The most successful marketing campaigns include pieces of both physical and digital advertisements but many businesses only focus on online marketing. That is unfortunate as physical ads like direct mail marketing are extremely effective in attracting new patients and driving sales.
A two-part study from 2015 and 2019 revealed that direct mail outperforms online ads in eight out of nine categories. While digital ads were quicker to grab consumer attention, direct mail marketing held consumer attention longer, generated stronger emotions, and had a bigger impact on consumer purchase decisions.
The first study, conducted by the U.S. Postal Service Office and Temple University, analyzed the power of print and digital advertisements, and how different generations react to them. 40 email ads and direct mail ads were sent to study participants and their reactions were evaluated based on the following tracking methods:
- Eye tracking measured visual attention
- Core biometrics (fingertip sensors) measured the depth of emotional engagement
- MRI scans uncovered deep brain activity
The neuromarketing research revealed that physical ads like direct mail have a significant effect on consumer decision-making.The following neurophysiological factors were evaluated:
|What Neurophysiological Factors Did The Ads Affect?|
|Factor||Definition||Most Effective Ad Format|
|Attention||Focusing on key components of an ad for a sustained period of time||Digital|
|Review Time||The amount of time a customer spends with an ad|
|Engagement||The amount of information a customer processes or absorbs from an ad||Digital & Print|
|Stimulation||An emotional reaction to an ad|
|Memory Retrieval Accuracy||Accurately remembering the advertising source and content||Digital & Print|
|Memory Speed & Confidence||Quickly and confidently remembering advertising sources and content|
|Purchase & Willingness to Pay||Whether the patient is willing to pay for the service and how much||Digital & Print|
|Desirability||A subconscious desire for the product or service|
|Valuation||The subconscious value a participant places on the product or service|
The original study proved that physical advertisements have more influence than digital ads in several ways. Not only did participants spend more time with physical ads, they also remembered them more quickly and confidently. Physical ads also evoked a stronger emotional response than their digital counterparts and, overall, had a longer-lasting impact. Looking at brain activity, researchers discovered that participants showed a greater subconscious valuation and desire for products or services advertised in a physical format.
This means that physical ads are particularly effective in two stages of the consumer journey: exposure to information and retrieval of information. Out of all categories evaluated, the only category in which digital ads outperformed physical was quicker attention. Even though participants showed more attention to digital ads, they gained the same amount of information from both types of advertisements.
If you want to know why direct mail marketing can contribute significant growth to your practice, read our blog post 10 Reasons Why You Need Direct Mail to Grow Your Dental Practice.
The most successful marketing campaigns include both physical and digital advertisements. To engage an audience effectively, use a multichannel approach and leverage various marketing mediums, such as direct mail, google ads, and social media. Direct mail reinforces your online marketing efforts and helps convey one cohesive message to prospective patients, increases your chances of converting ad recipients to new patients, and drives profit.