, I’m talking about multisensory integration in our product and service offerings. Few companies understand this as well as Mastercard.
Two visions of marketing
Marketing has moved in two extremes, on the one hand the performance advertising and in the opposite the happenings. In neither case are we creating long-term multisensory relationships. even the influencer marketing limited to recommendations. How do we get consumers to live our brand? The answer is complicated, but it starts with personal contact, that’s clear.
The mobile phone is a huge attention magnet and the best content device ever invented; however, it failed to create unique relationships with consumers. The only winner of mobile phones – at a sensory level – is the manufacturer of the device, and that is questionable. We shouldn’t confuse the time a consumer spends on their phone with a true long-term relationship. The time on the mobile is not necessarily positive, how many of us end the day tired of our screens? A sign that mobile phones are not the way to go is mothers who actively discourage their children from using phones too much.
The metaverse tries to resolve the merger between technology and experience. It will not happen in the current incarnation. The future of that technology would have to go through the physical world, only extended reality could achieve the goal. The future is the superimposition of the digital world on the physical world.
There is work to be done to create multisensory relationships between consumers and brands. But with the right motivation it can be done.