This is Your Brain on Print

by Valerie Lauer, Copywriter - 04/12/16


How do you get your audience to slow down and smell the hypothetical roses that your products or services could bring to their lives? Consider making a shift toward brain-friendly print marketing.

The research is conclusive—our brains consume media differently if it’s on paper than we do if it’s on a screen, and that different way of interpreting information can place your message in an entirely different light.

Consider this—print:

Engages the Senses

It’s hard to feel warm and fuzzy about a pixelated page, no matter how impressive its design and message. Print, on the other hand, has a way of evoking a multisensory response.

The look, feel, and even smell of a printed page can make impressions on the minds of consumers. The sound of a page turning creates additional neurological connections that can be pleasantly linked to the impression of your carefully placed message.

Scent evokes memory and emotion. Maybe your audience will be reminded to call and schedule an appointment if they regularly read your print magazine and then get the familiar whiff of paper as they flip through magazines in the checkout line.

Causes Readers to Slow Down

Reading online can feel like a rat race for information. Readers click here, skim there …but not so with print.

To read on paper requires the engagement of the brain’s executive functions. With fewer distractions and more physical engagement, consumers are more likely to be focused deeply on the content.

That means they could be more focused on your content, too. Keeping readers’ attention drives action. Print content can be a refreshing change from online ads, which may go the way of background noise in a super-saturated digital market.

Is Easier to Remember

Away from the clamor of email notifications and the need to share links with their social networks, consumers not only spend more time actually processing what’s in front of them, but they are more likely to remember what they see.

A 2013 study of students in Norway found those who read the assigned texts on paper rather than in a digital version did better on a reading comprehension test. The researchers in that study credited something called spatio-temporal markers with the memory boost. Touching pages makes mental connections and stronger memories.

Has More Fans

When asked their preference for reading, more people chose print over digital. That includes members of the elusive millennial market, who are rapidly growing into their own consumer styles and tastes. What’s more, a staggering 95 percent of those 25 and younger read magazines regularly.

But What about Digital?

Taking a step away from digital content to focus on print may seem counter intuitive. The potential reach of online messages is vast, and your ability to customize both the content and the channel for improved performance is impressive.

But it helps to keep in mind that sometimes quality is more effective than quantity. That’s especially true when you are telling a story. Combined with the powerful, emotion-evoking textile of paper, a storytelling approach can pack a double punch of impact on your audience.

That’s not to say it’s time to abandon your digital marketing strategy. But it’s possible that your campaigns could benefit from spending some quality time in print, as well.

Learn More About Print and Digital Integration

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