Getting too personal: Reactance to highly personalized email solicitations

Tiffany Barnett White, Debra L. Zahay, Helge Thorbjørnsen, Sharon Shavitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalMarketing Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Consumers
  • Email
  • Personalization
  • Reactance
  • Relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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