Creative Cage Match: Battle of the Birthday Wishes
There’s a reason that pro-wrestling is so popular — and it’s not just the juicy drama and bespangled costumes. People love a good fight, and have for millennia, dating back to the gladiators of Rome and beyond.
So, once a month I’m going to select two marketers and toss them into a Creative Cage Match. I’ll be looking at everything ranging from email to direct mail, website to mobile site. It’ll be a mix of objective and subjective, and each time a marketer will walk out of the ring triumphantly.
I turned 34 less than two weeks ago, so let's take a peek into my inbox to look at a couple of birthday wishes I received from marketers. I had quite a few to choose from, but decided to pass on showing you the one from my dentist (also, who wants to think about their dentist on their birthday?).
In this corner we have my bank, Capital One 360. Yes, the same Capital One that has the credit card commercials starring Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Garner, and asking, "What's in your wallet?"
Across the ring we have Friends of Laphroaig, a unique loyalty program that begins with the booklet tucked into each tube that houses the Islay Scotch whisky. Within the booklet is a unique purchase number ... once you register it, you become a member of the Friends of Laphroaig and are granted your own square foot plot of land at the distillery (mine is plot No.685730).
So, two very different marketers ... let's see how they did with their birthday wishes to me.
Email vs. Email
First up is Capital One 360, with the subject line "Happy Birthday from Capital One 360!" All right, not very interesting, and the focus is on them, not me.
I opened it anyway, because it was my birthday, and birthday mornings are meant to be spent drinking coffee on your best friend's couch and reading email (No, just me? Okay).
The message is very "banky," but not terrible. Slightly flattering, calling me wiser and smarter, since obviously I'm thinking about my financial future (according to them). Below the message sits an image that indicates there's a video to watch. So I did.
The video is cute, and to be honest, more than I expected. It wasn't personalized, and the clickthrough from the email takes you to Capital One 360's YouTube page, which makes sense. We can't all be special snowflakes in CapOne's world. That said, it was my birthday ...
Now let's shift gears from banks to booze, Islay Scotch whisky to be exact. Fun fact: I don't drink Laphroaig, I bake with it. Its smokiness pairs perfectly with chocolate, as well as vanilla. Perhaps if you ask me nicely, I'll send you a recipe.
I joined the Friends of Laphroaig in late 2014, so this is the second birthday email I've received from them to date. The email's subject line, much like Capital One 360's, fails to put the emphasis on me and use personalization (unlike other emails I received from DSW and ThinkGeek, who both used my first name).
It reads "Happy Birthday from Laphroaig," and gets lucky, because I always open emails from my favorite Scotch distillery.
While both marketers fail to put me in the spotlight of their subject lines, Laphroaig's message definitely puts the focus on me. It makes notice of my plot number, as well as my time spent being a Friend of Laphroaig.
There's a mention of a birthday card (ooh, I love cards!), but I continue to read through, since there's the mention of a present! Yes, that's right, I received a 10 percent discount — good for three months — to be used in the Friends of Laphroaig online shop.
Hey, Capital One 360, where's my birthday present?
The email also includes an image of Laphroaig 10-year (my baking whisky of choice), and is signed by the Master Distiller, John Campbell. I enjoy these little touches. And then, the birthday card:
So who won the Battle of the Birthday? Bank or booze?
While both marketers need to get their subject lines in shape (hello, snooze fest), they both provided something special: a cute birthday video from Capital One 360, and a personalized birthday card and promo code from Friends of Laphroaig.
In the end, I have to pick Friends of Laphroaig. I feel like I received a more personal message, even though I can almost guarantee it's a template that uses personlization. But it doesn't necessarily feel that way.
And that's what is important. Your customers should feel special ... especially on their birthdays.
Want to suggest some potential Creative Cage Match marketers, or do you just like snooping in my inbox? Either way, comment below, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!