This morning my partner, a woman whose name is neither Jonah nor Bloom, received an email from our home loan provider with the subject line ‘Happy Birthday, JONAH.’ (I normally go by ‘Jonah,’ but I am thinking of adopting the delectably shouty upper case version.) Upon opening the email she was greeted with the image above and congratulatory copy regarding my achievement of having stayed alive for another 365 days.
Given that we have made likely the biggest financial commitment of our lives to this institution — which incidentally recently sold the servicing of our mortgage to another institution, a fact it declared out of the blue on 3 impenetrable pages of dead tree smeared with inky legalese — wouldn’t you think they could get our names right?
You might also expect that a bank would demonstrate some competency in the arena of data, but alas the digits they chose to act on are inaccurate, or being used inaccurately. It is not my birthday. (It is not her birthday either.)
Perhaps the lender in question might also give some thought to the choice of someone’s date of birth as the moment for what is presumably meant to be a loyalty-boosting communication. I don’t much care about my birthday, but I believe most people regard these things as cheery, upbeat affairs, rather than moments to be reminded of the towering financial obligation that tethers them to the drudgery of their day jobs.
Does a bank have to join every other unimaginative marketer on the planet in seeing a birthday as absolutely the best trigger for a marketing message? I mean why would any brand try to deliver on all those super clear wants and needs that we all signal continuously, when instead it can make an awkward attempt to force fit its way into a once-a-year celebratory life event? Is there any data at all to support the idea that this is a more effective trigger than, say, absolutely anything else? I doubt it.
Finally, if I am wrong and the data actually suggests this is an effective use of an organization’s time and money, maybe you could send the celebrant something more inspiring or entertaining than a stock image of a bunch of attractive young people laughing huge belly laughs because sparklers. (What self-respecting adult hasn’t almost wet themselves on account of a tiny, handheld firework?) Or maybe not, I mean while you’re reminding me that I have 20 more years of paying for my home, you may as well make sure I know that I am aging, unattractive and pyrotechnic-free.