Your birthday as a “horizontal event”

Many cards imply a birthday is a good time to get horizontal with a significant other, but I recently learned that in marketing terms a birthday is an official “horizontal event.”

According to ZenithOptimedia’s Richard Shotton, a boost in sales can be vertical (linked to events happening at a set time and affecting a large group of consumers, such as Halloween) or horizontal (tied to annual events that happen at different times for each customer, such as birthdays).

The company examined the impact of birthdays on spending by interviewing 1,000 people about buying for themselves and the occasions that prompted the purchase.

The interviewees were far more likely to purchases clothes, watches and jewelry around their birthdays — for themselves. “Happy Birthday to Me!” Right?

Some 60% of survey respondents also specified the gifts they’d like to receive from others. The bigger question, the survey did not discuss, is whether the husbands listened…

Marketers are also learning to send birthday campaigns over email to ramp up revenues, and to use the Facebook birthday information to target advertisements to users, Shotton noted.

He concluded saying that birthdays can mean happy returns for companies that invest in appropriate marketing. I believe him. I remember every birthday going to Baskin-Robbins with my family to enjoy my free scoop of rainbow sherbet. Today I’m happier with my Panera birthday pastry or Starbucks free chai.

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Tell me, what’s the best birthday marketing ploy you’ve experienced?


4 thoughts on “Your birthday as a “horizontal event”

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