Print based marketing in a digital world

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A Canadian study* in 2015 comparing the effects of print marketing (direct mail in this case) with digital media (email and display ads) showed that print-based content and ads offer special advantages in connecting with our brains over digital.

The study evaluated three key metrics: cognitive load (ease of understanding), motivation (persuasiveness) and attention (how long subject look at the content). Their findings were interesting and offer good evidence that traditional print-based marketing still has a place in the multi-channel marketing toolkit:

- Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media.

- Brand recall was 70% higher among participants that were exposed to a direct mail piece (75%) than a digital ad (44%).

- In the measurement of overall effectiveness (based on the authors ‘motivation-to-cognitive load ratio’ calculations) direct mail scored 1.31 compared to 0.87 for digital media.

Furthermore, scientific studies using fMRI brain scans have been carried out by Temple University* comparing digital to print media, with one of the findings reporting that print advertising activated the ventral striatum area of the brain more than digital media. (This area of the brain was previously found to be an indicator of desire and valuation.) The sourced article goes on to discuss other scientific research in this area, and the findings go some way to prove that perhaps it’s not quite time to give up on print media yet.

As a full service marketing agency we believe there is a need for print-based marketing across the multi-channel disciplines, and our clients are proving this to be true.  Along with their print-based marketing solutions below our clients also leverage the strengths of digital marketing, adopting a 360 approach to their strategies. Print-based marketing certainly has it’s merits and can prove an important part of your marketing toolkit:

- Reach your audience where digital is not possible, for instance with GDPR restricted databases.

- Get your brand in to customers’ homes – a direct mail, brochure or catalogue sitting on the kitchen or coffee table is a constant reminder of your product/service

- Touch and interact with your brand – the quality of materials and finish can elevate your brand

- Personalisation in digital printing – a cost effective method to get personal with your customers

- Target older generations who are more accustomed to browsing than swiping

Find out how our clients use print-based marketing: PRINT-BASED MARKETING


The Finishing Post Design & Marketing Consultants is a full service creative agency based in Suffolk, servicing clients throughout the UK across a wide range of industries. To find out more visit: