Customer relationships improve with data integration

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Marketers are using more channels than ever before to effectively reach prospects and customers, including mobile, e-mail, the Web, social media, print and more. As the number of marketing channels used to promote our brand, products and services continues to multiply, so does the number of places used to store data about our target audience.

For example, a newsletter database of e-mail addresses might be uploaded to one system and a list of mailing addresses and personalized URLs in another. Text messages pushed out might be found in a separate silo, while the history between a company's sales reps and those same contacts has its own CRM system.

Marketers put themselves in a position to fail when all of those activities are stored in separate databases. If we do not have a holistic view of how our company has touched a contact or how they have interacted with us, we risk causing irritation and leaving a negative impression of our brand.

As marketers, new channels and tools excite us. A marketer for a credit card company, for example, recently obtained the ability to send text messages. This creates a powerful opportunity for the company to connect with the rapidly growing mobile audience. However, if the marketer were to send a general message selling their services to an existing customer, how would they react? Or, if someone responded to an e-mail campaign because they liked information about a certain topic but the brand's direct mail pieces continue to push unrelated details – would this draw them closer to the brand? Of course, not.

Integrating data from multiple channels helps ensure our marketing efforts have a positive effect on our audience. This type of integration offers benefits to the sales team. Before calling on a prospect, imagine the sales member being able to easily see every touch and interaction they've had with that company, including whether the prospect downloaded any white papers from the website or if they had registered for an upcoming open house. Seeing this type of prospect snapshot in one place can create conversational opportunities for a sales rep, but it can also help to deepen the relationship and engagement between the company and the individual.

John Foley, Jr., is the founder and CEO of interlinkONE.

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