Modelling e-mail marketing effectiveness – An approach based on the theory of hierarchy-of-effects
Ángel José Lorente Páramo, Ángel Hernández García, Julián Chaparro Peláez
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Despite the importance and pervasiveness of e-mail marketing, improving the effectiveness of e-mail marketing programs continues to be a priority for most businesses due to their revenue-generating potential.
However, the study of e-mail marketing has been mostly neglected by academic research. More notably, the lack of holistic approaches and conceptual frameworks to tackle this challenge stand in the way of helping companies to better plan and deploy their e-mail marketing strategies and campaigns. This study addresses this issue by proposing a comprehensive model for the study of e-mail marketing effectiveness based on the hierarchy-of-effects theory. The effectiveness model is built by linking the stages of the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) model to the sequence of steps that consumers undergo when they interact with promotional e-mails. This approach allows identifying different partial effectiveness metrics associated with the cognitive, emotional and conative stages, which are later operationalized through key performance indicators with widespread adoption in the industry (open rate, clickthrough rate, retention rate and conversion rate). Thus, attention is linked to open effectiveness, interest is linked both to click effectiveness and subscriber retention effectiveness, and action is linked to conversion effectiveness. The stage of desire is dropped from the model because it usually takes place outside the e-mail marketing process. The study includes a practical illustration of the adequateness of the framework based on data and results from prior studies.
KeyWords: Digital Marketing, E-mail Marketing, Hierarchy-of-effects, Online Advertising, Effectiveness, AIDA 
DOI: 10.5295/cdg.191094ah
Lorente Páramo, A.J., Hernández García, A. and Chaparro Peláez, J., 2021. Modelling e-mail marketing effectiveness – An approach based on the theory of hierarchy-of-effects. Cuadernos de Gestión, 21(1), 19-27. DOI: 10.5295/cdg.191094ah
JEL Classification: M31, M37

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