Marketing Letters

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 39–50 | Cite as

Getting too personal: Reactance to highly personalized email solicitations

  • Tiffany Barnett WhiteEmail author
  • Debra L. Zahay
  • Helge Thorbjørnsen
  • Sharon Shavitt


Research on the effects of personalized messages on consumers’ behavioral responses has yielded mixed findings. We explore how e-mail personalization influences click-through intentions. Our results suggest that consumers experience personalization reactance in response to highly personalized messages when the fit between the offer in the message and consumers’ personal characteristics is not explicitly justified by firms. Consequently, consumers are less willing to respond favorably to the offer. Results of two studies suggest that this effect primarily emerges for consumers who perceive the utility of the service to be relatively low. For those consumers with higher perceived utility, justification of personalization is less important because highly personalized messages are less likely to elicit reactance.


Personalization Reactance Relationships Email Consumers 



This research was supported by a grant from the Teradata Center for Customer Relationship Management at Duke University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiffany Barnett White
    • 1
    Email author
  • Debra L. Zahay
    • 2
  • Helge Thorbjørnsen
    • 3
  • Sharon Shavitt
    • 4
  1. 1.College of BusinessUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  2. 2.Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA
  3. 3.Norwegian School of Economics and Business AdministrationBergenNorway
  4. 4.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

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