Special Report Matchbacks
Before starting the matchback process, do have your matchback vendor run both your mail tapes and the order file through standard address correction software. Standardizing addresses in both files will significantly improve your match rate. That is, instead of making the program try to match 1234 Hazel Grove Lane and 1234 Hazel Gr Ln, both your mail tapes and your orders will have the same software-approved layout.
Don't forget to create instructions. We've found that because matchbacks can be extremely complex, it's best to create written instructions for your matchback vendor. These will provide both parties with clear guidelines and expectations. Start your instructions with basic information from the files discussed above (e.g., mail quantity, total sales). You'll add to these instructions as you go through the steps detailed below.
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.