Reminding Me of My March to Death Doesn’t Count as Targeted Marketing

Automated emails are great right? Well as a consumer, I turned a year older yesterday, and no, they aren’t great.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an afraid of the grinding, predictable march of time kind of gripe.

It’s the meaninglessness of the birthday messages kind of gripe. Nintendo, Virgin Giving, countless forums I am signed up to (and one dating site I didn’t) all pushed out an image heavy birthday message ‘personally’ addressed to me yesterday.

Red dart popping balloonDo I care? No.

Does anyone care? Let’s examine this as a possibility. This person would:

  1. have to be naive to the fact that their name, birthdate and email address sit in a database somewhere, and when that birthday pops up, an automated birthday email pops out, or
  2. be the kind of cretin who really appreciates the fact that that automated database is acknowledging a birthday.

Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should too

It’s this kind of meaningless drivel which gives personalised marketing a bad name. The whole thing devalues the process of remembering and celebrating the birthday. In fact, it’s just like those pointless birthday messages you get on Facebook. You know that alert you get telling you it’s someone’s birthday? YOU DO KNOW EVERYONE ELSE GETS THAT TOO? RIGHT? It renders the meagre “happy birthday” that pops up on your wall almost insulting… at least think up something I’d like to hear!

*That last paragraph definitely does not apply to anyone reading this who did actually wish me a happy birthday on Facebook yesterday, I know you meant it.

Give me value, as well as recognition

So what’s with the marketing agenda to celebrate my birthday? There’s no value attached to it for me, there’s nothing contained in these emails to fill me with joy, get me involved, make me feel appreciated. The Nintendo one actually just reminded me that I’ve more definitely than ever arrived at an age where I  shouldn’t be getting birthday emails from computer game consoles any more.

Instead, they should aim to give me what I tend to get from my lovely friends: cards picked out with knowledge of what I like, messages embedded based on our previous interactions, and gifts. Lots and lots of high value gifts.

And if I was in a dark mood about getting older, which I definitely am not, what is a birthday but another marker on the journey to the inevitable grave? Do you really want your brand associated with that?

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Saul Sherry

Saul Sherry

Head of Content, Nuffield Health

Saul Sherry is Head of Content at Nuffield Health.

Saul helped to launch and run TFM&A Insights for the best part of 2014, also covering the TFM&A and eCommerce Expo.

February 12, 2014

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