STUDY: Want to Build Brand Loyalty? Remember Your Customers’ Birthdays!

Every October, my virtual and real-world mailboxes begin filling up with birthday greetings not just from friends and family, but also from brands: I get many-an offer for a free gift or a special discount just for being me. Of course I’m very aware that this is all a marketing ploy, but it does make me feel good, so it’s a gimmick I don’t much mind falling for. And apparently I’m not alone.

According to the latest online survey conducted by analytics and marketing technology provider Fulcrum, nothing let’s a customer or client know that “you like them, you really, really like them” quite like a personalized birthday greeting.

The survey found that nearly 74 percent of consumers who received birthday messages from a company they do business with felt more positively about the company afterwards. A whopping 88 percent of those positive reactions directly translated to increased brand loyalty.

An 88 percent increase in brand loyalty? That’s a birthday wish well worth the effort!

And when these birthday greetings and offers came from the food and beverage industry, the results were even more positive — apparently, finding that there is such a thing as a free lunch (or at least a discounted one) is a very welcome surprise. Ninety-two percent of consumers receiving birthday greetings from food and beverage establishments like Starbucks and Ruby Tuesday thought more positively about the company, and 96 percent reported an increase in loyalty. Ninety-six percent!

And while a discount or special offer appears to be the best way to bolster birthday-related brand loyalty, nearly all birthday greetings received favorable consumer responses; a full 70 percent felt that their opinion of a company was positively affected simply by being wished a happy birthday — no freebee involved. Why? Because building a positive consumer relationship has always been about making the customer feel special and valued, so it makes perfect sense that one of the most common ways we, as individuals, make one another feel special and valued (recognizing birthdays) could be easily and successfully utilized by marketers. It almost seems too simple to work — but clearly, it does.

“While marketers who recognize their customers’ birthdays assume the message creates an even stronger relationship with them, our consumer research confirms the positive influence on both the brand’s image and future sales to that customer,” said Tara Piazza, senior vice president at Fulcrum, in a news release. “Firms deploying campaigns to celebrate their customers’ birthdays tighten consumer relationships while also creating the opportunity to market additional products and services.”

As with every relationship, it’s the little things that count.

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