My point isn’t to solicit a bunch of “happy birthday” greetings (but I’ll accept them). What I have appreciated today are birthday cards, emails, and Facebook messages from friends, co-workers, and family (and yes, from Rob). It means a lot when someone remembers your birthday (or is prompted by a web page)… but the point is that the greetings are sincere and personal. Warm fuzzies all around.
I opened my email this morning and must have found at least a dozen “Happy Birthday” messages from companies or websites I have previously signed up for. You know what, I could care less that “Pepsi” is wishing me a happy birthday. I don’t even drink Pepsi. I could care less about their greeting, I’m no more likely to buy their product because of their email. That smells like the “waste of overproduction,” making corporate birthday greetings that don’t mean anything to me. At least it doesn’t cost anything to receive email, other than a few seconds to delete the messages. Maybe Pepsi was trying to give me a free 12 pack of Diet Mountain Dew and I missed it.
Now, I may get accused of birthday “humbuggery.” No, I’m not upset about having a birthday, far from it. The automated corporate emails got me thinking about the thought process behind those. They have your birthday, so the marketing department thinks it’s a good idea to spam the “consumers*” (warm fuzzies and/or $$$ will result) and the IT department says it’s easy (I assume). A little automated script, a database, and there you go. But did anyone ask “SHOULD we email our customers (or potential customers)? Will the customers care?”
Because to me, cheap corporate automated nothings don’t mean anything. No warm fuzzies there. Emails and greetings from real people, not from marketing departments, are what matter.
* On another note, I really hate being called a “consumer” and the message behind that — but we’ll save that topic for another post.
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