Neurmarketing Study Supports the Effectiveness of Direct Mail…

I was reading an article summarizing the findings of a new neuromarketing study conducted by Royal Mail through Millward Brown, employing the University of Bangor’s psychology department and fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging), which sheds some light on how the marketing medium used can be just as important as the message when it comes to building an emotional connection with consumers.

And, I have to say I am pretty excited with the findings.  They support the case I made in a prior blog, Direct Mail Is a Viable Option for Small Business, that direct mail can be an effective part of a company’s marketing mix—thus, direct mail is not dead!

While the research conducted was qualitative in nature, only 20 subjects studied, the results are nonetheless very important.  Without getting into my “research geek” mode, which I am apt to do, here’s the crux of what they found:

  • Physical media—direct mail based material—generated more activity in the parietal cortex, an area closely associated with the integration of visual and spatial information; suggesting that print-based material is more ‘concrete’ for the brain, and can act as a cue for memory.   The print marketing methods were “seen” as more “real” by the brain because of the multisensory nature of the materials.
  • Direct mail-based material was also associated with responses which suggest greater ‘internal’ thinking – suggesting that this material is processed more in relation to subjects’ own feelings and memories.
  • Online materials on the other hand elicited responses associated with greater difficulty in maintaining attention on the task. Researchers noted that online materials proved harder to focus on; and engaged areas of the brain associated with greater filtering of irrelevant information in order to attend to the task, such as the temporo-parietal junction.

So what?  

As a marketer, you need to choose wisely when it comes to the media you use for customer and, more importantly, prospect communications.   

  • Print media may be more effective for complicated or detailed messages; online seems better suited for short, easy to read and less comprehensive messages.
  • Print media may be more effective for the first or introductory communication from a brand campaign, an online message appears better suited as brand awareness/consideration reinforcement tool.

Thanks to Royal Mail, Millward Brown and the University of Bangor’s psychology department for putting together such a great and useful neuromarketing study!


4 responses to this post.

  1. Great news, Sharon, glad I found you blog 🙂



    • Posted by sharonmarkovsky on April 22, 2011 at 5:47 am

      Thank you for the kind words! I took a quick look at your blog and your jewerly site. Great stuff!



  2. Aw thanks… it’s just a small business we are getting started. I work in Politics doing direct mail campaigns primarily. Looking to expand. With the the seeming huge push towards social media and internet marketing, I had a discussion with a client as to mails relevance in this day and age. Thanks for the insight and I look forward to reading more such as your thoughts on personal branding.

    I see you like Seth Godin, he’s great.

    Guy Kawasaki has an interesting new book, Enchantment, which I am currently enjoying and would recommend.

    Have a wonderful weekend! Happy Easter!


  3. Posted by sharonmarkovsky on April 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Love Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki! I am glad you are enjoying Guy’s book. It’s on my list after my MBA classes are done for the Spring.

    Good luck with your business!


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