Personalized email marketing in loyalty programs: The role of multidimensional construal levels

Junzhou Zhang, Yuping Liu-Thompkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Loyalty programs offer unique opportunities for firms to personalize their marketing communications to consumers. However, limited attention has been paid to how consumers’ actions within a loyalty program can be leveraged to design effective personalized messages. Addressing this gap, the current research investigates how tier level and goal distance in hierarchical loyalty programs can dictate varying responses to cognitive vs. affective message designs. Through two lab experiments and one field study involving real email campaigns from an international frequent flyer program, we show that the two components work jointly through a Boolean-like mechanism to determine a consumer’s mental construal level. A lower construal level results from simultaneous low tier and distance, which leads to a more favorable response to affective message appeals. In comparison, when either or both of tier level and goal distance are of high magnitude, the resulting higher construal level favors more cognitive message appeals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-216
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Construal level theory
  • Email marketing
  • Loyalty programs
  • Personalization


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