Matchback Do’s and Don’ts
Do quick checks prior to matching back. Check that your matchback vendor has the correct mail counts, particularly if you’re using a different vendor from your normal mail processing vendor. The vendor should provide a report of name quantity by mail drop from the mail tapes. Check it against your final merge/purge records for each mail drop to be sure the numbers match.
Do check that the total dollars and number of orders from the sales file that your matchback vendor uses matches your idea of total sales for that time period. If you run a gross sales report and it shows, say, $850,000, be sure the order export file also totals about $850,000. Don’t sweat small differences, which can be caused by exchanges and returns. But your totals should be close enough to help ensure that the correct data are going into the process.
Do decide what kind of output you need. This might seem like it should be the last step, but you’ll find that determining the format of what you expect post-matchback will help you define the criteria for the process, itself (see below). These reports should include sales and orders by mailed group and mail drop, as well as key performance indicators, such as average order value, response rates, percentage of breakeven or contribution, and sales per book mailed.
Don’t forget to define your matchback logic. Typically, mailers will match back unknowns and Internet orders only because they assume all keycodes captured during order entry were captured accurately. But if you suspect you’re having problems with accurate keycode capture in your contact center, consider matching all orders against the mail tapes. Compare the matched-back keycode with the captured keycode to assess the extent of the capture-rate problems.
Do decide how often and when to perform a matchback. How often you choose to do a matchback will depend on your mailing frequency, budget and planning cycle. Many large direct marketers, particularly those with retail channels, do matchbacks as frequently as once a month. But for smaller mailers, I recommend you do a matchback at least once a mailing season, for example, spring/summer, fall/holiday or whatever seasons fit your mail plan.