A Birthday and a Marketing Lesson

Image of Thirty SignTomorrow is my birthday and I’ll be turning the big 3-0.

It’s odd how I don’t feel 30 but what is 30 supposed to feel like?

To me, it’s more of a psychological milestone. Only when I say, “I’m 30,” does it hit me.

But such is life. The days turn into weeks, weeks roll into months, and the months zip by years at a time.

We have to savor the present.

This article is just some birthday chat and thoughts about marketing as it pertains to birthdays. Normally I schedule my content a good deal in advance but I’m deliberately writing this one the night before it goes live (but my birthday is the 19th). I thought I’d have some wisdom to share.

But I’m just too distracted by nostalgia from my 20′s to be profound tonight :)

So…how about some chit-chat on birthday marketing?

Marketing and birthdays

There’s certainly a place for birthday-focused marketing. In agreement with Jens Berget, birthday marketing needs to strike a balance of targeting and relevance.

If you’re an app developer that created a Facebook birthday app, I’d say that’s a smart inbound marketing tool. People will look for some novelty app, share it, and happily use it to commemorate birthdays.

But if you’re in the funeral casket business and send me a postcard or letter on my birthday pitching me your product then I’d say you’re a bit off the mark.

When you’re Hallmark or some other greeting card company and you ask me to join your newsletter, I’d think it’s smart business asking for my birth date. If I were you I’d work hard to make sure there’s a process in place to target me with a special gift or offer on my birthday.

Why miss the opportunity to connect with someone on such an intimate day?

If Hallmark targeted you on your birthday, it would remind you that you’re a valued customer. It would also serve as a reminder that Hallmark (for example) is the go-to resource when it comes time for you to buy a birthday card for your friends and family.

As of late I’ve received some local restaurant coupons and auto repair gimmicks. Nothing all too exciting. They probably just pulled (bought) my name off some list because I know I didn’t opt-in for any of this.

But for someone you hold near, instead of an appetizer coupon or $5 off an oil change, you could kick things up by sending them a funny birthday video from Jib Jab. Check out that site because I think you’ll enjoy it; the brothers at Jib Jab know a thing or two about the power of viral marketing.

Let’s hear it

What 30th birthday jokes can you slap me with today? I’m waving goodbye to my 20′s; have you any wisdom to share to help me survive the next decade?

What are your thoughts on birthday marketing angles by snail mail, apps and email?


Photo: bicameral

36 Responses to A Birthday and a Marketing Lesson
  1. Marlee
    May 18, 2011 | 1:34 pm

    What!?! No booty dancing?! This is an atrocity to the interwebs. :)

    For me, 30 was a year of new perspectives…and authority. All of the sudden people automatically think you know something once you’re 30!

    Welcome to the club. Have a wonderful and blessed birthday. :)

    • Jon
      May 18, 2011 | 4:44 pm

      Thanks, Marlee! Woohoo people think I’m wise just for being 30? I’ll take it. I look forward to tomorrow and this weekend :)

  2. Robert
    May 18, 2011 | 8:01 pm

    Happy Birthday my friend!

    No doubt you’ll be in and around the blogosphere even though it’s your Birthday. Just looked at Jib Jab, saw some funny videos.

    I love how you can even relate marketing to your Birthday, your mind never switches off! But on a serious note, what a great idea that is, for example getting a local restaurant to save customer’s Birthday and send them out a “Special Birthday Discount” a week before or something. Love it, may be talking to my clients about that one! ;)

    Thirty is a young age, and that’s coming from a 22 year old :).

    Have a great Birthday and I’ll speak to you soon, hope you manage to have a little well-deserved “down-time” as well.

    Thanks for the continuing support you give to me and my blog.


    • Jon
      May 18, 2011 | 8:36 pm

      Hey Robert,

      Thanks man, just a few hours away :) Of course I’ll check in on things tomorrow – I can’t completely break away.

      You know, everyone keeps telling me that 30 is young and I feel young but it’s still a mental hang-up. Hehe. Yep, bounce some of these concepts off your clients and see what you can brew up.

      You’re welcome for the support. I’m glad you reached out for the interview.

  3. Hector Avellaneda
    May 18, 2011 | 9:23 pm

    Don’t mean to make you feel old bud but I have a good.. half a decade before I get to THE BIG 3-0! lol.. just teasing Jon, you’re 30 years young man. Unfortunately, I’m not on the other side of 30 so I don;t know if I can give you any credible advice. :)

    I loved what you did have to say about MArketing and Birthdays. It reminded me of a comment I made to one of my friends when I was in college.

    When I turned 18 years old I received my very first shaving kit from Gillete. It included a razor and a tiny (one-time) shaving cream bottle.

    I remember that when I first received that in the mail my first emotion was “Wow, they really care about me. They took the time to send me an actual product so that I can be clean shaven”.

    Now, that may not have been their intention at all and for all intensive purposes, it was just marketing, but guess what??? IT WORKED!

    It worked because I didn’t receive anything else from competitors and I’ve been using Gillete products ever since.

    Goes to show that a majority of people buy on emotion (remember the article I write on that?) but it also demonstrates the power that marketing can have when combined with personal events, like birthdays.

    I think those that understand the psychology of selling would agree that birthday focused marketing is an excellent strategy.

    • Jon
      May 19, 2011 | 9:58 pm


      I feel you on the Gillette love from way back. They do it right by sending that razor on the 18th birthday. Guess which razor I have sitting in my medicine cabinet right now? Gillette Mach 3 turbo. I never strayed.

      It’s fun to know we have that in common. Yep, sometimes emotion trumps rational thought. The more we learn about consumer psychology the closer we’ll be to accurately tracing supply to demand.

      • Hector Avellaneda
        May 19, 2011 | 11:00 pm

        Haha.. Gillette got is us both, pretty good!

        I tool have the Gillette Mach3 Turbo! It’s the best, hands down!

  4. Janet @ The Natural Networker
    May 18, 2011 | 9:44 pm

    Jon, aloha. Just want you to know that I was already prepared to wish you a happy birthday tomorrow because I learned it from your interview with Robert.

    Here’s a thought on marketing and birthdays for you. When I receive something from a company for my birthday, whether I use it or not, I always appreciate it. Also, I choose to see it as a positive sign that they are treating their business like a business by marketing to customers/clients and growing their base which will contribute to their staying in business. Jon, I always applaud such efforts.

    In terms of a joke, here are two quotes from Georges Clemenceau which dovetail perfectly your beliefs and your special day.

    “A man’s life is interesting primarily when he has failed – I well know. For it’s a sign that he tried to surpass himself.”

    “Everything I know I learned after I was thirty.”

    Jon, best wishes for a very special day. Believe me, the best is yet to come.

    Hauoli La Hanau, my friend. Janet

    • Jon
      May 19, 2011 | 9:54 pm


      Thank you – I know you listened to the interview and I appreciate your time. It’s nice to get to know and hear the people we link up with online, right?

      It’s important to value even the small gestures as you do. If a company reaches out to you on your birthday I’d say take it as a sign that they care enough to take that extra step. Sure, they may just scrape their database data to flag when birthdays come up and automate a lot of the process but it’s still an extra step. It isn’t required but it takes thought and care to target a person’s birthday.

      Quote # 2 is my favorite quote I’ve read or heard all day! Thanks for the heads up that it only gets better.

  5. Jeanine Byers Hoag @ Dressing My Truth
    May 18, 2011 | 10:53 pm

    I am in such a different place now than I was when I turned 30. And I think it’s different for women.

    When I turned 30, I threw myself a karaoke party and insisted that everyone wear black. One of my friends made an “over the hill” cake and several friends showed up with black armbands. Not because they thought I was old but because they knew I did.

    Now, I look back on that birthday fondly, not as the day I became “old,” but as a day when I was surrounded by love and was able to celebrate in a way that was special and fun.

    I hope your day will be special, too!

    • Jon
      May 19, 2011 | 9:51 pm

      Jeanine – Karaoke looks like a blast but I’m just not wired that way. I can’t do it :(

      I’m glad you look back fondly on it and see it for what it was: a celebration of you! Now let me see if I can allow myself to experience it in the moment rather than in hindsight.

      Thank you and it has been so far.

  6. Oliver Tausend
    May 19, 2011 | 2:39 am

    Hi Jon,

    congratulations to your birthday my friend.

    30. birthday jokes ? Well, all I can say is that you have to wait another 10 years until life really takes off – you are only preparing for higher heights at the moment. Napoleon Hill says that man only becomes successful from the age of 40 – before 40 they’re learning.

    That’s definitely not a bad thing to do, isn’t it ?

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Take care


    • Jon
      May 19, 2011 | 9:49 pm

      Thanks, Oliver.

      You know, it’s true. I’ve read stories of industry pioneers who didn’t reach their full strides until after they hit their 40′s. I’m a fan of trying to get a major head start :)

      Learning is a life long endeavor and it’s mind-blowing to think of the advancements we have yet to make, the changes this world will face and the lessons we’ll take away from it all.

  7. Devesh
    May 19, 2011 | 3:13 am

    Hi Jon,

    Happy Birthday, my friend. I hope you have a wonderful Birthday blast.

    I like your analogy about Birthday and marketing. Your post remind me of a recent birthday gift that my friend John Aguiar received from “PretzelCrisps”.

    Anyways, Thanks for sharing this awesome post and once again, happy birthday buddy! Keep up the rocking work.


    • Jon
      May 19, 2011 | 9:46 pm

      Hey Dev,

      Thanks – goodbye dear 20′s! Birthday gifts are always a treat when they come from the companies we give our business.

      I’ll keep giving my best :)

  8. Diana Simon
    May 19, 2011 | 4:14 am

    Hi Jon,

    Happy BIG 3-0! I hope you have a wonderful day.

    It’s nice how you tie it to marketing. I don’t know if this is related but it was what popped up when I read this post. Last year I transferred a large part of my funds from Bank A to another bank. Bank A usually never contacts me, no birthday cards or season greetings card. Nothing. Out of the blue, I got a call from their manager asking why I transferred my funds out.

    I was going to say, it’s interesting to get a call from you about this but never a birthday card! It clear shows that they were more interested in their business rather than that of a customer.

    That’s my gripe and if a business knows that the customer is king, a simple thing such as a birthday card on their special day would definitely make a difference.


    • Jon
      May 19, 2011 | 9:44 pm


      It was a good day overall. I enjoyed spending some time with family and I’m getting to bed early. Tomorrow night is going to be the celebration with friends but I’ll do my best to keep it tame.

      Your bank story is perfect. We are simple creatures and, at our core, easy to please. A CARD goes a long way in retaining our business. A card. Not a bonus check or a brand new car. Just a kind gesture to reach out and say, “Hey…thanks for choosing us. Here’s a little token of appreciation.” I have willingly and happily paid more money for a service (compared to its competitors) based on how the company treated me.

      Great to have you share here, Diana, thanks.

  9. Stuart
    May 19, 2011 | 5:11 am

    Hey Jon, happy birthday man! I bet 30 feels like the new 29 right ;-)

    It’s amazing, you have accomplished so much by the time you reach 30, yet you know there’s still so much to go. I’ll be hitting 25 in July, and although my girlfriend takes pleasure in reminding me that I’ll be ‘a quarter of a century’, it doesn’t feel much different. Just another year.

    Hope we still know each other when you hit the big 31 :-)

    • Jon
      May 19, 2011 | 9:40 pm

      haha! The new 29, nice one man.

      You know how it is with people like us, Stu. We sometimes get in those ruts thinking about what we haven’t accomplished yet and become discouraged. Thanks for the encouragement, I appreciate it.

      The quarter century was fun. It’s always amusing to look back at the milestones and say, “gosh, time flies.” Yes, let’s be sure to stay in touch, Stu.

  10. Jane | SEO Blogs
    May 20, 2011 | 8:41 am

    Hey Jon,

    Belated birthday wishes. I hope that you have had a great day and you should rejoice for becoming 30, I envy the 30s coz they are illuminating, and they undertake a sharp transition from casual to something more elegant. I actually look forward to become 30.

    I LOLed on the example of Funeral business people contacting you on a birthday. To me, marketing needs a lot of common sense.


    • Jon
      May 22, 2011 | 5:25 pm

      Thanks, Jane!

      It was a wonderful day and I spent the entire weekend just doing things for me. It was enjoyable to unwind and veg out for a change :)

      Ah, but wouldn’t it be nice if people used more common sense?

  11. Extreme John
    May 20, 2011 | 3:32 pm

    Belated Happy birthday Jon! Nobody can ever try to bully people at their 30s other than their kids– if they have kids. lol. But it’s fun to be in the 30s. Welcome to the club Jon. :D You’re right! It’s more of a psychological milestone. Think young and your feel young. I mean younger than 30 ‘coz 30 is still young.

    • Jon
      May 22, 2011 | 5:26 pm

      Hey John!

      Thank you. It’s great to still be considered young (I feel young, anyway). These are going to be some inspired and productive years and I’m happy to have closed the chapter of my 20′s. Exciting things lie ahead!

  12. Dr. Bob Clarke
    May 21, 2011 | 11:52 am

    Hey Jon,

    First, happy belated birthday. 30? Ha! I have shoes that are older than you! :-)

    I love getting birthday cards from my doctor, dentist or local merchant. It just kind of feels good knowing that they remember your day! And psychologically the next time I need to buy something and that merchant sent me a birthday wish, guess where I’m going to go?

    It’s smart for marketers to collect birth date information and use it appropriately.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Hope you had an awesome day!

    • Jon
      May 22, 2011 | 5:28 pm

      ha! Those are some old shoes :)

      You bet, I say if you’re going to collect that kind of information then use it to connect with your readers/subscribers on a deeper level. Thank you and it was a great day and fantastic weekend.

  13. Happy Birtday Jon,

    Your question about greeting card ideas is an easy one for me (THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY CARD AND GIFT SHOP). One of my sponsors sells websites that enable individuals and businesses to send printed greeting cards, customized with messages, photos, even videos connected to a QR code printed on the card, all from most internet connections.

    Jon, I don’t envy the many years you have left to live. Keep the faith and endure to the end!


    • Jon
      May 22, 2011 | 5:30 pm

      Thank you, Lou.

      Greeting cards are a blast and I received a few e-cards for my bday. The QR codes are starting to crop up everywhere and I’m fascinated by the way technology is advancing and meshing with marketing.

      Let’s hope the years I have yet to live are filled with faith, endurance, and happy thoughts and memories.

  14. Marcus Baker
    May 23, 2011 | 12:15 am

    Hi Jon,

    Belated birthday wishes to you. From reading your responses to the other comments I can tell you had a great day.

    30 seems so long ago for me now that I can hardly remember how I felt about it except that I am sure to have thought I was getting old!

    Time is precious, so doing whatever we can to make the most of life in whatever way that might be should be everybody’s priority and it seems you’re doing that Jon so well done and wishing you all the best in the years ahead.


    • Jon
      May 24, 2011 | 10:33 pm

      Thank you, Marcus. It was a fantastic day and weekend.

      Your wisdom is welcome and appreciated here – I want to make sure I have a smooth and successful 30 more ahead :)

  15. Terje Sannarnes
    May 23, 2011 | 6:48 am

    I know that an entrepreneur can easily benefit from birthday of their clients. It always makes sense to congratulate people with their birthday and remind about yourself in such a way. Also, some entrepreneurs provide clients with discounts on their birthday dates. It is an effective marketing technique that works perfectly.

    • Jon
      May 24, 2011 | 10:34 pm

      Right on! It is something I’ve seen work well even on me. I’ve replied to birthday gifts and coupons sent from companies on my birthday. Can’t argue with results!

  16. Adrienne
    May 24, 2011 | 12:48 pm

    Hey Jon, Happy Belated Birthday my friend!!! Sorry I didn’t make it over here sooner to wish you a great day! Sure hope you enjoyed it just the same.

    I vaguely remember turning 30, man that was a long time ago. Oh darn, I just told on myself. :-(

    I do pay attention in Facebook to the birthdays and I can’t even believe I didn’t wish you one. What the heck was so important on the 19th that I missed wishing everyone a Happy Birthday on their special day. Don’t feel left out, no one got a birthday wish from me that day. That rarely happens so I do apologize!

    I saw that Janet posted this same quote so here it is again.

    “Everything I know I learned after I was thirty.” ~ Georges Clemenceau

    All I can tell you is that I was so happy when that day arrived and I had shed the 20′s. Life just began..

    Enjoy your 30′s my friend. Trust me, you’ll be looking back one day and wishing they were around again.


    • Jon
      May 24, 2011 | 10:36 pm


      Thanks and no problem. I know how hectic things can be. In fact, I took a few days to step away from the PC because I just needed it and now I’m getting caught up as well.

      I know I’ll look back thinking I’m a child at 30 but I’m too busy right now trying not to mourn my roaring 20′s :)

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