Why Paper Isn’t Dead

In our last blog post, we discussed how to integrate social media with your direct mail marketing campaigns. But why is direct mail important to begin with? It is 2019, after all.


Is your decision based on only the sales revenue, or is a greater value and desire for your products and services and improved brand recognition also important?

In this day and age, most B2C and B2B marketing are conducted online – simply advertising through direct mail will make you stand out. Not convinced? If being unique isn’t enough to win you over, there have been countless studies on the effectiveness of direct mail marketing.  We’re taking a look at two of them below.

Emotional Response

The UK’s Royal Mail wanted to know what the communication differences were between printed and digital-based content. Their interest sparked a collaboration with Millward Brown and the Centre for Experimental Consumer Psychology at Bangor University to investigate the brain’s emotional response to printed and digital direct mail using Neuroscience.

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery (fMRI) researchers found:

  • Tangible materials leave a deeper footprint in the brain.
  • Physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.
  • Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater ‘internalization’ of the ads.
  • Greater emotional processing is facilitated by the physical material than by the virtual: It is better at becoming part of memory – generates more emotion that translates into more positive brand associations.

While not detracting from the virtual or digital advertisements, there does seem to be something special when the participants interacted with paper or physical messages.

Marketing Channels that Drive Actions

The marketing game’s end result is to drive action, but do all channels produce equal results? That’s what Canada Post and leading neuromarketing research and strategy firm, True Impact Marketing, wanted to find out. In the largest study of its kind, researchers studied the impact of physical and digital direct mail marketing on a consumer’s brain by using brain imaging metrics.

During the study, two key factors were used to determine the difference of each marketing channel’s effectiveness: ease of understanding and persuasiveness. Each of these key factors was carefully examined using two brain-imaging methods: Eye Tracking Test and Electroencephalography (EEG).

The results revealed:

  • Direct mail is easier to understand and more memorable than digital media. It takes 21% less thought to process and creates much higher brand recall.
  • Direct mail is far more persuasive than digital media. Its motivation response is 20% higher — and even better if it appeals to senses beyond touch, such as smell and hearing.
  • Direct mail gets the message across faster. Our brains process it quicker than digital media. An important difference in an era when goldfish have longer attention spans than the average human.
  • Direct mail is more likely to drive consumers to act on your message than digital media.


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