What Neuromarketing Shows About Our Brains on Print

Yesterday I shared a post on “The Print Effect,” based on neuromarketing studies that quantify print’s engaging effects.  Today, neuromarketing is again on our radar, this time via the USPS.

“Today, no brand can dispute the power of the digital world, but what about physical advertisements like direct mail and print ads? What gives them their edge?” asks an article in the USPS Delivers blog.

The article, titled “Why Direct Mail is More Memorable,” reports on research from a partnership between the USPS and the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

“At the heart of this study lies neuromarketing,” the article notes. “Working with Temple University, the USPS used neuromarketing tactics to explore how consumers processed and engaged with physical and digital advertisements, both consciously and subconsciously.”

The results back up previous work in the field that demonstrates that print resonates more deeply in the human brain. This study broke down several key factors to find the more effective ad format, per the chart below:


Source: USPS

As you can see, digital is good at gaining attention, and both print and digital are good at engagement, accurate recall, and purchase willingness. Print exceeds digital in several key factors including emotional reaction, memory speed, desirability and assigning product value.

What does this mean for marketers and advertisers?

“Stakeholders should use these digital ads when looking to gain attention and quickly deliver their message. However, print materials like direct mail, billboards and magazine ads have a more pronounced emotional effect on consumers,” the article continues.

To leverage the power of all your channels, a thoughtful multi-channel approach is the way to go. And be aware that print’s role in that marketing mix continues to evolve. To truly engage your audience at the emotional level, make sure print is well-represented in your overall marketing mix.