Matchbacks are a way of life for catalogers today. This process of having your order file “matched back” against your recent mail tapes to give credit to the proper source or key code on a list-by-list, segment-by-segment basis has become fairly routine. They’re the only way to tell where customers are coming from and which source key codes should be given credit for the sale. Without matchbacks, it’s not uncommon to trace only 30 percent to 40 percent of your orders to a specific key code.
But the matchback process is hardly a perfect science. There are issues with date ranges, the logic used, timing, multiple catalog titles and more. So this month, let’s get up-to-date on matchbacks and how you can improve your process.
How They’re Done
The process matches back orders to mailings using merge/purge logic. It allocates unknown orders back to mailed records based on customer-provided source codes, customer numbers, merge/purge results, catalog in-home dates and order dates. The summary report includes source or key codes, total catalogs mailed, total orders, total dollars, average order sizes, and dollars per book.
To perform a matchback, you typically need specific data on the following:
• mail files from the appropriate time frame;
• a listing of all valid source or key codes, such as print mailings, e-mail campaigns, affiliate marketing, bouncebacks, catalog request (inquiry) mailings and others; and
• order header records for the appropriate time frame — desired fields include name/address, customer number, source code, order date and order amount.
There are more records that can’t be matched to a mail file due to increases in search and affiliate Web marketing. Buyers from these channels tend not to be good catalog buyers. Therefore, catalogers often reduce the number of catalogs they mail to these buyers. Catalogers also often eliminate mailings to one-time Internet buyers. Unlike typical catalog shoppers, these consumers tend to be item purchasers.