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Email marketing in the era of the empowered consumer

Mari Hartemo (Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

ISSN: 2040-7122

Article publication date: 8 August 2016




The purpose of this paper is to clarify why, when and how e-mail marketing can be used to empower consumers and to give ideas for future scholarly research.


Systematic literature review studies 41 e-mail marketing and 54 consumer empowerment articles published in variety of academic journals between 1998 and 2014.


E-mail allows an active, interactive and personalized communication fulfilling the preferences of an empowered consumer. E-mail marketing can be used to empower consumers by sending e-mails based on permission, by making consumers active participants in the communication process and by making e-mails relevant for the recipients. However, current e-mail marketing strategies need to be updated to get the maximum benefit out of the channel.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of the study is the broad domain of research, which hampered the in-depth analysis. However, the study was able to synthesize the scattered literature and create an overall picture of the topic as planned.

Practical implications

The paper encourages managers to use empowering e-mail marketing strategies and presents several suggestions for future e-mail marketing research.


The paper uses a new perspective, consumer empowerment as a lens for understanding e-mail marketing. Because e-mail marketing is currently very popular among marketers but is threatened by its negative image among consumers, it is important to understand how e-mail marketing can be developed so that it can also survive in the future.



The author thanks Federation of the Finnish Media Industry and C.V. Ã…kerlund Foundation for funding the study, Reima Suomi and Ulla Hakala from Turku School of Economics and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments.


Hartemo, M. (2016), "Email marketing in the era of the empowered consumer", Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 212-230.



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