A comparative analysis of attitudes toward and responses to email and postal direct mail advertising

Caroline Staub Garland, University of Texas at El Paso


Over the past decade, we have seen significant increases in Internet activity and the adoption of new digital technology for sending and receiving communications. According to numerous reports, email now accounts for over 70% of Internet activity. As Internet usage has increased, Internet advertising, and in particular email advertising, has evolved from simple-text, untargeted mass mailings to visually sophisticated highly-targeted interactive communication. ^ This study sought to compare and examine attitudes toward and responses to two forms of permission-based direct advertising – online direct mail campaigns to traditional, postal direct mail campaigns to determine what are the qualities peculiar to email advertising and its adopters and attitudes towards this medium that have lead to its adoption, acceptance, and possible preference as a channel of marketing communication. Self-administered surveys were sent via email and postal mail to a randomly selected sample of 400 supporters of a National Public Radio station housed at a large southwestern university. ^ Results showed that online direct mail was not more likely to be responded to by study participants than traditional direct mail, did not generate more positive attitudes than traditional direct mail, and was no more likely to be read than traditional direct mail advertising. However, online direct mail advertising was viewed as prompting more radio station membership renewals, particularly among email survey respondents, suggesting that that online direct mail advertising may result in more sales than traditional direct mail.^ In examining the affects of demographics on the effectiveness of advertising media delivered through either online or direct mail, results showed that demographics make a significance difference in responses and attitudes, particularly in perceptions of convenience and ease-of-use of email advertising.^ Keywords. Direct mail advertising, email advertising, permission-based marketing, advertising effectiveness. ^

Subject Area

Speech Communication

Recommended Citation

Staub Garland, Caroline, "A comparative analysis of attitudes toward and responses to email and postal direct mail advertising" (2009). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1465274.