My Branded Birthday: Birthday Marketing Online

I know I’m in the extreme minority but I don’t quite get the idea of celebrating birthdays (my own). I mean, I didn’t do anything to merit celebration. I was just born and I didn’t have anything to do with that. I’m not really a curmudgeon about it, but, you know, there it is.

So, today is my birthday but the only reason you are reading about it is that I noticed my inbox filled with birthday greetings from businesses and it struck me that birthday marketing online would be a good topic about which to blog.

The following are the birthday emails from my inbox:

Happy Birthday Inbox

From Fora.tv I got this nice, simple email:

Fora.tv Happy Birthday Email - 05/14/09

Electronic Arts wished me a happy birthday with 25% off at their online store. Great deal, considering how expensive video games are.

EA Happy Birthday Email - 05/14/09

Caribou Coffee sent me the following email seven days before my birthday so I had a whole week to think about Caribou and the free drink they promised me. Notice, too, the nice job they did with branding the very phrase “Happy Birthday” with “Happy Bou Day” and with the pun: We “herd” it’s your birthday soon. Nice touch.

Caribou Happy Birthday Email - 05/14/09

And Facebook, of course, does it’s birthday marketing year round through the useful function of reminding you of your Facebook friends’ birthdays so you can wish them well on their day. When you’re day comes, you anticipate your friends returning the favor.

But in addition to your friends, Facebook also wishes you well with a home page greeting:

Facebook Happy Birthday Greeting - 05/14/09

Now, with the exception of Facebook friends, all of the above messages are automated and everyone knows it…but it’s still nice and it is a relatively simple marketing tactic to implement.

And by comparison, the lack of a birthday greeting is glaring: Where’s the love, Twitter? Flickr?

Facebook’s birthday reminders themselves are a birthday marketing tool, a way to brand yourself and build goodwill. Even if you’re like me, someone who doesn’t really place much importance on their birthday, everyone appreciates the thought. So I do make it a habit to post to my friends’ Facebook walls on their birthday, often with a birthday song…

…which, by the way, is a great way for the Ting Tings to market themselves because I’m sure many people, as a friend of mine did today, send that video with their birthday wishes.

Lastly, one of the many great things about working at Tunheim Partners is that you get candy on your birthday. Four candy bars were at my desk when I arrived to work this morning. Notice the football laces on the back of the Snickers bar for this football fanatic:

Happy Birthday Candy Bars From Tunheim Partners

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.