Without a doubt, direct mail gets into your customers’ hands—literally. Its tangible nature is one of its strongest selling points, along with its incredible ability to target recipients with utmost detail. It’s this versatility and results-driven focus that makes it so attractive to businesses, no matter their product or service. When proposing a direct mail campaign, it’s important to consider the medium itself. There’s a vast distinction between physical and virtual media, and understandably, consumers respond to each medium differently.
Recently, the Royal Mail commissioned a research agency to discover how consumers respond to marketing messages, and which is the most effective communication. Working with scientists from the Centre of Experimental Psychology at Bangor University, research participants were connected to medical-grade scanners and shown the same material twice—once using projection to reproduce the online experience, and once printed on cards to produce the physical experience. Brain activity was measured across the different areas of the brain to see how it processed the differing marketing messages. The results turned out to be surprisingly simple:
This indicates that tangible materials are more likely to become embedded in memory, and because they also generate more emotion they’re more likely to provoke positive brand associations. Think of it as your opportunity to convey your brand personality at the most intimate level. When you strike such a close tie with your audience, it makes it easier for you to adjust your perception in their minds, and to establish a conversation between your customer and prospect.
This is reflected in Millward Brown’s 2002 white paper of brand personality and how best to align your messaging to your market’s cultural values. Every culture takes certain values into consideration when evaluating a brand. According to Geert Hofstede, the forefather of research on the subject, it comes down to five contributing factors: power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertain avoidance, and long-term orientation.
- Power Distance: The degree to which members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. Runs from high (difference accepted) to low.
- Individualism: The degree to which societies believe people share an obligation for the care of those outside of their immediate families. Runs from high (obligations to close family only) to low.
- Masculinity: The degree to which a society emphasizes the value of achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material rewards for success. Runs from high (these values are important) to low.
- Uncertainty Avoidance: The degree to which the members of a society feel comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. Runs from high (where people need clarity and rules) to low.
- Long-term Orientation: The degree to which a society believes that truth depends on situation, context, and time. Where long-term orientation is high, people adapt traditions and are more likely to save, invest, and persevere.
Source: Millward Brown 2002
Research has shown that in the United Kingdom, emphasis is placed on tolerance, respect for equality (the UK has a low power distance score), and individualism. These attributes influence the brands’ desirability and trustworthiness, which at the end of the day means bottom line. In Britain in particular, consumers identify consistently with strong brands that are ethical, that allow for individuality, and are considered friendly and generous.
Conduct your own research into your customer profile and with your finding, you can anticipate how any given market is likely to respond to certain types of messaging. Learn a little more about them and you can refine that message even further. Remember: Products and services will always dictate the overall message, but customer profiling helps you refine it.
Neuroscience stuff in – https://www.firstmove.co.uk/science-news/
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