Even after names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails are cleansed and verified, it is not easy to assemble all of the data for a single customer. This is because the records rarely match exactly.
Personal data changes. Customers move or have multiple contact points. For example, an individual may provide a work phone number at one touchpoint and a mobile number at another. Another customer may have multiple addresses (e.g., primary and vacation homes), multiple phone numbers (e.g., fixed landline and mobile), and multiple email addresses (e.g., personal and work). How do you handle all of this disparate information?
This is an especially large problem for omnichannel marketers because shoppers often enter different information into different systems and at different times. The result is that the same customer can appear multiple times in a database. Not only is it necessary to deduplicate the customer database, but, it is critical to match customer records to build a complete picture of your customer.
The answer is to build the “Golden Master Record.” A Golden Master Record is the single source of truth about your customers in your CRM, Single Customer View, or Master Data Management application. It contains everything we know about the customer or links to everything we know about the customer, and it is always kept up-to-date because it gets information from every data silo. With links back to the source data, nothing is ever lost.
Of course, the process is more complicated than that. How do you do this when the information disagrees with what was there before? How do you bring in additional information without forgetting the old information? How do you handle human errors?
We use a technique known as “cascading” to confidently build a complete Golden Master even when some attributes disagree and to fill in incomplete information. It works by examining all of the information that we have about the customer. With a big database, the cascading calculation becomes rather complex. However, the more information we have, the more confident we become.
Examine the table below to understand how cascading works for a small number of records.