Scent Marketing Basics

James WorrellJames Worrell guides us through the Fragrance Marketing Basics.

Remember these techniques are not to be followed completely, and should be used more as a starting guide to aroma marketing.

First of all, different scents will have your customers acting differently, remember to think like your customers, think, what would you like to experience when in a petrol station, supermarket, restaurant?
Would it be Coffee? Food? Snacks or all of the above.

Are you visiting for convenience, you need milk and bread? Flowers for your partner? Or a business trip and you need a break and a coffee? These are just some of the first questions you should be asking yourself when marketing products to your customers.

Imagine if petrol stations could choose which petrol pump you go to, a customer with kids in the car all go to one pump, business men, to the next pump, recreation vehicles to another and so fourth. This would be great, the advertisements on those pumps would be dedicated to the customer base using them, life would be great and simple, no need for other marketing techniques. But its not that simple.

You need to view every visitor to your business as a paying customer, so while you have them at your place of business, you are going to try and get them to see, hear, smell and experience your advertisements and products as best you can.

So aroma marketing can help you and your business get that edge over your competitors. Some businesses only appeal to one or two of the human senses, for example, seeing an offer or a product, this is only one sense. How about hearing an offer over the audio system, play an audio advertisement (if the area/license permits it), this could be two of the senses covered.

But why stop there, what about fragrance, if you put a great smell of food, this could encourage a food or snack purchase, how about coffee, this could encourage a coffee or tea purchase (as well as the possibility of encouraging a bathroom break), the smell of chocolate, maybe this will appeal to the younger people in the group wanting some chocolate or sweets (or candy). Also, the aroma of freshness, maybe a pine smell in the bathrooms could give the appearance of cleanliness in your establishment, this could then go one to encourage a family to dine in the restaurant or service area.

Keep it Simple

This is one of the key factors that we start with when companies come to us looking for a scent marketing solutions, your customers don't want to be bombarded with noise, visual stimulants and different complex fragrances as soon as they enter your business. They want a smooth ride, so give it to them, simple orange smells, can encourage people to stick around longer, take more time in your shop or business, or just feel more relaxed. It can also make the goods you are selling appear fresher. Studies have been conducted that showed people who were in environments that were scented with a simple fresh orange fragrance would spend 20 percent more than other customers that were exposed to more complex fragrances.


By creating your own brand fragrance that customers recognise whenever they enter your stores, shops or businesses will trigger memories of previous visits to your business, so providing they enjoy visiting you or have good experiences, they will be reminded of this whenever they smell your custom fragrance. These feelings are not only experienced when they are in your place of business. For example, if you go to a hotel chain, they will quite often have a signature fragrance in their reception area, hotels are often associated to holidays and good times, so it has been noticed that if a similar fragrance is smelt, even outside of your hotel, this can trigger good time memories with your customers.

This can also be followed up with promotional materials being sent to your hotel guests home address with the same fragrance on the stationary (or gift) that can also trigger these good memories and could encourage returning customers.

Don't Go!

Going on from the previous point of good times and fragrance association, this can also be used for branding and fragrance association. A nice smelling fragrance draws people in. This can be a nice perfume or aftershave, a bath additive, shower gel, deodorant or any kind of cosmetic. When I was younger I use to wear the same deodorant and aftershave, when I smell them now, I am instantly transported back in time for a second to when I was around 16 years old. These fragrance manufacturers know what they are doing and that's why fragrances work so well in company branding.

Car companies know that you maybe not be as keen to buy a new car from them if the smell of the car when it was being test driven wasn't of a nice new car smell consisting of leather, adhesives, new fabrics and freshness.

Do you smell that?

Customers shouldn't be leaving your business saying “Do you smell that?” if they do, then you could of overpowered their senses and they could leave, never to return. Smells can be too overpowering, this is almost as bad as playing music too loudly in your business, it puts people off (and hurries them up). This is not always a good thing. Some clothing shops will bombard their customers with loud music, darkness, strong fragrances to hurry them up into buying products without giving it too much thought, this may work for some businesses, but not all.

A subtle fragrance in different zones in your business or shop is key, the bathrooms in your business should look and smell clean, the restaurant should be smelling like fresh, inviting food, the children's area could smell of chocolate to entice the younger crowds in, the café could smell of freshly ground coffee, a supermarket should smell of fresh produce, wooden furniture or DIY shops could smell of freshly sawn wood, carpet shops could have the smell of fresh material and rubber, linen shops could smell like freshly laundered washing, hotel receptions should smell light an airy, bars could smell of beers?

There are so many different fragrances and working out what works best for you is trial and error, but once you have mastered it, you are opening yourself up to a new world of cheap affordable marketing.


With there being so many variables in what influences customers and converting them to a paying customer, you have to cover as many bases as possible. Do the visual, do the audio and do the scent as well. With our partners, we can provide the complete solution, worldwide.

I am also interested in broadening my knowledge in this field of aroma marketing so contact me if you would like tns to work with you or your company on your next Aroma Marketing project.

Contact me today to discuss your Digital Signage or Fragrance Marketing strategy.