Multimodal Marketing for SMEs: Five senses for the successful presentation of products and services

When we try on a pair of trousers at a department store we not only pay attention to the color and the fit (visual perception); we also decide whether the fabric feels pleasantly on our skin (tactile and haptic perception). When buying a new car, we are not only looking at the technical data and the design; our judgement is also affected by the smell of the interior, the texture of the seat covers and the feel of its knobs and switches. Last but not least, the sound of its engine and doors influences our sense of quality valuation as well as the sensation of speeding up or slowing down (kinesthetic perception).


Even though the products are quite cheap high return rates of internet shops show the consumers were missing something perhaps the experience of going shopping. However, the products of small and middle enterprises (e.g., arts and crafts or luxury goods) often are more expensive. For that reason price-conscious consumers normally perceive the added value only through the direct interaction with these products. Offering a holistic product and shopping experience is a unique selling position especially for manufactories, handicraft businesses and local shops compared to online retailers.

The main research areas of the Department of General Psychology and Methodology at the University of Bamberg are human perception, sensations, thinking and acting. Many of our empirical findings are appreciable for marketing purposes. The concept of “Multimodal Marketing for SMEs” has been developed that local small and middle enterprises (SMEs) can profit from the findings and improve the presentation of their products and services.

Our top priority is to ensure that the transfer of the current state of research in human perception and advertising psychology may take place in a manner that SMEs can use them to present their brands, products and services in a more successful way.

In cooperation with twelve SMEs in Upper and Lower Franconia areas in Bavaria/Germany we develop an online-based range of seminars transferring current research findings and methodical knowledge of human perception to firm-specific needs in the marketing sector. However, an outcome of this project should focus on the use of this knowledge to develop a positive and long-lasting total impression of products and services (e. g., designing showrooms, show windows, stands at a trade fair, etc.).

The project was funded within the funding program “Netzgestützter Wissenstransfer von Hochschulen in Unternehmen” (WiT-HuB) by the European Social Fund in Bavaria (ESF in Bayern), the University of Bamberg and the government of Bavaria (Germany). For further information please take a look at our leaflet.

Contact persons for “Multimodal Marketing”:

  • Prof. Dr. Claus-Christian Carbon (Head of Department)

  • Dipl.-Psych. Stefan Ortlieb

  • Dipl.-Psych. Thorsten Schmittlutz

  • Dr. Dipl.-Psych. Marius Raab (B.Sc.)