An Empirical Examination of the Effects of Permission, Interactivity, Vividness and Personalisation on Consumer Attitudes toward E-mail Marketing
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctoral of Philosophy
The major objective of this study is to explore empirically the effects of permission, interactivity, vividness and personalisation upon attitude, behavioural intention and recommendation to e-mail marketing (the latter two variables being proxies for behaviour). The proposed model is based on the integrated framework of Fishbein and Ajzen's Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), Triadis's Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) and Rettie's 2002 Basic E-mail Response Process Model. For data collection, qualitative and quantitative studies were used. The qualitative results from four semi-structured interviews reveal New Zealand enterprises' strong trust in permission-based e-mail marketing and how they implement it as one of their marketing strategies. The quantitative component presents and empirically tests the proposed model in terms of a personalisation (presence/absence), interactivity (low/high) and vividness (low/medium/high) (2*2*3) between-subjects factorial design, where subjects were exposed to an e-mail advertisement for a mobile phone. From 650 responses collected by clicking on an e-mail link through an online web survey, the data was analysed with analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Based on strong suggestions in the literature and findings in the qualitative study on the importance of permission-based marketing, attitude toward permission e-mail was examined as one of the dependent variables in the quantitative study. Results reveal similarities and differences in the effects of interactivity, vividness and personalisation respectively between the low and high attitude toward permission based e-mail marketing groups. Although significant effects of interactivity on attitude and behavioural intention were observed, the nature of those effects proved contrary to the author's expectation. In terms of vividness, results showed significant effects on attitude and behavioural intention in both groups as anticipated. Conversely, personalisation was shown to have no effect on attitude and behavioural intention in any group, however, a positive effect on response rates was indicated. Two three-way interaction effects between interactivity, vividness and personalisation on attitude toward brand and friend recommendation were found only in the high group. This study strongly encourages e-mail marketers to respect their customers' privacy and to employ a permission-based marketing concept within their business strategy. The design of the e-mail (moderate to high vividness) and personalisation (use of recipient's name) are indicated to have a positive impact on the effectiveness of an e-mail ad. Future research should examine a permission-based marketing construct as a longitudinal study, and investigate personalisation at a higher level (based on recipients' preferences).