Birthday Emails — Not Just For Restaurants

July 18th, 2008

I’ve discovered that the customer loyalty strategy of sending out birthday emails is largely relegated to the restaurant biz.

Dairy Queen, Orange Julius, Applebee’s and Bennigan’s are just a few of the brands that are using such campaigns to drive foot traffic into stores. The fast-food chains usually advertise birthday clubs on their homepages, while the sit-down joints ask for birthday info during the email signup process. Bennigan’s takes it a step further — asking for a ‘special occasion’ date as well as a birthday.

In all cases, people are sent either freebie, two-for-one or percentage discount coupons that can be redeemed for the days around their special days. They’re typically sent using a list segmentation functionality available with some ESPs.

Dairy Queen personalizes their offer (free Blizzard treat) by first and last name to encourage redemptions.

But it’s interesting to note that very few traditional retailers with full-fledged ecommerce initiatives are using birthday emails. A few months ago, ESP MailChimp announced that they had created an application for clients to send automated birthday specials.

“People who are asking us about the birthday-reminder tools are always restaurants, never retailers,” says Ben Chesnut, Co-Founder, MailChimp. “Retailers don’t seem to be using them at all.”

Ben agreed with my educated guess that birthday emails could effectively be used by non-restaurant retail entities as a customer-loyalty program. So, why aren’t they?

“Retailers are not starting up email marketing programs and thinking about how they can set up signup forms for birthday [captures]. They want to know if they can tie their shopping cart into their [email system].”

Categories: Consumer Marketing, Ecommerce Eretail, Email Marketing, Non Profit Fundraising, Offline Marketing And Advertising, Online Advertising, Online Marketing Tags: , , , ,

We no longer accept comments on the MarketingSherpa blog, but we'd love to hear what you've learned about customer-first marketing. Send us a Letter to the Editor to share your story.