Paper has greater impact than digital

Leaflet distribution is so outdated, correct? Super- efficient digital marketing communications seem to gradually replace print marketing delivered by humans. It might be a little too soon to shut down the paper mills, though, judging by a current research study by agency Millward Brown. The study used brain scans to demonstrate that our brains process leaflet and digital promotions in different ways. Their discoveries confirm that physical print marketing leaves a “deeper footprint” in the brain as it causes more emotional processing than digital marketing.

• Material shown on cards generated more activity within the area of the brain associated with the integration of visual and spatial information (the left and right parietal).
• This suggests that physical material is more “real” to the brain. It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks. From Millward Brown Case Study – Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail.

Also, the investigation showed that touchable products involved more emotional processing in the subject’s barins, which is especially interesting from a branding as well as ad recall viewpoint:

• More processing is taking place in the right cortex when physical material is presented. As this part of the brain is processing emotionally powerful stimuli and memory, the findings suggest that the physical presentation may be generating more emotionally vivid memories.
• Physical activity generates increased activity in the cerebellum, which is associated with spatial and emotional processing (as well as motor activity) and is likely to be further evidence of enhanced emotional processing.

While in no way downgrading the benefits of online media, which can have certain benefits in regards to targeting and interactivity, the research does show that there is something exceptional about the physical medium which is not to be neglected. Eachcommunication tool has its place in a well planned marketing strategy.

The Millward Brown research study unfortunately didn’t clarify how to best design a piece of print to create maximum effect, but based on numerous years of hands on experience in print distribution, we have drawn our own conclusions:

– Concentrate on the tactile\physical nature of the print. Heavier paper weight and a refined coating may underline the “tangibility” of your leaflet or mail out
– Take advantage of the brain’s emotional engagement with physical media and create a message that has an emotional impression
– Make sure your company’s visual identity has a prominent place on your print – since brand recall can possibly be enhanced by the paper medium