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Data integration also isn't a finite process. As you collect and use the information, your database will grow. Young recommends you plan to handle response and campaign data for a good three to five years.
Above all, when integrating your data into a central repository, make sure you have permission to use the information you have for all other marketing efforts, not just for the promotion from which it was obtained, notes Fitzpatrick. This permission, she adds, needs to be governed at the record level.
Focus on Quality
When integrating data sources, McClary recommends you do an analysis of each customer touchpoint that includes how data is collected, how accurate and fresh it is, and how it's constructed. During this analysis, you may find some data sources are refreshed or more accurate than others. If age and gender data are needed, for example, you need to determine if that field is fully populated and, if so, what is the quality of this information.
You also may find that some data are available from more than one source. If you collect data online, at a retail point of sale and via a customer service center, you will have name and address data, and possibly other data, in all three databases.
At this point you'll need to define business rules that determine what data take priority if they are available from more than one source. For example, do you keep an address recorded during a recent call center activity or from an NCOA change?
Moving forward, you need to have a discipline regarding data collection that is consistent across all channels. For example, says Fitzpatrick, if age is an important data element, collect a customer's date of birth rather than asking for an age range, and do so across all channels. Not only does this assure data consistency, but it also ensures your age data doesn't become outdated.