The US Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) has released a white paper which aims to help companies better understand the effectiveness of physical advertising mail, particularly compared to digital advertising mail.
Enhancing the Value of Mail: The Human Response was commissioned by USPS OIG. Research was conducted by Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision Making in Philadelphia, USA, to help USPS identify potential new opportunities in ad mail, which accounted for 31% (US$20bn) of the post’s total revenue in fiscal year 2014.
Temple University studied people’s responses to physical and digital media in the consumer buying process, including memory of products advertised and intent to purchase. But instead of just using surveys, which rely on people’s stated or conscious preferences, the university also monitored physiological and neurological activity to understand the subconscious response. Known as neuromarketing, this rigorous scientific method uses technologies like eye tracking, heart-rate measurement and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) to measure a person’s reaction to various stimuli.
According to USPS OIG, the results revealed some distinct neurological and physiological responses to digital and physical media. Participants processed digital ad content quicker but spent more time with physical ads. Participants had a stronger emotional response to physical ads and more easily recalled physical ads, both crucial when making a purchase decision. Physical ads also triggered greater brain activity responsible for value and desirability for featured products, which signal a greater intent to purchase.
Read the full report here.
June 17, 2015