Consumers' Attitudes toward Unsolicited Commercial E-mail
and Postal Direct Mail Marketing Methods: Intrusiveness,
Perceived Loss of Control, and Irritation
Ricky R. Roulston
Data Analysis Methods
Utilizing Psychological Reactance as the framework, the study presented in this article sought
to comprehend the nature and significance of consumer perceptions in relation to two primary
direct marketing methods: unsolicited commercial e-mail (spam) and postal direct mail. Par-
ticularly, audience opinions of advertising intrusiveness, detected loss of control (as perceived
by Psychological Reactance), and annoyance in regards to the direct marketing methods were
examined. The outcome of this survey study (N=119) suggested that participants saw spam as
more intrusive and annoying than postal direct mail. The study lent to the concept of Psycho-
logical Reactance by suggesting that participants did not perceive a loss of control concerning
unsolicited commercial e-mail, therefore Psychological Reactance was not amply corroborated
in the frame of reference to these marketing communication methods.
PRIMARY QUESTIONS ADDRESSED
Some of the questions addressed in this article are as follows: the definitions of Unsolicited
Commercial E-mail (Spam) and Postal Direct Mail (Direct Mail).
1.Spam is defined as any commercial electronic communication from marketers that con-
sumers did not request.
2.Direct mail is defined as any unsolicited postal mail piece in which the sender has the inten-
tion of selling products and/or services to the receiver.
The study in this article also describes three determinants that may foretell consumers' feelings
in regards to direct marketing communication methods concerning the utilization of direct mail
1.Perceived Advertising Intrusiveness-can be described as the level in which an undesired
marketing communication intervenes with an individual's intellectual capacity to perform
operations and tasks, in addition to the hindrance with media contents not to mention inde-
cent material. From the perspective of consumer privacy, intrusion can be described as in-
fringement upon an individual's solitude, as well as the intrusion upon one's private matters.
2.Psychological Reactance-is unwanted direct marketing communication announcements that
may enhance the feeling of loss of control in consumers' minds. For this study, discerned
loss of control can be described as the level to which a consumer senses a loss of control in
managing their projects because of intrusive ads.
3.Irritation Caused by Direct Marketing Communication-the third factor that can be influen-
tial on consumer attitudes towards advertising is the level of annoyance. For this study, the
construct of ad irritation is based on the definition proposed by Aaker and Bruzzone (1985):
the negative, impatient, and displeasing feeling of individual consumers caused by various
forms of advertising stimuli (Morimoto & Chang, 2006).
The study presented in this article brings into comparison audience opinions of advertising in-
trusiveness, loss of control, and irritation for direct marketing and spam that can point to the
repercussions anticipated by Psychological Reactance. Although both direct mail and spam have
been a significant influential factor in recent direct marketing methods, there has not been very
many quantitative investigations that associate the influences of both direct mail and spam on
consumer attitudes in relation to direct marketing communication methods (Morimoto & Chang,
2006). In order to recognize the greatest cost effective combination of direct marketing commu-
nication methods in which to efficiently obtain their...