What is Visual Marketing? - Definition & Concept

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Want to appeal to your consumers in a more lasting way? Let's get visual! In this lesson, we'll define visual marketing and take a closer look at the idea behind how people respond better to visuals than regular text alone.

Painting a Picture

Quick! Which one of these concepts is likely to stick with you longer?

a. A company that tells you it sources only the freshest ingredients for its teas


b. A company that tells you the same thing, accompanied by this photo:

Visual marketing goes beyond simply telling to showing.
visual marketing

Not only are you more likely to have chosen selection b, but also the messaging behind the photo is likely to stick with you longer and be more memorable when you're recalling that brand.

There's a reason that posts on social media that contain photos generate more engagement than posts without. In fact, human beings are so drawn to photos that we've created numerous apps that use photos as their backbone, including Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Marketers are catching on to this photo — as well as graphics and video — phenomenon, which is known across the industry as visual marketing.

What is Visual Marketing?

Visual marketing is about connecting marketing messages to images, whether they are photos, graphics, infographics, videos, logos, signs, and more. Visual marketing is about making an object, rather than exclusively text, the center of your message. Why? Because human beings respond best to nonverbal (without words) communication. Albert Mehrabian, a professor and psychologist, has made studying nonverbal communication his life work. He estimates that more than 90 percent of all communication is nonverbal; so why wouldn't marketers incorporate this into their marketing strategies?

Why Visual Marketing is Important

Just like on social media, where visuals create more interesting and engaging posts, visual marketing can generate more engagement, or communication between a brand and its consumers. In marketing, you don't want someone simply to notice your ad, but rather to engage with it in some way, whether it's by clicking on a post, downloading an offer, or making a purchase.

Psychologists believe that visual elements help us remember and retain more details, while attracting more attention to something and zeroing in on a consumer's emotions or memories. Visuals create more powerful campaigns that excite our brains and get us thinking. They help us attach something tangible to a brand or product, rather than just a string of black and white text we're likely to forget moments after we read it.

For example, in this lesson, are you more likely to remember me saying that primates love carrots or this cute photo of a primate chomping down on one? Most likely, the latter.

Primates do love carrots.
visual marketing

Visual marketing is growing in importance thanks, in part, to advances in technology. We hold phones and tablets with increasingly sophisticated graphics capabilities in our hands while waiting on the subway, and at home, we frequently choose televisions and computer monitors based on their large size and clear pictures or displays. We are clearly a culture of visually motivated people.

Let's take a look at some of the elements of visual marketing that can make a significant impact on an advertising or marketing campaign.

Visual Marketing Components

So, you may be wondering: What types of visual constitute a ''visual'' in visual marketing? Good question. We've covered the idea of photos in our examples, so let's look at a few other tools at your disposal:

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