Local Marketing Blog
Local Marketing Blog
Local Marketing Blog

Marketing: the queen of mixed messages

Direct Mail vs Email

Email. Direct Mail. Physical Ads. Facebook Ads. Pay per click…. You get the idea. Making marketing decisions in today’s world is overwhelming. The choices seem endless. And while trial and error has a place in any small business (just look at these accidental discoveries), when it comes to marketing, having solid scientific footing makes things a lot easier. That’s why great research about consumer behavior is so exciting. It gives a bit of clarity to an otherwise baffling field.

This is how we all feel sometimes.

This is how we all feel sometimes.

A recent neurological study at Temple University looked at customer behavior and how it relates to marketing. The study compared digital marketing to physical marketing, and it focused on 3 main areas: engagement, memory, and purchase intent (or willingness to buy). Direct mail postcards represented physical media, and email was used for digital media.

Here is a table summarizing which media did best in each category:

OIG table


Physical media more frequently achieved the desired marketing outcome than digital media. Specifically, physical media increased both the desire for the product or service and the emotional reaction to the ad. As you can imagine, these are two key areas to focus on in marketing. Who doesn’t want their customers to have an emotional response to their brand? I know I do.

Does this mean we should all abandon any email and digital marketing efforts going forward? Absolutely not. What it does suggest is that direct mail shouldn’t be neglected. Instead, use physical media to increase emotional engagement and desire. This promotes brand awareness. Then, you can continue with email marketing to focus your customer’s attention on your newly recognizable brand. A one, two knockout.


Want to stand out? Combine direct mail’s emotionality with email’s attention-grabbing capabilities to give your marketing efforts a powerful edge over your competition.



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