Strategic Use of Scent Marketing

In the week following Valentine’s Day, I would like you to draw upon your experiences shopping for Valentine’s Day. If you went shopping at the mall, you may have been influenced by “scent marketing.”


In her article “The Science of Scent Marketing,” Leanna Serras discusses how retailers and organizations use scent marketing as a customer acquisition tool and to increase worker productivity.  However, to understand the pathway of scent marketing – Ms. Serras suggests, “Smell is the strongest of our senses and is directly linked to the parts of the brain that control memory and emotion. For this reason, scents can influence involuntary reactions and opinions.”


She quotes a Brown University study which indicated that smell could be more powerful in evoking memory and emotion than even sight. Drawing on consumer psychology literature, scents (in our environment) as marketing stimuli are processed incidentally and hence more potent in inducing the customer to perform the desired behavior as compared to other sensory stimuli. 


Companies use four types of scent marketing: aroma billboard, thematic, ambient smells, and signature scents. For more on why and how retailers use scent marketing and why scent marketing can also trigger negative memories, please read the article at


Thanks to Karli Jaineke at for drawing our attention to this article.


This entry was posted in Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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