The answer to truly effective marketing lies in match rates

Simon Bloom, sales operations director UK, Relay42, believes match rates have become a key indicator of marketing success.

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Online marketers have always been partial to employing buzzwords as part of their vernacular, and one of the most recent to have been popularised is ‘match rates’.

In much the same way that they used to obsess over the importance of ‘engagement rates’ (and, in the case of many, still do), match rates – which essentially help to identify the percentage of customers that businesses are able to accurately target across multiple different devices – have become a significant indicator of overall marketing success.

Golden chalice

Despite this, there are those that don’t quite see match rates as the golden chalice that much of the industry considers them to be, including Terry Chen, product manager for Adobe Analytics Cloud. He takes a much more sceptical and critical stance towards them, and proclaims them to be nothing more than a number.

Of course, while match rates might be seen by others as a means to deliver accurate and relevant messaging across all touch points of the customer journey, that is all they are. Basic cookie matching will not suffice for marketers using a data management platform (DMP), nor are they accurate enough to establish a successful one-to-one, personalised targeting and messaging strategy across all channels.

However, despite all that has been said, match rates still have a central role to play in the success of consumer marketing. In fact, when used in the right way, they can be an incredibly effective tool.

As marketers continue to veer away from mass communication methods and move towards hyper-personalised targeting across a variety of channels, match rates are essential in making sure those tailored messages are reaching the correct individuals. By simply disregarding match rates as an irrelevant metric, businesses are opening themselves up to the possibility of the wrong messages being sent to the wrong people.

At first, the consequences of a faux pas such as this might seem trivial, but the problem can evolve into something that could potentially be disastrous. For instance, let’s say that a company creates a display campaign with an exclusive offer for new customers, but they accidentally show it to existing customers. Some of these existing customers will find themselves frustrated and disappointed once they realise an attractive-looking offer isn’t available to them – someone that would otherwise be a valued customer. Thus, these customers are left feeling dissatisfied and underappreciated, and their personal loyalty to the brand in question is also dealt a significant blow. And for your business, this means wasted media budget spend – budget you could have saved. That’s detrimental to your ROI.

In essence, match rates are in place to ensure something like this does not happen, and they are of particular importance to companies that typically have high customer retention rates, such as banks or mobile phone providers. With more data to draw from and more opportunities for creative, personalised communications, these companies can foster deep-rooted relationships with their customers that provide the perfect foundation from which marketers can begin to engage and communicate with them on a personal, human level.

Match rates can also help to take this another step further, by sustaining these communications across various marketing channels and cross-pollinating them in a controlled setting across all business back-end systems. From the perspective of a marketer, this equates to confidence and control, while customers are also able to benefit from relevant and consistent communications. The upside for your business is that a high, accurate match rate will save media spend by orchestrating communications based on customer value. That seems like a win-win scenario.

Observing from a distance, the whole idea of marketing as a concept is to make your brand appear distinctive in the eyes of your target audience and to sell them things they believe are valuable. However, without using match rates properly and effectively, this suddenly becomes much harder to achieve. While some might incorrectly see match rates as ‘just a number’, they are numbers that can revolutionise how marketers work and engage with their customers when implemented, approached and utilised properly. This, in turn, will help customers access the right product or service, at the right time, in the right context.

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