Proactive Data Management & Integrations: 4 Key Steps


Modern marketers use a variety of tools and platforms to run campaigns. But none of these tools works in isolation. One critical part of your marketing system is integration, ensuring that all your tools work well together. Seamless data flow helps create genuinely effective marketing campaigns.

However, integrating these platforms requires careful attention to your data. Poor data management can cause an integration to fail and make your job much more difficult. Today, we’ll be looking at a few reasons why integrations fail, and what you can do to avoid them.

Why Do Integrations Fail?

The primary reason for integration failures is unhealthy data. When marketers create new forms or import records without considering the data requirements of all integrated systems, they risk feeding incorrect data into these systems. This oversight can result in significant issues, including:

  • Incorrectly classified data: CRM systems may reject entries because they don’t meet predefined criteria. For example, an entry labeled “PC maker” might not be a valid industry category, or “not interested” might not be a recognized job level.
  • Segmentation issues: Incorrect (or incorrectly classified) data can cause segmentation to fail. If the CRM passes incorrect options, it can lead to inaccurate targeting and campaign execution.
  • Closed-loop reporting failures: Discrepancies in campaign names, company names, or other critical fields can disrupt reporting, making it difficult to track the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

These errors can result in lost records, impacting sales and marketing activities. Even in well-designed systems, a lack of monitoring can mean that potential problems go unnoticed for far too long.

Ensuring Integration Success

1. Robust Error Tracking

A successful integration begins with a well-defined error-tracking system. This system should:

  • Record every error that occurs, maintaining logs for several months
  • Automatically notify the appropriate personnel when an error is detected

2. Structured Import Processes

Establishing clear processes for data imports is crucial. This involves:

  • Defining stringent protocols for importing data
  • Ensuring these protocols are consistently followed

3. Thoughtful Form Creation

Form creation should be a deliberate process that prioritizes data integrity across all systems. Key steps include:

  • Developing a process for form creation that considers the requirements of all integrated systems
  • Testing forms to ensure that data flows correctly through the CRM and other systems, validating all common options, especially new ones

4. Assigning a Data Steward

When issues arise, having a designated data steward can make a significant difference. This person’s responsibilities could include:

  • Identifying and resolving integration errors
  • Investigating the root cause of these errors, whether from forms or imports
  • Communicating with the responsible personnel to prevent future issues
  • Implementing a “data washing machine” to convert incorrect entries into valid, generic options

Training & Clear Processes

Many integration issues stem from turnover with the accompanying loss of domain experience and the introduction of new team members. By implementing clear, documented processes, you can mitigate these risks. Ensure that new personnel understand how to:

  • Create forms that align with data integrity standards
  • Perform imports that adhere to established protocols
  • Maintain the health of your integration data

Stay Proactive

Every marketer wishes that integrations went smoothly every single time. However, the reality is that your marketing platforms and tools simply work with the data that they’re given. It’s up to you to make sure that the data they have is accurate and compatible with all systems involved. Proactive data management goes a long way toward keeping your integrations smooth and your future marketing campaigns streamlined.

To learn more about integrating your systems and ensuring data quality, contact 4Thought Marketing today.


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