As one of our five senses, touch is an essential way we experience the world around us. It’s arguably the very first sense we can use – newborn babies even have a grasp reflex that causes them to automatically grab onto a finger or object when it touches the palm of their hand. Touch grounds us in the present and plays an important role in connecting everyone to the world around us.
Marketers love to appeal to consumers’ senses, but compared to sight or hearing, the power of touch is often under-utilized. For many brands, personalized print marketing is the only way they can effectively engage with their audience’s sense of touch. If used strategically, this can be an effective way to physically connect with potential customers and help them realize how your company can meet their needs.
How Our Bodies React to Touch
The effect touch can have on us isn’t just theoretical – it’s based in science. When a person or thing touches our body, receptors in our skin travel along our nerves to our spinal cord and up to the somatosensory cortex in our brain, where they’re processed into thoughts and perceptions. As long as the touch isn’t painful and feels high-quality, people will typically have a positive response and ultimately gain a favorable impression of the associated person, thing, or brand.
It has also been proven that touch can actually have powerful healing properties. In hospitals, medical experts and parents use skin-to-skin contact to help premature babies regulate their body temperature, gain weight, and reduce pain. Though the medicinal powers of touch may not translate over for marketers, brands can still use creative, tactile sensations with impressive results in their campaigns.
Strength of Connection
Part of why touch can be so effective is because it necessitates a physical connection. It’s a stark difference from many of the digital marketing messages we see today. Though consumers do spend a lot of time on digital devices, it can be difficult to stand out from the other clutter fighting for attention on the screen and form a connection with the consumer in their everyday life.
On the other hand, print marketing reaches consumers in person, which helps create a tactile connection between the brand and the audience. Consider what you did the last time you received a personal note or high-quality print piece. In our years of print experience, we’ve noticed most people subconsciously run their hands over the paper, touching important text or graphics. For many people, simply touching an object makes them feel psychologically connected to it, especially if the object reflects a high quality. As a result, they have a higher perceived value of the item and will likely have an increased desire to pursue the next step in the sales process.
As e-books and digital experiences became more ubiquitous over the years, researchers performed several studies to understand how different mediums influence our ability to remember what we read. The vast majority of these studies have shown that across gender and age groups, people are able to retain information more accurately and for longer periods of time when they read from a printed page rather than a digital screen. Additionally, according to Two Sides North America, 88 percent of Americans self-reported that they remember information better if they read it on print.
In our experience, print tends to improve retention for several reasons. Whether you’re holding a small piece of mail or lengthy catalog, there tend to be much fewer distractions compared to a digital screen, where there are often multiple messages fighting for your attention. An advertising print is also not standing in the way of a video you want to watch, or a friend’s Facebook post you want to see, which can make the overall experience more palatable for consumers. There’s no swiping away from or clicking to skip a physical printed piece. When they pick up your print and hold it in their hands, the consumer is much more likely to actually read and digest your message.
If you’re interested in harnessing the power of touch in a print marketing campaign, we’d love to help you get started. Reach out to us for a print quote, or if you need help getting your campaign started from the ground up, we’d be happy to connect you with one of our experienced marketing partners.