Have A Birthday Campaign? Don’t Make This Mistake!

Imagine this: It’s your birthday. You check your email and see a message from your bank. “Happy Birthday from Capital One 360!” says the subject line.

Lots of businesses send out birthday greeting to their customers, often with coupons or free offers. Hey, maybe the bank is giving my savings account some extra interest!

Of course, that’s not what banks do for birthdays. And while I appreciated the thought from Capital One, their birthday email got a couple of things wrong. If you’re thinking of launching a birthday campaign, learn from this big brand’s mistakes.

First, One Thing They Got Right

Here’s the whole email:

The one thing I like about it and have to give them props for? Their cheerful tone. It’s cute and light without deviating from their brand. And it’s appropriate for a birthday wish.

Now, onto the not-so-good things.

Fail #1 – The Video

I’m a marketing nerd (you kind of have to be to blog about email marketing as your full-time job!). So I got kind of excited to see Capital One integrating video with their birthday wish. I was curious to see what they’d do.

I clicked the link and pressed “play.” I hadn’t read the YouTube description yet. And an inspirational message about the importance of happiness unfurled across the screen, stop-motion style.
Okay, this is kind of cool. When do we get to the birthday part? Wait, we don’t? Then I read the description:

“This short video stems from our list of Savers Resolutions, where the number one resolution is: We will spend more time with the people in our lives who matter most – and spend less money on things that really don’t matter at all.”

It wasn’t a birthday video at all! It’s just something they recycled from a previous campaign.

Now, I’m all for repurposing content. But this is the wrong way to do it. At least edit the YouTube description with a “Happy Birthday” wish. Or upload a new version of the same video with “We wish you happiness on your birthday,” tacked on as the last frame. Give it something to make it relevant to my day!

Fail #2 – So Impersonal

The second fail is probably worse than the first – the sign-off. “Enjoy many more, Saver.”

“Saver?” Really? May I direct your attention to my first name in the opening? Clearly they know who I am.

This email would have been much better off with a personalized closing. “Enjoy your day, Rebekah.” There. Was that so hard?

You’re wishing me a happy birthday and my name isn’t “Saver.”

What’s The Lesson?

Personal communication goes a long way in making your customers feel valued, especially in a birthday greeting.

There was nothing personal about this email, aside from the fact that my date of birth is in their system. It’s not always just the thought that counts. A little personalization – and a quick and simple tweak to their video – would have saved this email.

What about you? Have you received a half-hearted birthday greeting from a company? Are you guilty of maybe sending something like this yourself? What did you learn from the experience?