From manually integrating data sources to marketing automation

From manually integrating data sources to marketing automation

Sometimes marketers request a data file for a campaign, upload the file, and then send an email to the resulting list. This has become uncommon yet still exists. Manual processes like these are slow and often induce error.

The FileZilla interface when connecting the FTP to SFMC to do data imports and exports

The FileZilla interface when connecting the FTP to SFMC to do data imports and exports

Fortunately, manual imports and exports have declined. With companies spending efforts on automated integration, efficiency and security continuously increase.

The required volume and frequency of data synchronization is typically too high to do manually

There was a time when manual data extracts on every email campaign were possible. But going from monthly newsletters to more frequent mailings, that doesn’t work. 

You would have needed daily manual updates. Since that process requires significant work hours, it’s easy to see why it’s an efficient approach. 

Now, throw in factors like opt-outs. You would need to check these manually before each campaign. That would be too time-consuming and extremely stressful. Otherwise, this could lead to spam complaints. 

Also, we recommend that you avoid bought lists. Many countries forbid their use because of privacy regulations, and they can damage your sender reputation.      

How often should my data sync? 

How often your data should sync depends on the use case:

  • If it is to build a report, a sync probably doesn’t need to happen more than the cadence of which you report, and a weekly batch sync might be sufficient.
  • When you actively segment your database to do various targeted campaigns, you will likely want rather fresh data. A daily batch might be sufficient in most cases, as long as there could not be communication-sensitive things happening within a 24 hour span. For instance, maybe a customer just submitted a complaint about service, in which case you’ll want to think twice about sending a promotion. If the latest is an issue, real-time might be the better option.
  • For always-on journeys, you will most likely need real-time integration.

Are there cases I could still consider doing manual imports or exports? 

Manual imports and exports are rare, but they still may be needed. Here are some examples:

  • Imports from legacy databases during data migration
  • To reach a specific audience using additional data only available in your DWH and not SFMC 

Manual imports and exports also come with security concerns

Something people still don’t understand is that FTP should be considered legacy — it’s no longer secure. That also applies to SFTP (secure FTP). 

People may share passwords with colleagues or outside the company. Therefore, identifiable users are what security protocols prescribe. Yet this is rarely applied in the context of FTP, leaving companies exposed.

How do I know that integration is secure?

  • Your IT Security department can help. You can also investigate a third-party honest broker. That’s what your IT Security department would do.

How to integrate data sources into SFMC without code

In summary, to enable marketers to integrate nearly any data source into SFMC without code, you need:

  1. A no-code integration solution
  2. A plug-and-play setup
  3. More flexibility and supported use-cases 
  4. Tech like webhooks that offer a great variety of integration possibilities 
  5. An integration owned by Marketing (as opposed to IT) 
  6. Automated processes (preferably real-time).

With this, you can reduce technical dependency, increase go-to-market speed, and unlock exciting new use cases for campaigns!

That’s exactly why we created DESelect Connect, the no-code integration solution for SFMC.

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