Everybody knows that data is valuable. In fact your database is probably the most valuable asset your company has – sorry to disappoint you but it’s no longer you! Integration is simply one of the most valuable actions you can take – that’s why, if you’re not already integrated, it should be your 2nd new year resolution for 2015.
What is integration?
Integration essentially allows your Sign-Up.to marketing activity to communicate with your other data applications. It means your data is automatically synchronised across all of your business functions. I can’t stress it enough. Sharing common data across all of the people, functions, and applications in an organisation is a fundamental game changer.
What are the benefits?
There are lots of reasons why an integrated data environment is a good idea, but let’s keep it short.
Firstly efficiency. You’d be surprised how many people use XLS/CSV or other methods to manually transfer their data between applications. Manual data transfer is labour intensive, time consuming, and highly prone to error. Apart from the inefficiency it also raises serious concerns about things like security, maintenance and disaster recovery.
Secondly consistency. Data changes. Mobilising your data across all of your applications means that you’ll always have the most up to date information available for use, whatever application you are running. It also provides multiple validation points, vital for keeping your data clean across multiple user platforms.
And thirdly, effectiveness. There are many aspects to working effectively but I see this primarily in terms of insight. Collecting data for data’s sake just fills up your storage. On the other hand, gathering information which allows you to better understand your customers makes things like behavioural marketing and real time automation possible, and this is where your marketing starts to get really exciting.
So what should I integrate?
Your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the obvious starting point, allowing you to update your contact and customer interaction details, but depending on the nature of your business there are a number of other data applications which you should consider integrating.
For online retailers these include eCommerce applications like Shopify, Magento and others. Mobilising the data from online activity is ideal for powering recovery processes for abandoned shopping baskets. Purchase data is also perfect for building targeted re-marketing campaigns for similar products and services.
For those in the hospitality sector there are a number of common booking and reservation systems. Again this data is ideal for driving behaviour led follow up campaigns. And that’s just the beginning. There are many more vouchering, ticketing, analytics and custom applications, all of which are prime candidates for integration.
How do I do it?
Sign-Up.to is built around an open architecture with an accessible interface – we call it the Permission Marketing API. All you need to know at the moment is that the API provides programming route for data transfer between Sign-Up.to and other data applications – it’s actually a 2-way communication allowing a seamless flow of data both ways between applications.
That’s great, but… so, to make it easy we’ve used the API to pre-build integrations to many of the most common applications – CRM systems like Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics and eCommerce applications like Shopify and Magento. We’ve also incorporated Zapier a really neat interface which you can use to easily connect hundreds of other applications. For everything else with a little bit of knowledge you can use the API directly yourself, and of course if you prefer, we can also do it for you.
So, your new year resolution number 2 is to get your data mobilised.
It’s a big step but like I said earlier – it has the potential to be a fundamental game changer for your business.
Here’s a summary of a few actions to take:
1. Take a look at your data environment – which applications are in use, by whom, and in what context? This will allow you to create a map of which applications can and should be integrated.
2. Check out the pre-built integrations already included in the Sign-Up.to platform.
3. Grab a coffee and read some more on the Permission Marketing API – it’s easier than you think.
4. Give us a call. You’ll want to do this once and do it right. We’ve already helped many businesses to take this step – here’s just one example.
I’ll be back with new year resolution 3 of 12 soon. In the meantime if you have any questions regarding integration, give us a call, we’ll be pleased to help.