Using All Five Senses in Direct Mail Pieces

Did you realize that on a daily basis, the average consumer is hit by a barrage of over 3,000 different advertisements and messages? You probably don’t notice even a fraction of these consciously, and this is because your brain has built up subconscious barriers to keep itself from this kind of constant distraction. At Sun Print Solutions, our various printing services all include pros who keep an eye toward this same theme when it comes to your direct mail and other important pieces of paper advertising. We’ll help you find new ways to stay fresh and unique, ensuring prospective customers don’t just throw your pieces right in the trash. One major area here that many of your competitors won’t be investigating at all: Involving all five senses in the direct mail process. Let’s go over why this is a good idea, plus some practical themes you can consider if you’re thinking about applying this to your business advertising.

Senses and Memory

Each of the five bodily senses has a distinct connection with memory, starting with smell. Virtually every person on earth has smelled something that took them back to a previous part of their life, whether it was fresh-mowed grass, some kind of food or anything else. This same thing can happen with our other senses as well, which will often take us back to previous experiences and evoke emotions. When it comes to direct mail and advertising, you can look to promote this same theme. If you can identify the kinds of senses that lead to conjuring of happy memories and images for lots of people, you’ll already be well down the path of avoiding the mental blocks that cause many consumers to simply discard your mail without a second glance. From here, let’s look at each of the senses and some themes for including them in your direct mail pieces.


As we noted above, scents are the most powerful sense in terms of evoking memories and emotions in people. The research here shows that this connection can be incredibly powerful even for light scents. For direct mail pieces, capitalize on this idea regularly. Use scented inks, paper and even envelopes wherever it’s financially feasible. Consider scratch-and-sniff additions inside your pieces, often attached to a giveaway of some kind. Also, depending on your products and brand, consider sending scented samples of soap, lotion or perfume along with direct mail pieces.


While not as strong as scent, our sense of touch can also dictate a number of emotions. There are tons of direct mail options when it comes to touch, from textured or seed paper to embossing, interactive options and even items glued to your mailers.


Sight is the sense we’re primarily getting at with most advertising pieces. It’s bolstered by strong branding and headlines, stand-out colors, noticeable fonts, and strong imagery that draws the interest of people viewing it.


If you want to really utilize all the senses, consider attaching taste strips or similar items to your mailers. There are few tactics more unique.


Some companies also have success attaching audio to their mailers, similar to greeting cards that play a little jingle when opened. For more on using all five senses to bolster your direct mail pieces, or for information on any of our digital printing solutions, speak to the pros at Sun Print Solutions today.

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