Neuroscience Shows Benefits of Paper


Print and paper offer special advantages in connecting with the human brain, research shows.

The article by Roger Dooley appeared on the Forbes/CMO Network website on September 16, 2015

When it comes to marketing, new research shows that including print and paper is a more effective approach, notes author and Forbes contributor Roger Dooley. “Despite the enormous migration to electronic media,” he writes, “neuroscience research shows that paper-based content and ads offer special advantages in connecting with our brains.”

In his recent article, Dooley cites a research study comparing the effects of paper marketing (such as direct mail pieces) with digital media (including email and display ads.) Sponsored by Canada Post, the study was performed by Canadian neuromarketing firm TrueImpact

Using a combination of conventional questionnaires and technology-based measurement (including eye-tracking and high resolution brain wave measurement), the study focused on three key metrics: cognitive load (ease of understanding), motivation (persuasiveness), and attention (how long subjects looked at the content). The study reports that paper-based direct mail was easier to process mentally and tested better for brand recall.

According to the report, Dooley writes, “direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media, suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable… When asked to cite the brand (company name) of an advertisement they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a direct mail piece (75%) than a digital ad (44%).”

Dooley mentions several other studies that also point to the neurological advantage of paper before posing the question “How complete is your business’s transition from paper to digital? Has the pendulum swung too far?”

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Source: Robert Dooley, Forbes/CMO Network website, September 16, 2015