If you’ve been wondering why Discover and Cole Haan are suddenly wishing consumers happy birthday this season, here’s why: It makes it that much easier to track their spending habits, says Miro Copic, a marketing professor at San Diego State University, who spoke to SmartMoney’s Kelli B. Grant about the trend.”People who might otherwise be reluctant to sign up for an email list, ‘like’ a retailer on Facebook or interact with them on Twitter are often more willing to hand over that personal information for a birthday gift. ‘A birthday is a great way to say something and deliver a message that’s a little more personal,’ he says. ‘It adds a little humanity to the marketing.'”
So are these birthday offers, like a $25-off coupon at Aveda spa, worth signing up for? Sure are, says Grant. Often these deals can be combined with other coupons, making them perfect for winter babies with a birthday check to burn. They also offer an incentive to break out of your scarcity mindset brought on by the recession and live a little.
All things considered, you’ll get what you pay for, and as with any service in which you don’t pay any money upfront, you’ll be handing over personal data for the sake of scoring a bargain. You’ll also get a flurry of emails that might drive you slightly insane.
Finally, with restaurants skimping on freebies and deals, be aware you’ll probably score cheaper nachos, but not a free sundae.