Print and the Power of Touch

Touch is a powerful concept in marketing. It helps sell clothing and sports equipment. It helps sell puppies in pet stores. It helps sell products in print marketing, too.

The groundbreaking book, A Communicator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Touch, written in collaboration with neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman, creator of the PBS series “The Brain,” explains that brands that understand how to engage their customers are those that master the science of touch. That extends to their marketing communications, too.

According to Dr. Eagleman, more than half of the brain is devoted to processing sensory experiences, and much of that focuses on touch. Consistently, touch changes our perception of people, products, and events.

For example:

Studies show that people who are lightly touched by a server in a restaurant leave bigger tips; doctors who touch their patients are seen as more caring (and their patients get well faster); NBA teams who interact physically during games—high fives, chest-bumps, butt-slaps, and the like—consistently win more games.

That’s why print marketing and physical packaging is so powerful. Once we touch and handle a piece of paper, a box, or a package, we have an emotional connection to it.

The Neuroscience of Touch reveals how touch informs our choices and translates into action. This phenomenon is seen in other industry research, too. “A Bias for Action,” a study by Canada Post, for example, found that direct mail generates a motivation score (or desire to purchase) 20% higher than digital media. A study by Millward Brown Digital (“The Print Campaign Analysis for the Magazine Publishers Association”) found that when print is added to the marketing mix, purchase intent increases by 17%.

Our brains are wonderful and complicated organs, and the more we understand about how they process information, the more effective our marketing communications can be. When it comes to channel selection, print is more than a vehicle for delivering information. It is a catalyst for decision-making. The more tangible a printed document can be, the more powerful the connection. So enhance your connection with tactile elements, such as dimensional coatings, die-cuts, print embellishments, and interactive elements.

Want to benefit from the science of touch? Let’s talk print!