Featured, Scent Marketing

How about the Return on Investment?

Written by Jennifer Dublino, on June 8th, 2010

This is the most frequently asked but almost never answered question in the world of Scent Marketing. And we don’t have the answer either. At least not yet.

Bu then who has? It’s not that Scent Marketing is that novel a concept. What does it do for  Singapore Airlines, for   Samsung, for Thomas Pink? And that’s only naming the best-known, openly scent-marketing brands. By simply “being there” it certainly creates brand recognition but how does that translate into actual sales?

Let me say this: nobody knows because nobody tells. In our industry non-disclosure agreements are commonplace, the more pages the better. No brand wants to talk about how well it works for them to not lead the competition down the right path. The participating suppliers are gag-ordered and can’t potentially use these data for their own sales efforts.

We need the Nielsen of Scent Marketing. Nielsen Media Research determines the audience size and composition of television programming (among other countries) in the United States. It’s founder  Arthur Nielsen was a market analyst whose career had begun in the 1920s with brand advertising analysis and expanded into radio market analysis during the 1930s, culminating in Nielsen ratings of radio programming, which was meant to provide statistics as to the markets of radio shows. In 1950, Nielsen moved to television, developing a ratings system using the methods he and his company had developed for radio. That method has since become the primary source of audience measurement information in the television industry around the world.

So when can we expect a similar tool for Scent Marketing? I wouldn’t hold my breath. Our industry and its customers are their own worst enemy. Take SCENTworld, our annual Scent Marketing conference — with an expo to go along. Our efforts to serve the multiple Scent Marketing stakeholders (see our previous blog) frequently culminate in asking potential attendees “what do you want to hear and see at the conference?” The majority answer is “case studies” and “new technologies”, the “Return on Investment”. So when the return question is “Well, is there anything you’d like to share?” we hear “I am not giving away precious information to my competitors so they can use it against me. I will also not point my clients towards SCENTworld because I don’t want them to meet my competition.”

Here’s news for you. You can’t have it all! It’s “show me yours’ and I show you mine”. If you don’t, you leave yourself, your company and its strategies open to suggestions, perceptions and speculations that in the end will work against you.

We will continue our grass-roots efforts of providing substantiated analysis of all Scent Marketing currently in effect. The media are hungry to report about it, so are we. It’s better to feed us with facts than with anecdotes.

And, please, get rid of the mention of Dr. Hirsch’s research (too many to link to…) on how scent improves the revenue from slot machines. Or are you telling us you don’t have anything new?

28 Comments so far

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