The marketing manager was suspicious. The pay-per-click Web campaign results looked too good. A matchback revealed that 40 percent of the campaign’s customers, representing 60 percent of its sales, had actually received a catalog before placing their orders. Scary, isn’t it? That’s just one reason why order tracking still matters.
Here’s another: The chart accompanying this article is a real — and typical — example of key code capture rates. This unnamed cataloger captured key codes for 46 percent of its orders that represented 62 percent of its sales. Untracked data represented 54 percent of its orders and 38 percent of its sales. The vast majority of the untracked orders came from the company’s Web site.
A matchback identified the key code for 35 percent more of these orders and 31 percent of the sales. This process increased matched orders to 81 percent and matched sales to 92 percent.
The matchback isn’t perfect, but which set of data would you rather use to plan your next campaign?
The Matchback System
The matchback process was once shrouded in mystery. You needed a mainframe with a high-end programmer. Today, you need a working knowledge of Microsoft Access and a laptop. If you lack either, you can outsource the service to any number of companies. In its simplest form, a matchback mirrors a dedupe process. You simply append the key codes from your mail-file records to their match key dupes on your order file.
If your customers have a multilayer order process, the matchback gets more complicated and requires a few more steps. You may mail your catalog to an engineer in one facility, for example. Then, a purchasing department in a different city places the order, and the order is shipped to the manufacturing plant in yet another town. Tracking that source key code makes Rubik’s Cube seem easy. But like solving the famous puzzle, your matchback just requires a system.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.