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Direct Mail It’s Science


“Neuromarketing research shows physical advertisements have a pronounced effect on consumer decision-making”-USPS


Neuromarketing combines multiple disciplines including neuroscience and psychology and is being used to answer questions about marketing, consumer behavior, and advertising. Recently the USPS worked with Temple University to explore how customers perceived and engaged with physical and digital marketing advertisements. They used 3 types of measurement: eye tracking, core biometrics and functional magnetic resonance imaging.


Eye tracking: Works by using a camera and infrared technology monitor you eye movements speed and duration of attention. This test tracks visual attention.


Core Biometrics: Works by placing sensors on fingertips that measure heart rate, skin conductance (sweat) and motion respiration. This test gauges the depth of emotional engagement.


Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: This scanner works by measuring the brains change in oxygenated blood flow to show what parts of the brain are activated during a task or experience. This test pinpoints specific deep-brain activity beyond surface cognitive function (think empathy and reward)

The below chart shows each factor:

What did we learn?


When viewing physical ads including direct mail, participants had a stronger emotional response and remembered details better.Physical ads were found to be slower to get one’s attention at first glances, but they leave a longer lasting impact for easy recall when making a buying decision.Digital ads will capture attention quicker, but for longer lasting impact a physical mail-piece is the superior option that could lead to future purchases.


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