Print's power of touch

It’s time to get physical

Man pinning print onto wall

Get in touch with your customers

At the forefront of a successful brand is a marketing strategy that successfully engages with customers. And in recent years, brands have placed a heavy focus on digital platforms such as email and social media.

Although digital is good for collecting leads and reaching customers ‘just in time’, brands aren’t paying close enough attention to its effectiveness. In fact, on average only 21.33% of marketing emails are being opened [1]. The rest? They’re being moved straight to the virtual bin. Digital alone isn’t cutting through – consumers are simply too overwhelmed by the digital ‘noise’.

Instead, brands should be exploring physical media, such as print, as an opportunity to catch customers’ attention. Unlike an email, when a customer receives a high-quality printed direct mail (DM) piece, it can’t just be deleted. After all, when was the last time you threw out post before looking at it?

Olaf Harmann presenting at Future Promotion Forum

Print ignites the senses

Print has the unique ability to spark emotions through the senses. At Canon’s Future Promotion Forum, Olaf Hartmann, Managing Director of Multisense Institute for Sensory Marketing, highlighted the importance of connecting with customers’ emotions to boost engagement. Speaking about how we are sensory beings, he emphasised how print, as a physical medium, can stimulate the brain through the ‘power of touch’. How? Because our emotions are intrinsically linked with our physical senses.

To give you an example, Aktion Deutschland, a charity for homeless people in Germany, used the power of touch by sending a DM piece that was printed on rough paper. By doing this, people associated the haptics of the paper with rough living conditions, resulting in an increase in donations of over 20%.

The Multisense Institute for Sensory Marketing defines five dimensions of the impact of sensory optimisation in the ‘ARIVA’ model which can be applied to maximise the impact of a DM campaign.

Woman looking into postbox in shared mail area

The ARIVA dimensions of sensory optimisation

  • A printed DM piece needs to grab customers’ attention and can do so with an exclusive look and feel, achieved through colour, media thickness, format or with a unique stock.
  • It also needs to be memorable. Whether through a unique opening experience or by including a discount voucher, such interaction will increase the likelihood of recall.
  • A DM piece can boost a brand’s integrity as messages are more trustworthy and credible in print because our sense of touch links with a sense of truth.
  • The tactile nature of printed mail can enhance the value perception of products and services. As can the content of the DM piece – make the benefits clear and understand what’s motivating customers to engage and take action. Whether that’s making a purchase or just accessing further content online, it’s a prime opportunity to use cross-channel communications to enhance the overall brand experience.

Now’s the time to engage customers and build lasting relationships through print’s emotional power of touch.

[1] Source: MailChimp - 2019 -

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