Like death and taxes, birthdays are inevitable. And whether or not you like celebrating them—yours or anyone else’s—companies sure do.

I find it intriguing how companies are using birthdays as to get personal, get business, and get engaged with their customers. Apparently with great success.

A little digging uncovered that, indeed, there is an entire “birthday marketing strategy” that can “nurture and strengthen relationships with the customers by giving something for free on the customers’ birthday or during a birthday month.”

Which explains why my birthday offers last month ranged from 3x the VISA points for every dollar spent to 20% off all NIKE purchases over $100. Aveda offered for me to “pick a present” while the golf shop at my home course offered a 30% discount.

Here’s the trick. Birthday marketing appears personalized, but it’s nothing more than automated emails triggered by the customer’s birth date. (In case you’ve ever wondered why companies are always asking for your DOB.) The customer feels special, but really, this kind of mailing couldn’t be easier.   

And yet, everything I read says these campaigns:

  • Have high click-through rates,
  • Enhance the brand in the customer’s eyes,
  • And build customer loyalty.

Which means they make money. “Well-designed birthday marketing raises a brand’s income from a long-term perspective because it gradually turns subscribers into loyal clients,” according to SendPulse.com, an online messaging platform. And I thought I was the one getting the gift.

One company took an interesting tack, telling me three days before my birthday that I had to hop to and take advantage of their deal quickly. They actually had the nerve to say, “Your time is almost up!”

Tell me about it.