The tendency as the world becomes more mobile, more digital, and more dominated by touchscreens is to think that print media is going to die a death. But some recent studies in neuroscience have indicated that it would be unwise for organisations to turn their back on paper for getting their messages across just yet.
Paper marketing is easier for our brains to interpret and can hit some of the spots that digital marketing simply cannot, it seems.
So the days of the glossy brochure and the eye-catching flyer may not be over yet…
Canada Post recently commissioned a study performed by a neuromarketing firm which compared the effects of direct mail marketing with email and display ad marketing.
Eye-tracking, EEG brain wave measurement devices, and standard questionnaires were used in the study, which measured cognitive load (ease of understanding), motivation (persuasiveness), and attention levels.
The study found that print-based marketing (direct mail) was both easier to process mentally and was more memorable in brand recall tests.
This suggests that there is a difference in how our brains interact with paper-based content and digital content. It backs up a study by Temple University in the U.S. from earlier this year, which used fMRI brain scanning to compare digital and paper marketing. The study found that paper advertising has a greater effect on the ventral striatum region of the brain, which has been associated with desire and valuation.
A 2009 study by Bangor University in the UK suggested that paper advertising is more effective at eliciting emotional responses than digital media, which leads to greater “internalization” of the content and better recall of the product.
Interestingly, a Norwegian study also found that “students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally.”
We might like to recall the most memorable advertisements and marketing that we have been exposed to in the past – how much of that is digital?
A multi-channel approach
Of course, it would be foolish to think that such study data will herald a flood back to paper-based marketing; with the domination of mobile and digital devices, clearly the future of marketing is largely digital, especially when we consider its greater cost-effectiveness, its targeting capabilities, and its overall convenience.
But, in the great print-to-digital transformation that has taken place in the past 15-20 years, there may still be an important role for print to play.
Perhaps a multi-channel approach makes most sense when considering marketing strategy. Different media interact with our brains in different ways – and people have different preferences when it comes to how we like to take in content. So mixing it up with your marketing can potentially help your products and services reach a wider audience.
Make sure the ink doesn’t run dry on your printing just yet…
The team at NeuroPower is at the forefront of introducing new approaches to organisational development through the findings of neuroscience. We apply them to all types of businesses, developing high performing teams and enhancing leadership. Find out more at our website: