The wide range of technologies used to gather data has led to the creation of data centers where information is stored. Today many of these data centers are sharing information with other centers in a manner that offers the marketer a fuller picture of their customers. For instance, as we discuss in the Managing Customers Tutorial, many organizations have multiple contact points where customers can interact with the company (e.g., in-person, on the web, via phone call). In the past, the information gathered at these points was often stored separately so if a customer contacted the company through one contact point they may not be recognized if they also contacted the company through a different point. Organizations now see the value in merging data sources in an effort to know what customers do across all contact points and work to integrate customer information.
Additionally, some marketers are going outside their own data collection and seek information on their customers from other sources, such as information provided by credit card companies. This information is then merged with the company-owned information to get a fuller picture of customer activity.