In an integrated configuration, there are two databases involved – your database and Marketing Automation Professional (MA Professional). The power of the integration is in the ability to move data between MA Professional and your database in a timely and predictable way. It is helpful to understand not just how the integration works, but also where the data comes from and where to edit it.
How does the Integration Work?
MA Professional establishes a connection (often referred to as a bridge) that allows MA Professional to directly communicate with another application or database. Your subscribers’ information is accessed in real time, pulling their data into MA Professional. MA Professional only pulls and stores, email addresses and a unique ID for each person from the integrated database. Personal information, like first name, age, or annual spend, is requested in real time from your database, when necessary.
MA Professional regularly synchronizes (syncs) with your integrated database. MA Professional checks for new email addresses that should be brought into MA Professional from the integrated database. The result of a sync is either the creation of, or the updating of, a subscriber in MA Professional.
What can also occur, depending upon the integration, is data is sent from MA Professional back to the integrated database in the form of a writeback. For example, if your integrated database supports a field for something like “Do not contact via email,” MA Professional sends an unsubscribe writeback to update that field in your integrated database.
In addition to the sync process, subscribers can also be brought into MA Professional via a file import. Usually this is for a list that’s needed for marketing communications, but is not appropriate to be in the main database. Subscribers brought into MA Professional this way are not pushed into the integrated database.
The Source column in a subscriber listing, indicates if a subscriber came from the integration or an import.
If a previously imported subscriber record is subsequently found to match the same email address for a synced record, the unique ID from the integrated database will be added to the subscriber record in MA Professional so that only one subscriber record exists.
Managing Email Address
Because you have two separate databases, you need to be cognizant of how this affects subscriber information – especially email address. Your integrated database is the source for the subscriber’s email address. Even if you change an email address for an integrated subscriber, in MA Professional, the next sync will overwrite the email address with what’s coming from the integrated database.
If you are editing a subscriber record that comes from the integrated database, you won’t want to use the Subscribers > Edit Subscriber menu option to change their email address.
Managing Personalization Data
Managing personalization data also requires an awareness of knowing if the data is coming from your integrated database or MA Professional.
If the data is coming from the integrated database, then the change needs to be made there. If, however, you are also using MA Professional profile info fields to augment your personalization capabilities, then those changes are made in MA Professional.
- Only update information for subscribers that reside in the Integrated Database in the Integrated Database directly.
- MA Professional can only create integrated preference management forms for some integration partners.
- Subscribers uploaded via spreadsheet will not be pushed to the integrated database.
There is another type of integrations called “API Integrations.” These are built to communicate with a custom or “in-house” database and can be configured to do a variety of things with MA Professional. For example, email addresses can be pushed to MA Professional as an automated import, a mailing can be created and sent, and reporting data can be retrieved from MA Professional.