The ventral striatum is an important structure buried deep in the human brain, yet it’s tightly connected to the rest of the limbic system. Although the striatum is a small structure, it drives our perceptions of valuation and desire. In the past, people believed the structure was an indicator of effective advertising. Researchers at Temple University recently made this belief a fact. The team of researchers recently discovered that direct mail like postcards activates the ventral striatum more than digital media. In fact, the digital ads captured the customers’ attention faster, but direct mail maintained the customers’ attention longer, generated a more profound emotional response, and ultimately played a direct role in later purchasing decisions.
To conduct the experiment and test the hypothesis that activation of the ventral striatum was indeed indicative of advertising effectiveness, the Temple University researchers showed a variety of 40 email ads and direct mail postcards to human subjects. They used three methods to gauge the effectiveness of the ads: eye tracking to measure visual attention; fingertip sensors to monitor heart rate; respiration, sweating to quality emotional engagement; MRI’s performed scans to reveal deep brain activity. Nine attributes were subsequently measured to compare direct mail versus digital ads: valuation; desirability; purchase and willingness to pay; memory speed and confidence; memory retrieval accuracy; stimulation; engagement; review time; and attention.
After aggregating and analyzing the data from all the test subjects, direct mail performed much better than digital ads. Direct mail captured 8/9 attributes, whereas digital ads only captured 4/9 attributes.
The Temple scientists concluded that direct mail has deeper and longer lasting effects than digital ads in creating desire for brands, products, and services. Based on the research, here are three suggestions for marketers looking to nurture leads and customer success professionals looking to retain existing customers.
- Direct mail registers as being more “real” to our human senses. Inkit’s mail pieces have meaning, place, and purpose. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks.
- Direct mail involves more emotional processing — very important for memory and brain associations.
- Direct mail produces more overall brain responses that are connected with our internal feelings. This indicates that Inkit’s direct mail generates greater “internalization” of the ads — crucial to future purchasing decisions.
Marketers, reap the benefits of a successful multi-channel marketing campaign without increasing your marketing spend or energy. Inkit is the first automated direct mail software that lets you order any number of pieces from your desk. Our new Hubspot direct mail integration merges their two unique, highly effective functionalities. Direct mail drip campaigns, customer success postcards, and more are now possible using the HubSpot CRM.