How advertising can hit home

Multi-sensory How advertising can hit home

Published on 26.08.2021 by Andreas Lang, Head of Sales, Media and Advertising in Swiss Post’s Logistics Services unit

Investing tons in advertising and failing to make a mark − that’s the major risk in marketing today, and a multi-sensory approach can help avoid it. If you make your advertising appeal to more than one sense, you can find just the right mix to really snowball its impact.

The nose is our most sensitive sensory organ. It triggers many different emotions as it’s directly linked to the part of our brain responsible for our feelings. By the seventh month of pregnancy, an embryo’s sense of smell is already fully formed. It can literally smell its mother. During our lives, we constantly register different smells. If we experience them again, they instantly remind us of the associated experiences.

Despite these fascinating mechanisms, the sense of smell is still largely neglected in advertising. Most advertising focuses on sight and, with the boom in audio and video, on hearing. But for advertising to stand out, it needs more than that. The magic word is multi-sensory.

The marketing research institute Millward Brown proved this back in the 2000s with a groundbreaking study. If test subjects could only recall one sensory impression from a campaign, their brand loyalty stayed under 30%. If they registered four or five, their loyalty shot up to almost 60%.

Such dream figures can only be achieved via an orchestrated media mix of physical and digital channels − targeted, of course, towards specific goals, groups and messages. This cross-media communication combines the advantages of each channel. And target groups can switch between them at will.

A flyer in the letter box in the morning, a digital poster as a reminder on the way to work, a private e-mail during a coffee break... this sort of interplay can work wonders, as it gives a company presence wherever its customers are. At the same time, tracking and automation now mean that adverts can be tailored precisely to their targets.

Physical mailings should always feature in cross-media, multi-sensory communication. They appeal to more senses than any other advertising − add a sample product to eat or drink, and they can even hit all five. Dialogue marketing strikes a chord in branches where each franc spent on advertising has to produce a return, such as among retailers and non-profit organizations.

Even a number of Internet “pure players” are now engaging in dialogue marketing. They’ve realised that physical mailings can result in a better cost-income ratio and a long-term increase in sales and revenue through high-quality customer contacts.

It’s no wonder that dialogue marketing has proven relatively resistant to crises over the past year of Covid. This was confirmed by a study of than 1,000 people by Intervista AG and by the Swiss Advertising Statistics 2020 from WEMF AG für Werbemedienforschung. Their results show that for the first time, direct mail advertising had the highest market share of any advertising type − even ahead of press and TV. Clearly, more and more companies want to send the impact of their advertising soaring.


Due to the current situation, Connecta Bern will again be held as a digital event in 2021. Connecta is renowned for shining a light on the diverse nature of digitization and this year will be no different with content presented across the three formats of Connecta Blog, Connecta TV and Connecta Talk. Find out more here:


Andreas Lang

Andreas Lang is Head of Sales, Media and Advertising in Swiss Post’s Logistics Services unit. He and his team help companies achieve effective and measurable customer communication.

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