This puts a premium on matchback programs that not only provide response reports, but also identify those customers who respond to catalog mailings and come from nonmailed sources or offers.
Those responding to catalogs then can be put on contact strategies appropriate for catalog responders, while the nonmatches are sent fewer, if any, catalogs. To accomplish this, the information must be returned to the file so when you “pull” customer records for a mailing, you can tell the difference between pure Web buyers and catalog-driven Web buyers.
On average, 40 percent of business coming through — not from — the Internet can’t be traced to a specific source code. In addition, there’s another 20 percent miscellaneous, untraceable factor. This means approximately 60 percent of your orders can’t be tracked to a specific source or key code.
Often, lists are made up of heavier Web buyers that may look like they don’t work well prior to a matchback when they’re actually profitable. Without a matchback, you’d never know this, and any testing would be wasted. You could feel it’s difficult to find prospect lists that work, when in actuality you’ve already found good lists to add to your list continuations.
On the other hand, you might have lists that look like they’re falling off, or your total rentals look like they’re trending downward. This could just be a result of heavier Web sales. It sounds simple, but without knowing the level of performance of all segments mailed, you could be led to some false conclusions that will influence your marketing strategy and other decisions. A matchback will keep you on track and give you confidence in the results needed to make sound circulation judgments.
Co-mailing (offline) is another recent development that contributes to the untraceable factor and the need for matchbacks. This is the process of co-mingling catalogs with other catalogs to qualify for more mailing discounts. With offline co-mailing, only the back cover can be ink-jetted with the name, address and source code. The order form inside the catalog cannot be ink-jetted. So you lose the ability to trace the order if faxed, mailed or called in.