Direct Selling: Making a Match
The more elements you allow into the key, the more restrictive it becomes and the more likely under-matching is to occur. Variations on the above will tighten and loosen the key to match more or less records. The key TR 58 FX 662 will match the same records as the key in the paragraph above, but also would match a Travers at 5802 Foxhole Rd in ZIP code 66208. The point: Keep as tight a matchkey as possible to allow maximum matching without significant false positives.
Still, even tightly defined matchkeys often will produce less than 50 percent match rates, so don’t be discouraged when your perfect key doesn’t open every door.
If Orders Don’t Match, Why Mail So Many Catalogs?
If matchbacks typically produce low hit rates and merely a portion of uncoded orders are being attributed to catalog mailings, it only makes sense that the catalog programs should be scaled back, right? Not so fast.
More than one catalog mailer has learned the hard way that you can’t just cut catalogs because you think they aren’t producing return; sales will most certainly plummet with the circulation cuts. But how can you be sure that the same principles apply to your business? Simple: statistics.
Correlation analysis will quickly shed light on the effects of your mail programs on overall orders and sales, and generally confirms the findings of the USPS and even Britain’s Royal Mail: Catalogs drive the lion’s share of online order activity. To see the effects of your catalog mailings on online ordering, run a correlation analysis using Microsoft Excel’s Data Analysis Toolpak.
But before you begin, let’s make an assumption. Consider the reason your call-center phones ring with customers wanting to place orders. What, for the most part, causes customers to call and order? Your phones ring because you mail catalogs—so you should be able to correlate the order activity on your Web site with the order activity from your call center and come up with a reliable metric to build upon.