Direct Mail is More Effective than Digital Advertising According to Study

(Last Updated On: January 31, 2018)

direct mailWhen it comes to marketing your small business, you have lots of choices.  Online marketing including search engine advertising, display ads and Facebook Ads can also be effective, and email marketing has proven very beneficial for companies with tighter marketing budgets.

When it comes to deciding where to spend your marketing and advertising dollars, it really comes down to which method has the most lasting impact on prospective customers.   And surprisingly, a number of recent studies have found that direct mail performs better than any of the previously mentioned, online marketing methods.

A 2015 study by the United States Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in cooperation with Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision found that the human brain responds in significantly different ways to online and direct mail advertisements.

Temple University researchers used neuromarketing tactics including biometric measurements and eye movement tracking to monitor subjects as they were shown various digital and physical ads.  One week later, the researchers performed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of the subjects’ brains to determine the long-term effects of the ads.

Ventral striatum area of the human brain

According to the OIG’s report, “ Neuromarketing is a rigorous scientific method that explores the consumer’s subconscious response — beyond stated preference. In other words, neuromarketing methods reveal actual activity deep in the brain and other physiological responses as opposed to stated answers to survey questions.”

The study found that although digital ads were more effective at holding the subjects’ attention for a sustained period of time, physical ads were more effective at evoking an emotional response.  Physical ads were also more effective at creating a subconscious desire for the product or service being advertised and evoked a higher perceived value than digital ads.

The study also found that “physical media caused greater activation of the ventral striatum (the area of the brain that is the most predictive of future purchasing behavior) than digital media.”

In conclusion, the OIG reported that “The study indicated that digital ads may provide a cost-effective option for companies that are trying to get consumers’ attention to quickly understand a marketing message. However, companies that want to generate a more accurate memory of an ad, for better recall during a purchase, would be served best by physical ads.”

While the study found value in online advertising, the results suggest that physical ads, including direct mail, should be a component in any small business’ marketing mix in order to achieve the best, overall results.

Visit Brumley Printing or give us a call at 817-336-5551 to learn more about the advantages of direct mail marketing.

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