But Today Is Supposed to be MY Day

Guest post by Beth Starkin, Peppercom 

May 4
Today is my birthday (for the record, I like vanilla cupcakes). Call me selfish, but I’ve always thought of my birthday as my very own special day. The one day out of the year where I make the all the decisions, do whatever I want, and no one bothers me. It’s a day all about me.

Alas, we’ve entered the digital age, where it seems everyone wants to co-op my birthday for their own profit. Starting weeks ago, the emails began rolling in. May 4th is coming up (like I’d ever forget – cake and gifts – it’s a big deal to me). We’ve noticed you have bought books by this author before and thought you’d like to know she has a new book coming out on your birthday! Or, Happy Birthday!  Purchase a flight before the end of the month and we’ll give you bonus miles as our gift to you. Or, this year, for your birthday, change your Facebook status to ask your friends to donate to your cause.  

Um, no. It’s not “Stop skinning baby seals for their coats day” (though I will say right now that this is a disgusting practice that needs to end, and it is one of my Facebook causes). It’s MY BIRTHDAY!

This practice of trying to glom on to my celebration, using stored data from past purchases and near and dear causes to get money from me, my friends and my family is intrusive, and, yes, I’ll say it, a bit tacky. If I’m interested in your cause or what you’re trying to sell, I’ll probably be more interested on some other day, at some other time, when I’m not so inwardly focused. Try selling to me then. For today, let me celebrate in peace.

5 thoughts on “But Today Is Supposed to be MY Day

  1. Thanks for the comments and birthday wishes. Couldn’t agree more that this is the worst kind of marketing, and unfortunately it’s here to stay. Too bad the marketers don’t understand that they are doing more harm than good by trying to shove the square peg of product marketing into the round hole of birthday celebrations.

  2. Thanks for the various comments about Beth’s blog. She’s on vacation this week and will respond when she returns Monday.

  3. I remember one tenet of effective promotion is delivering your message when the customer is most open to receiving it. You’ve just demonstrated how many companies are completely ignoring that guideline, and alienating you in the process. What many marketers don’t understand is that not every occasion needs to have a marketing opportunity behind it. Some are just sacrosanct.
    Happy belated birthday, by the way.

  4. Happy belated birthday, Beth! I agree with you in theory; I get irritated by all the “it’s your birthday month – take 10 percent off” direct mail offers that come flooding into my inbox and snail mail. This is marketing at its worst and, unfortunately, I don’t see it going away anytime soon.

  5. hey beth…happy birthday! if you could, please join “lunchboy’s lunchbox” on facebook and tell me about your birthday lunch! and every lunch for that matter.