## Fact is, most people work with more than one database. Whether you’re an in-company marketer or working in a marketing agency, you will probably have information about your current and potential customers stored in a combination of these:
- Address book
- Sales leads database
- Email service provider
- Event attendee list
- Excel sheets*
*Everybody is always saying that you shouldn’t use Excel as a database, yet everybody does it…
Which Information In Your Databases Is Correct and Most Recent?
We’ve all been there, wondering which information is correct and up to date. Between Google contacts, website signups, event attendee lists and the database the sales people use, you sometimes feel like throwing in the towel and CTRL-ALT-DELETE the lot. So you start from scratch and create the perfect database where every new contact has the latest and correct information. Wake up, It isn’t going to happen.
Tips for Keeping Multiple Databases Alive Without Throwing a Fit
Instead, find joy and pride in using different systems together. Follow these three steps and you’ll never doubt your database again:
1. Decide who is the master
Pick one database where you keep the master data. Then, meticulously keep it in order:
- Make any changes straight away, don’t wait until the next day to update your database if somebody has given you a new address over the phone.
- Pay attention to what information is in the database, and how the info is added: if more than one person adds or changes details, make sure everybody works with the database in the same way.
2. Love the process
When you copy contacts out of one database to use in another program, document what you do. You might, for example, export all contacts who are in Bristol to a CSV file, open it in Excel to delete everything but the First Name, Name and Email fields, convert it back to CSV and upload it to another app. If email addresses bounce, and you research those people’s correct addresses, update them in the original database straight away.
Write down how you approach the task, as if you were writing documentation for a new colleague.
You’ll thank yourself 3 months from now when you have to do the same thing and don’t remember what exactly you did to get to the result.
3. Make it repeatable
By consequently keeping a master database up to date, you can make actions repeatable. Say you are inviting people to your annual fundraiser. You go through your Google contacts list and copy the relevant people to your email list application. If you only update their information in the email list software, you won’t be able to trust the info in your Google contacts. Comes next year, and you have to invite some of the same people again, you end up having to work with data coming from 2 sources, and that’s a pain. If you know you can always start from your trusted master database, you’ll have a lot less to worry about.
It takes discipline to keep databases in check manually, but it can be done. As a result of your work, you get peace of mind, and that’s worth quite a bit.
Feel like it’s too much hassle going back and forth between databases? If you want to automate the synchronization of different databases, try out PieSync. It automatically keeps different databases in sync.