Find Your Perfect Match(back)
Performing matchbacks—determining the source of a sale for which you don’t have a source code—is a complicated process. It’s a science that is evolving, growing increasingly complex, and yet does not come with a set of industry standards, asserted Susan McIntyre and Terrell Sellix, president and vice president of marketing respectively, at consultancy McIntyre Direct, during a session on the topic at last month’s DMA06 Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco. However, it’s still an essential part of developing sound marketing strategies.
While the presenters could not offer a simple formula for matchback gold, they did deliver 10 very helpful, must-perform steps that everyone involved in this process should consider.
1. Decide your matchback philosophy. Ask yourself such questions as: Will you assign uncoded orders to e-mail? to search? Will you allow single-source or fractional allocations? And how will you determine percentages? These decisions will be integral to developing your matchback rules, and will aid in consistency across all matches.
2. Determine how much you’re willing to invest and at what point will the cost of matchbacks outweigh the benefits to your bottom line. You should consider simpler matchbacks rather than high-level—and expensive—ones, if the ROI just isn’t there.
3. Identify marketing channels to include and omit from your process.
4. Start with relevant data, including sales data (e.g., name, address, customer ID, date of purchase, order total), mailing and promotion dates. Specify what information you want to include and ignore to cut down on the amount you get back, and provide clear instructions for your vendors. Also, run both mail tapes and order files through address correction software. This will greatly increase the amount of matches you can make.
5. Define matchback logic, such as date ranges and which code a sale will be matched to if there are multiple choices. Run periodic tests to make sure the logic is working.
6. Do a quick check prior to running a matchback to make sure your vendor has correct mail counts and that you are starting with the data you think you are.
7. Check that total dollars and number of orders match internal information. Small differences can be attributed to returns or exchanges, so determine a level of differentiation you’re comfortable with.
8. Decide what kind of output you need.
9. Then carefully review output samples to make sure it’s what you were expecting.
10. Decide how often and when to perform matchbacks. This will depend on such factors as time, promotion frequency, philosophy, file size and budget.