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The Power of Print Media Explained by Science

The Power of Print Media Explained by Science
We’ve heard many people say “Print is dead.” In fact, science, specifically the field of neuromarketing research, is proving that print advertising and direct marketing are highly effective, especially when combined with digital marketing, and should remain a key tool for marketers.

What is Neuromarketing?
Neuromarketing studies the brain, and more specifically physiological and neural signals, to predict consumer behavior and preferences. It uses sophisticated techniques like brain imaging, eye tracking, sensors, biometrics, and heart rate monitors to measure how consumers’ brains respond to marketing activities.

Neuromarketing Revelations
Neuromarketing shows that our brains process physical marketing in ways that make it clear that print advertising and direct mail marketing are highly effective. Studies imply that a multi-channel approach, with both print and digital media channels, is the best strategy.


1) Print Is Emotive, Increasing Brand Connection

Studies show that print media evokes a stronger emotional connection than digital. Being able to do so is the golden ticket because when a person thinks with their heart (over reason), they are less influenced by competition, price, or other detractors. They want what their heart wants, and nothing can get in the way. Brands that can connect emotionally with the consumer, such as Apple, Starbucks, and Nike, are the stars.

A key reason print connects emotionally is that unlike digital ads, consumers can physically browse through a print piece, grip the pages, feel the paper texture, density, and composition.

Caption: Nike print ad

As Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing, wrote in Fast Company, “The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!”


2) Print Increases Comprehension and Recall

When it comes to print, neuroscience shows that different parts of the brain are used to process what we see, feel, and smell. This sensorial way the brain interacts with paper and printed materials makes paper-based reading result in a stronger transfer to understanding, long-term memory, and recall.

In particular, print advertising can maximize sensory appeal. Print offers the ability to deliver rich, vivid images along with tactile stimuli. In some cases, scent can be used to further increase print’s impact.


3) Print Media Increase Purchase Intent

Finally, neuromarketing indicates that purchase intent is higher for printed media over digital. Purchase intent is an important driver for the metrics marketers care most about such as conversion rates, deal velocity, and sales!

This key value of print media is supported in findings by a study conducted by the research firm of Millward Brown on advertising effectiveness. They found that print magazine ad exposure increased brand favorability and purchase intent seven percentage points greater than did online advertising, and three percentage points greater than did television advertising.

Science Validates Print
For years before the advent of the Internet, marketers achieved tremendous success through print media. And while digital media has impacted the marketing mix dramatically, the strongest strategy is a multi-channel approach.

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