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Marketing: The Heavier the Better?

Have you ever heard of haptic sensation? It’s the sensation produced by pressure receptors in the skin (for our purpose, let’s focus on the skin on someone’s hands). You are probably wondering why focusing on the skin of one’s hands is important, but please bear with me — it will all make sense, and be profitable, in the end.

Over the years, there have been many scientific studies on haptic sensation, and how they influence social judgments and decisions — like buying decisions, for instance.

Touch is the first sense to develop and it is a critical means of information acquisition and environmental manipulation. The hand is one of the most important adaptations in our evolutionary history. From infancy, humans use their hands to acquire information (which, in turn, helps us make decisions), and to manipulate their environments.

That said, the sense of touch is definitely the most under-utilized strategy in any marketing effort. Have you ever thought about the sense of touch in your marketing efforts? I know I didn’t, until I read a 2010 Haptic Sensation study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which found that heavier objects held in the hands actually persuaded the subject’s choices and decisions (read the abstract at

To be more specific, scientists instructed employers to evaluate a job candidate by viewing a resume either on a light clipboard or a heavy one. The job candidates whose resumes were on the heavy clipboard, were deemed by the employers to be more important, “better overall” and as “displaying more serious interest in the position.”

Think about this for a moment — just because there was added physical weight to a resume, job candidates were considered more important and better overall candidates by employers. That’s was a big wow for me, and it made me feel bad for candidates with the lightweight clipboards. Those poor chaps didn’t started at a distinct disadvantage with the employers, and it certainly wasn’t because they were less qualified.

With a heavier object, there’s more importance, or value, or esteem, or better quality associated with it. A good example is a high-end restaurant’s menu, which are usually bound in leather, heavy and typed on resume-quality paper. When you hold one of these menus in your hands, your wallet starts to shake because you know the food is better quality, more valued and — most definitely — more expensive.

Applying it to Security Sales

How can we use haptic sensation to sell more security systems? Easy — by using heavier paper stock for marketing materials.

If heavier weight stimulates haptic sensations that, in turn, influence subjects to feel that candidates are more important, more valuable, offer better quality, and are greater overall — aren’t these the feelings and sensations you want to instill in your prospects and clients about your security company? If you can stimulate these feelings in your prospects and clients, perhaps you can charge higher prices because they sense that your security company is superior (more value, better quality, greater overall) to your competition.

While most marketing materials and business quotes in today’s society are transmitted electronically to prospects and clients, there is an advantage in presenting these documents the old-fashioned way. Because of the haptic effect, physical materials stir in all of us, paper content has more emotional impact than digital content.

One way to do that is to design the marketing materials with heavier paper stock that is also tactically stimulating. Heavier documents will create a more serious and more important impression of your security business than lighter documents will (science has already proven this). There is also tactile stimulation to consider as well. Tactile sensations deeply influence our subconscious perception, so other characteristics of printed pieces should also be considered — texture, rigidity, embossing, debossing, etc. — will all have an effect.

Don’t misunderstand — I’m not saying to forego digital content, but with new prospects and clients, you should consider handing them paper marketing materials, such as business cards, proposals, brochures, free reports, free security audits, or any other marketing materials you offer to prospects and new clients.

These marketing materials are called persuasive content for a reason — they are designed to persuade folks to chose your security company over your competitors, so make sure you stack the deck in your favor!

SD&I Article Can Be Found -

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