The Science of Direct Mail Marketing and Digital Marketing

Direct Mail Marketing or Digital Marketing?

One of the questions I often see debated in Fitness Marketing is:

Each side of the issue has its fervent supporters. Many of the fitness marketing industries most successful operators built their thriving health club membership base on the back of direct mail marketing, and for good reason they stand by its merits. Then there is the breed of owner/operator that solely puts their trust in digital marketing, drawn to it for its real time manageability and flexible budgets.

At Members Today Health Club Marketing, we have been creating and executing some of the fitness industries most successful direct mail and digital promotions for thousands of clients in the US and Canada and we are always actively studying and comparing the response data of each media channel.

Our data supports the fact that direct mail and digital advertising both have their advantages in different areas, but they also share some common strengths. Definitively, the data reflects the fact that both digital marketing and direct mail marketing can a have a complimentary effect on each other, allowing marketers to optimize their digital mix and reach new prospects in all channels.

fitness direct marketing

Trust the Science

A neuromarketing study performed by The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) with Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision Making focused on the differing response to physical, direct mail marketing and digital marketing in the consumer buying process, including intent to purchase.

The study linked consumers’ subconscious responses to three buying process phases:

  1. The body’s response to an ad;
  2. How quickly and accurately the brain remembers the ad;
  3. Value and desire for the advertised products — a predictor of purchase.
health club direct mail

The Research Findings

The results of the study showed that participants processed digital ad content quicker. However, participants spent more time with physical ads.

  • When viewing physical ads, participants had a stronger emotional response and remembered them better.
  • Physical ads, though slower to get one’s attention at first exposure, leave a longer lasting impact for easy recall when making a purchase decision.
  • Most importantly, physical ads triggered activity in the area of the brain (ventral striatum) that is responsible for value and desirability for featured products, which can signal a greater intent to purchase.

These findings have practical implications for marketers. If short on time, the digital format captures attention quicker. However, for longer lasting impact and easy recollection, a physical mail piece is the superior option that could lead to a purchase. This suggests a complementary effect between the two formats that could provide a powerful way for marketers to optimize their media mix, especially as companies look to reach digitally connected customers.

digital marketing icons

Tools Used in the Marketing Study

  1. Eye Tracking – A camera and infrared technology monitor eye movements, in terms of speed and duration of attention
  2. Core Biometrics – Sensors placed on fingertips measure heart rate, skin conductance (sweat), motion, and respiration
  3. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) – Brain scanner measures change in oxygenated blood flow to reveal regional activation during a task or experience
personal trainer

Summary of Results based on Advertising Goals

direct mail chart

More information about the USPS and Temple University Direct Mail and Digital Marketing report can be found here.

Direct Mail vs Digital Marketing FAQ

Direct mail is an effective marketing tool that can help businesses reach a large audience. There are many benefits to using direct mail, including the following:

– It allows for detailed, personalized messages that can be tailored to individual recipients.

– It allows for greater control over the timing of the message, giving businesses the ability to send out the mail when it is most likely to be seen.

– It is more cost-effective than other forms of advertising, such as television or radio.

– It reaches a larger audience than other forms of advertising, as mail is usually delivered to everyone in a given area.

– It can be combined with other forms of marketing, such as email or online advertising, to create a comprehensive campaign.

Overall, direct mail is an effective way for businesses to reach their target audience and get their message across in a cost-effective manner.

Online advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. There are many advantages to using online advertising, including its accessibility and cost-effectiveness. For example, online advertising can reach a much wider audience than traditional methods, as it is accessible to people all over the world. Furthermore, it is more cost-effective than other forms of advertising, as it is usually cheaper to run an online campaign than a traditional one. Additionally, online advertising can be targeted more precisely than traditional methods, allowing marketers to target specific demographics and interests. Finally, online advertising also enables businesses to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns more easily, as they can track impressions, clicks, and conversions. All these factors make online advertising an attractive and effective way to market products and services.

Yes, it is possible to use both direct mail and digital marketing together. This is often referred to as a multi-channel marketing strategy, and it is becoming increasingly popular as businesses look for more effective ways to reach their target audiences. By combining direct mail with digital marketing, businesses can create more personalized and targeted campaigns that can reach more potential customers. For example, a business could send out direct mail to potential customers in a certain area, then follow up with digital marketing campaigns to further engage those customers. By using both direct mail and digital marketing together, businesses can create more comprehensive campaigns that can capture the attention of their target audience.

Yes, you can integrate direct mail and Google Ads to get the most out of your marketing efforts. Direct mail allows you to target potential customers in their own homes with personalized messages. Meanwhile, Google Ads provides access to an enormous online audience. By combining these two methods of marketing, you can ensure that your message reaches both offline and online audiences. You can use direct mail to promote a specific product or service, and then use Google Ads to provide additional information or drive traffic to a landing page. This can help you maximize your reach and ensure that your message reaches the right people.

Yes, a health club can certainly benefit from using direct mail and online advertising. Direct mail is a great way to reach a large number of potential customers in a short amount of time. You can send out promotional materials, such as coupons and discounts, that can help attract new members. You can also use direct mail to stay in touch with existing members, reminding them about upcoming events or special offers.

Online advertising is also a great way to reach potential customers. You can use paid search advertising, social media ads, or display ads to get your message in front of the right audience. Additionally, online advertising allows you to track and measure the results of your campaigns, so you can easily see what’s working and what isn’t.

Overall, direct mail and online advertising are both effective ways for a health club to reach potential customers and boost membership.


Receive FREE Sample Postcards Today!

Skip to content