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Mailbox Monday

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At B Direct, we enjoy getting direct mail.

Really. There's no punchline coming.

We actually get excited when we receive unsolicited direct marketing. And, we enjoy critiquing it even more!

So we were thrilled when one of our favorite production partners, Matt Magnarelli at Q1Media, sent us a package his wife recently received.

The outside of the piece wished Mrs. Magnarelli a personalized "Happy Birthday," while the mail panel teaser advised her to "Open Immediately. Complimentary Gift Cards Enclosed."

The first reveal was set up like a letter, again wishing her birthday happiness and explaining that local businesses wanted to help her celebrate. She was advised to activate her special gift cards by going online and using a unique activation code. She was assured that there was no cost involved, and that activating the cards would only take a minute.

Below the letter panel was a line-up of the businesses included in the package, displayed by their eight logos. Again, she was encouraged to go online and activate her special birthday offers.

When the piece was opened completely, each local business was represented with color photography and a die-cut gift card. Each card was personalized. And, the special offers totaled a value of nearly $200. The cards could be perfed off to redeem, and each included a bar code and a QR code on the back (along with some unavoidable disclaimer text).

Here's what we like:

• Tons o' personalization. The recipient's name appears 10 times!

• Good use of life event marketing. Who doesn't enjoy getting a birthday greeting?

• Gift cards with genuine value. The $20 restaurant cards are actually worth $20. (Not $20 off your $120 check. Audible sigh.)

• The die-cut and perfed cards are tempting from a tactile perspective. It's hard to resist pulling them off and putting them in your wallet.

• Online activation is as simple as they promised.

The format is easy to customize for different sponsor businesses and recipients. The package is a good idea and a great use of digital variable data production.

Our only word of caution is that for a package that is this thoroughly personalized, the mailer has to be very sure that their data is bulletproof. (In this case, our colleague Matt confided that his wife's name is spelled ... um ... less than correctly.)

Aside from that, the Bs give it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Happy Birthday, indeed!

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