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Marketing that Sticks: The Science Behind Why Post-It Notes Work

Dave Schaaf
Dave Schaaf

A major goal of marketing is getting your brand to stick in people’s minds.  You want them to think of you when they need the good or service you provide.  Many different marketing strategies have been used to try and achieve this effect, some with more success than others.  The best plans are based on evidence.  Here’s the story of a scientific study on post-it notes that can teach us a lot about how people think, an essential step in forming a good marketing strategy. 

The Post-It Experiment 

A paper by Randy Gardner from Sam Houston State University outlines a series of experiments that were done.  Test subjects were given surveys, some with post-it notes on the front and some without.  The study found that those who had a handwritten note on a post-it were much more likely to return their survey.  Their responses were also better, suggesting that they took more time to complete the questions.  This was true for the post-it group when compared to those who got no note at all, those with the same message but written on the front page instead of a post-it, and those who got blank post-it notes.

This all suggests that the combination of two things made people more likely to complete their surveys quickly and well: an eye-catching object (the post-it note) and a handwritten note.  It was not enough to just get people’s attention, as those who had blank post-it notes did not have as high of a response rate.  Just a message isn’t good enough, either.  It has to be both.

What Does This Have to Do with Marketing Strategies? 

Maybe you’ve already figured this out, but this combination is also key to a good marketing strategy.  Like a bright colored post-it with a nice little note written on it, your advertisements should get people’s attention and feel personalized.  The scientific study concluded that “the post-it leads the request to be interpreted as a solicitation for a personal favor.”  This makes people more likely to respond as they would to a friend or colleague who asks something of them.

The response rate for direct mail is up to nine times higher than that of email. Data & Marketing Association

This human element is vital to forming a marketing strategy.  Customers need to feel connected to your brand.  They need to both see you as a collection of people instead of just a faceless company and know that you see them as a person rather than one number in a mass of clients.  Connect to people as a person, and watch your business grow.

Forming a Marketing Strategy Around This Data 

So how do you do this?  Remember, your marketing has to be a combination of eye-catching and personalized.  One marketing strategy that is both is using handwritten mail.  A letter or postcard stands out because getting “real” mail is rare nowadays.  It also feels personal just knowing that someone took the time to fill out the address and write a message directly to you.  

Handwritten letters can be used in marketing in a variety of ways.  You can thank existing customers for a big purchase, send a note to potential clients inviting them in with a special offer, or even send an apology to someone who left a bad review.  Whatever you choose, the science proves that this kind of marketing works. 

Need Help Writing Notes? 

Wondering if you have the time to incorporate a marketing strategy with handwritten mail?  You do if you use Yellow Letters Complete.  We write, address, and mail your letters so you can focus on your company.  Call (888) 294-0780 or contact us to learn more.


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