Follow these three steps to integrate your data and achieve a marketing operations peace of mind:
1. Figure Out Which of Your Platforms Should Be Integrated, and Why
A common place to begin is between your marketing automation system and your customer database/CRM, to further align your sales and marketing data and processes. To look at it from another point of view, ask yourself if the inconsistent data currently living across your multiple platforms is preventing you from working effectively.
2. Sort Out Your Field Mappings
Field mappings are probably the most critical part of any data integration project. Go through your key fields to look for any inconsistencies (such as in the above example) and note them down for each platform. Additionally, determine a hierarchy of your systems to figure out which system should “own” certain fields in the case of an inconsistency.
3. Understand and Plan for Risks
One huge obstacle holding marketers back from diving whole-hog into a data integration project is the crippling fear that their data may get screwed up if they “mess with it.” Whether you’re attempting such a technically challenging project on your own or reaching out to data integration specialists, make sure that you have a master record created before, during, and long after the initial sync.
Think broadly about the term “marketing data”: it could very well just be data regardless of the source. BTW: MIA from this list is establishing WHY you need all the data in one place (what will it do for you?).