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A Content Analysis of Direct Marketing Emails
Unformatted Document Text:  2 A Content Analysis of Direct Marketing Emails Businesses and organizations often struggle to find effective use of Internet technologies. Email, given its one-to-one communication characteristics and its ubiquitous use by Internet users, its implementation as a strategic communication tool is thought to hold the potential to get access to consumers with fewer barriers. More and more marketers have embraced this technology to acquire consumers, inform them of their new product, and activate consumers’ direct response to the message. However, the effectiveness of email marketing has been questioned by marketers, and it is often dubbed “junk mail” by consumers. As email marketing grows, the volume of commercial emails sent explodes and inboxes overflow, as referred in Tezinde, Smith, and Murphy (2002)’s study that U.S. customers will receive over 1,600 commercial messages per year by 2005, up from 40 messages in 1999 (Jupiter Communications 2001). Even though it is consumers who may sign up to receive email in many categories and with multiple companies, problems often occur when emails come as a mass excessively, which turn out to be a kind of online clutter. Perhaps the most controversial issue is centered on that the distinction between spam and permission marketing can become very blurred and confused when the consumers’ right to opt in or opt out is largely ignored. One reason for a consumer to receive a lot of opt-in emails that seems irrelevant is partially because some firms can reap the consent of nearly every Website visitor. These firms take advantage of inattention, cognitive and physical laziness, and visitors’ tendency to view the default option as the standard, popularly endorsed, or correct answer (Bellman, Johnson, &

Authors: Jin, Yan. and Cameron, Glen.
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A Content Analysis of Direct Marketing Emails
Businesses and organizations often struggle to find effective use of Internet
technologies. Email, given its one-to-one communication characteristics and its
ubiquitous use by Internet users, its implementation as a strategic communication tool is
thought to hold the potential to get access to consumers with fewer barriers. More and
more marketers have embraced this technology to acquire consumers, inform them of
their new product, and activate consumers’ direct response to the message.
However, the effectiveness of email marketing has been questioned by marketers,
and it is often dubbed “junk mail” by consumers. As email marketing grows, the volume
of commercial emails sent explodes and inboxes overflow, as referred in Tezinde, Smith,
and Murphy (2002)’s study that U.S. customers will receive over 1,600 commercial
messages per year by 2005, up from 40 messages in 1999 (Jupiter Communications
2001). Even though it is consumers who may sign up to receive email in many categories
and with multiple companies, problems often occur when emails come as a mass
excessively, which turn out to be a kind of online clutter.
Perhaps the most controversial issue is centered on that the distinction between
spam and permission marketing can become very blurred and confused when the
consumers’ right to opt in or opt out is largely ignored. One reason for a consumer to
receive a lot of opt-in emails that seems irrelevant is partially because some firms can
reap the consent of nearly every Website visitor. These firms take advantage of
inattention, cognitive and physical laziness, and visitors’ tendency to view the default
option as the standard, popularly endorsed, or correct answer (Bellman, Johnson, &


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