Shake Up Your Marketing with Haptics

Think about the many ways we gather information as we move through our lives. We read road signs while driving around town, for example. Some of us enjoy the smell and taste of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. We listen to podcasts, our kids’ piano recitals, and conversations among friends.

We also touch the world around us. Marketers have long tapped into our responses to information obtained through the other senses (think product jingles in television ads and perfume-scented cards tucked into magazines), but only recently have they begun to include communication through touch, also known as haptics, in their efforts.

The recent burgeoning interest in haptics comes as no surprise. After all, touch is an extraordinarily effective medium for communicating a message. Consider these examples of touch in everyday life:

—Shaking hands with a job candidate

—Hugging a child who scraped her knee and needs comfort

—Feeling a cell phone vibrate to notify the user that a call, text, or e-mail has just been received

In each of those cases, touch elicits an emotional response. Have you ever estimated a person’s confidence level by his or her handshake? Or, as a result of the vibration, felt anticipation (or anxiety) about the as-yet-unknown contents of an incoming e-mail? That emotional component strengthens the impact of the communication experience.

Marketing efforts are increasingly using haptics to reach out to and connect with their targets. Sure, there are plenty of other ways to get attention, particularly in the digital era. E-mail, social media, and websites are some of the mainstays in today’s marketing toolkits. They can certainly get someone to take notice—but only if they manage to distinguish themselves from the dozens (or hundreds or even thousands) of similar communications that an individual might encounter each day. Digital marketing is a crowded field, and it takes only a fraction of a second for someone to hit the delete key or browse to a new page.

One great way to stand out from the crowd is to maximize haptics in your marketing. By avoiding the limitations of a screen and connecting with your audience via touch, your messaging can make emotional and psychological connections that are particularly difficult to achieve amid the sensory overload of the many visual and audio communications that bombard people today.

How can you incorporate haptics into your marketing efforts? The possibilities are nearly endless! Once you start to notice just how much touch communication figures into your everyday life, you’ll start seeing it everywhere. Ever run your fingers across embossed words and images in a printed ad? That’s haptic marketing. Or maybe someone’s recently handed you one of those super-thick business cards that are all the rage these days. That’s haptic marketing too.

At Mamu Media, we’re big fans of using print magazines as a haptic marketing tool. We’ve written before about the many advantages print has vis-a-vis digital where audience engagement is concerned. The very tangibility of print (a rarity in a world in which so much content is delivered digitally) makes it stand out in marketing efforts. And because print content tends to stick longer and better in people’s minds than digital content, it has the potential to be incredibly effective.

In marketing, engagement is critical to effective messaging. If your target isn’t paying attention to the message, you might as well be shouting it into a void. If you’re going to put your time and money into marketing, then make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck!


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