We all know that personalizing your print marketing materials with someone's name yields higher open and click-through rates, but have you ever wondered why? It has to do with the way our brains work, and it's why name personalization will remain part of the marketing landscape for years to come.

Making the Brain Happy
From the moment we are born, our names become an integral part of our identities, and scientific studies have found fascinating links between human attention and the mere mention of our names.

When we hear our names, a cascade of cognitive processes occurs within our brains. One such phenomenon is called the "cocktail party effect." Even amidst a cacophony of voices in a crowded room, our ears can quickly tune into someone mentioning our name. Our brains are wired to give preferential treatment to stimuli related to our identity.

Let's Hear it for the Prefontal Cortex!
Research using functional imaging (FMRI) has shed light on the neural mechanisims underlying this phenomenon. One trailblazing study found that when participants heard their names, specific brain regions associated with self-processing and memory retreival lit up. These regions, including the medial prefontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex, play a crucial role in creating a sense of self-awareness and consolidating memories. When they are engaged, the brain is more attentive and focused.

Names carry emotional and social weight, as well. In another study, researchers found that hearing one's own name activated the same brain regions as those associated with rewards and pleasure.

Tapping the Marketing Gold
This is why name personalization is marketing gold. Simply by using someone's name in personalized communications, you can break through and enhance engagement. When you use their names, customers and prospects pay more attention. Their brains respond with heightened activation, drawing them into the present moment — in this case, focused on the communication in front of them. It might only be for a split second, but in the marketing world, that's enough!

Adding someone's name to a headline, body copy, or an email subject line is a simple process. It takes a little extra time in the design stage, then our workflow and digital presses do the rest.

Want to learn more? Just ask!