Neuroscience and Direct Mail: 4 Reasons Your Brain Responds to Print Over Digital

by | May 28, 2019 | Commercial, Content, News, SmarterPrint

It’s a scientific fact that our brains are wired to respond positively to direct mail. Unlike digital ads, mail taps into a neurological process that is designed to trigger an action, meaning direct mail is more effective at driving a specific behavior. While this may sound too good to be true, Canada Post recently published a study about mail’s effect on the human brain and the results are very convincing.

Their study revealed that direct mail is biologically a better fit for the human brain based on four findings; direct mail is easier to understand and thus more memorable, it’s processed quicker than digital, it’s more persuasive, and it’s more likely to drive behavior or action.

The first of these findings, direct mail’s ability to be easily understood and remembered, is the first winning component. Canada Post’s study found that it took readers 21% less effort to read a direct mail piece than it did digital media. While this may seem insignificant, the impact of this is huge. Good marketing should be easy to access and digest, so removing any amount of work on the consumer is a recipe for success. In addition to that, the harder it is to understand an ad, the less likely a consumer will remember it. Data from the study revealed that consumers are 70% more likely to remember a brand name when exposed to a direct mail piece rather than a digital ad, which is exactly the results marketers are looking for!

In addition to its ease of being understood, direct mail was found to be understood by consumers quicker than their understanding of digital media. In marketing, time is everything and the sooner a consumer can understand your message, the better your odds become at drawing them in. In the case of direct mail, it was found that it provided the crucial pieces of advertising more quickly than a digital ad. Consumers looking at both digital and direct mail were able to retain the price, product, logo, and social context of a direct mail piece in less time than they did with digital ads.

The next finding, which is that direct mail is more persuasive, is just as convincing. The study found that the consumers’ motivation score in association with direct mail was a full 20% higher over digital media’s score. 20% is a dramatic difference but it grew even higher when the mail piece had additional features, such as scent or other sensory features. Again, these additional aspects helped consumers to remember the brand and ad, making them more likely to act in the way a marketer wants.

The final finding and the overall result of the study revealed that direct mail was more likely to drive behavior over digital media. This fact is the most important finding of the study because it is the ultimate end goal for any marketing effort. Direct mail achieved an impressive motivation-to-cognitive load ratio of 1.31 whereas digital media scored a ratio of just 0.87. This motivation score is the key to marketing success and with such a stark difference, direct mail is the obvious winner.

While most of us already know direct mail is such a sure-fire way to achieve results, Canada Post’s study backs those thoughts with science. It’s hard to argue with neuroscience, but it’s even more difficult when it is confirmed with undeniable results. If you’re looking to increase your sales, direct mail is your best bet, and nobody knows the power of direct mail like TAG does! Reach out to a TAG direct mail expert and begin your scientifically proven marketing campaign today!

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