I got weird birthday marketing - do you? Six tips for getting better advice.


My birthday was last week. I had an absolutely wonderful day filled with love and yellow flowers to combat Seattle grey and me being stuck in bed after having feet (yes, both of them) surgery.

I also got a lot of weird marketing pitches. Does that happen to you? 

OK, I can deal with my orthodontist and optician sending me birthday texts. They obviously have a system and think this counts as customer engagement (i.e. maintaining our...not sure what to call it. Mutual dependency?) And if you're a little blue like me because you're missing your family in NZ, or you're isolated due to Covid or even just lonely, they can make you feel connected to the world. 

I can cope with the random coupons in the mail. I've found it hard to get off mailing lists of retailer and I was the one who idiotically gave my details out years ago. My bad. 

But the weirdest thing was Facebook. 

Whatever you think of FB, it has it's uses. I belong to a few online communities, including the awesome F Bomb Breakfast Club for women entrepreneurs and it's my global address book. I also use it to ask women to be podcast guests (if you identify as female/non binary book a slot, I'd love to talk to you)

I tend to accept all friendship requests from women, unless when I check their home page it's a) dodgy or b) all about promoting some multi-level marketing or commission based sales i.e. no signs of an actual life. As long as you're a woman, you're fine by me. I don't post anything personal on my page, anyway, just a ton of dog/lake/sunrise photos. 

But on my birthday, women I didn't know messaged me like crazy. And I got a ton of Happy Birthday messages from essentially strangers. 

I guess I can understand the happy birthday posts from barely-connected-to-you acquaintances on my page. Facebook serves as my birthday calendar as well and it's nice to brighten someone's day. I'll assume good intent, if a little odd. 

But what was up with the birthday sales pitches? I'm not complaining, I'm curious. Good attitude for life, by the way. 

I got six direct messages from women with identical messages. 

"Happy birthday! Any fun plans for the day?"

Translated - let me start a conversation after which I will offer you a product/service. 

I unfriended them all. Tough love. 

One was more bold. 

"Happy birthday! As a gift, here's a discount on my product X. I use it and it is great etc.

I gently suggested this came under spam. I want to encourage and support women in business. She said it was just the same as sending a coupon in the mail. 

But it isn't.

Social Media is SOCIAL, people. You might as well walk up to someone at a party and thrust a flyer at them. While they have their hands full with birthday cake, a French bulldog and a cup of tea. 

Who the heck is teaching these women marketing? 

It should be Tess Ball or Maureen Jann or Michelle Tresemer among others. Or you could try me. Yes me, I'm pretty damn good at seeing what your customer sees. 

So, here's the question for you. Where are you getting your advice from? 

If you are seeking some wise counsel on anything from a birthday cake recipe to how to get clarity in your life (see how I snuck that in?) then take a good look at them. 

1) Do they make/have an awesome birthday cake/life//business/relationship? 

2) Do they understand what kind of cake/life/business/relationship you want? 

3) Do they know what ingredients you are missing/challenges you are facing?

4) Are they able to give you a simple, easy to follow recipe/action plan?

5) Do they stick around while you bake/cheer you on? 

8) Most importantly, do you trust them to care how your cake/life/relationship/business turns out? 

Here's to genuine birthday wishes, helping women connect in real life and having what you need in your personal pantry. 

Aroha (love) Erin

Ps. If you are missing an ingredient, call me for a complementary listening session. As in I listen to you. And yes, ingredient is a metaphor. If you can't find a time that suits, email me and we will sort it out - erin@erinkeam.com

Photo by Robert Anderson on Unsplash


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