In a “neuro-marketing” study, neuroscientists at Temple University, Philadelphia, USA, demonstrated that physical mailings engage more than the digital variety.
The study was conducted on behalf of the United States Postal Service, with a view to helping companies identify strategies in a world of increasingly numerous marketing channels.
Researchers used three methods
The researchers showed a mixture of 40 e-mail distributions and physical postcards to the study participants and used three methods to assess their reactions: Eye-tracking to measure visual attention; fingertip sensors to measure heart rate, breathing, perspiration and emotional response; and MRI scanning to measure cardiac activity.
Physical media showed superior outcomes
In five out of nine categories, physical media showed superior outcomes to digital media; in three categories, identical results were observed, and in one category, digital media emerged on top.
The categories and results were as follows:
- ATTENTION: A customer’s focus, over time, on the key components in the advertisement. Best result: physical.
- TIME: The period of time that the customer spends on the advertisement. Best result: physical.
- ENGAGEMENT: The volume of information that the customer processes and takes in from the advertisement. Best result: physical and digital.
- STIMULATION: An emotional reaction to an advertisement. Best result: physical.
- RECOLLECTION, ACCURATE: Correct recollection of the message and the originator in the advertisement. Best result: physical and digital.
- RECOLLECTION, SPEED AND CONFIDENCE: The ability, quickly and with confidence, to recall the message and the originator of an advertisement. Best result: physical.
- BUY AND BE WILLING TO PAY: Whether the customer is willing to pay for a product, and how much the customer is prepared to pay. Best result: physical and digital.
- DESIRE: A subconscious desire for the product or service. Best result: physical.
- VALUE: The subconscious value that the customer attributes to the product or service. Best result: physical.
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