In an integrated configuration, there are two databases involved: your integration (AMS/CRM) database and Communications Professional. The power of the integration is the ability to move data between Communications 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?
Communications Professional establishes a connection (often referred to as a bridge) that allows Communications Professional to directly communicate with another application or database. Your subscribers’ information is accessed in real time, pulling their data into Communications Professional. Communications 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.
Communications Professional regularly synchronizes (syncs) with your integrated database. Communications Professional checks for new email addresses that should be brought into Communications Professional from the integrated database. The result of a sync is either the creation of, or the updating of, a subscriber in Communications Professional.
What can also occur, depending upon the integration, is data is sent from Communications 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,” Communications 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 Communications 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 Communications 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 Communications Professional so that only one subscriber record exists.
Managing email addresses
Because you have two databases, you should understand how this affects subscriber information – especially email addresses. Your integrated database is the source for the subscribers' email addresses. Even if you change an email address for an integrated subscriber, in Communications 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 Communications Professional.
If the data is coming from the integrated database, then the change needs to be made there. If, however, you are also using Communications Professional profile info fields to augment your personalization capabilities, then those changes are made in Communications Professional.
- Only update information for subscribers that reside in the integrated database in the Integrated Database directly.
- Communications 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 Communications Professional. For example, email addresses can be pushed to Communications Professional as an automated import, a mailing can be created and sent, and reporting data can be retrieved from Communications Professional.