Merge entities

The merge phase is the last phase in the data unification process. Its purpose is reconciling conflicting data. Examples of conflicting data could include a customer name found in two of your datasets but that shows up a little differently in each ("Grant Marshall" versus "Grant Marshal"), or a phone number that differs in format (617-803-091X versus 617803091X). Merging those conflicting data points is done on an attribute-by-attribute basis.

Merge page in the data unification process showing table with merged fields that define the unified customer profile.

After completing the match phase, you start the merge phase by selecting the Merge tile on the Unify page.

Review system recommendations

On Data > Unify > Merge, you choose and exclude attributes to merge within your unified customer profile entity. The unified customer profile is the result of the data unification process. Some attributes are automatically merged by the system.

To view the attributes that are included in one of your automatically merged attributes, select that merged attribute in the Customer fields tab of the table. The attributes that compose that merged attribute display in two new rows beneath the merged attribute.

Separate, rename, exclude, and edit merged fields

You can change how the system processes merged attributes to generate the unified customer profile. Select Show more and choose what you want to change.

Options in the Show more dropdown menu to manage merged attributes.

For more information, see the following sections.

Separate merged fields

To separate merged fields, find the attribute in the table. Separated fields show as individual data points on the unified customer profile.

  1. Select the merged field.

  2. Select Show more and choose Separate fields.

  3. Confirm the separation.

  4. Select Save and Run to process the changes.

Rename merged fields

Change the display name of merged attributes. You can't change the name of the output entity.

  1. Select the merged field.

  2. Select Show more and choose Rename.

  3. Confirm the changed display name.

  4. Select Save and Run to process the changes.

Exclude merged fields

Exclude an attribute from the unified customer profile. If the field is used in other processes, for example in a segment, remove it from these processes before excluding it from the customer profile.

  1. Select a merged field.

  2. Select Show more and choose Exclude.

  3. Confirm the exclusion.

  4. Select Save and Run to process the changes.

On the Merge page, select Excluded fields to see the list of all excluded fields. This pane lets you add excluded fields back.

Edit a merged field

  1. Select a merged field.

  2. Select Show more and choose Edit.

  3. Specify how to combine or merge the fields from one of three options:

    • Importance: Identifies the winner value based on importance rank specified for the participating fields. It's the default merge option. Select Move up/down to set the importance ranking. Importance option in the merge fields dialog.
    • Most recent: Identifies the winner value based on the most recency. Requires a date or a numeric field for every participating entity in the merge fields scope to define the recency. Recency option in the merge fields dialog.
    • Least recent: Identifies the winner value based on the least recency. Requires a date or a numeric field for every participating entity in the merge fields scope to define the recency.
  4. You can add more fields to participate in the merge process.

  5. You can rename the merged field.

  6. Select Done to apply your changes.

  7. Select Save and Run to process the changes.

Manually combine fields

Specify a merged attribute manually.

  1. On the Merge page, select Combine fields.

  2. Specify the merge winner policy in the Combine fields by dropdown.

  3. Choose a field to add. Select Add fields to combine more fields.

  4. Provide a Name and an Output field name.

  5. Select Done to apply the changes.

  6. Select Save and Run to process the changes.

Change the order of fields

Some entities contain more details than others. If an entity includes the latest data about a field, you can prioritize it over other entities when merging values.

  1. Select the merged field.

  2. Select Show more and choose Edit.

  3. In the Combine fields pane, select Move up/down to set the order or drag and drop them in the desired position.

  4. Confirm the change.

  5. Select Save and Run to process the changes.

Configure Customer ID generation

After configuring merging fields, you can define how to generate CustomerId values, the unique customer profile identifiers. The merge step in the data unification process generates the unique customer profile identifier. The identifier is the CustomerId in the Customer entity that results from the data unification process.

The CustomerId in the Customer entity is based on a hash of the first value of the non-null winner primary keys. These keys come from the entities used in the match and merge phase and are influenced by the match order. So the generated CustomerID can change when a primary key value changes in the primary entity of the match order. So the primary key value might not always represent the same customer.

Configuring a stable customer ID enables you to avoid that behavior.

Configure a unique customer ID

  1. Go to Unify > Merge.

  2. Select the Keys tab.

  3. Hover on the CustomerId row and select the Configure option. Control to customize the ID generation.

  4. Select up to five fields that will comprise a unique customer ID and are more stable. Records that don’t match your configuration use a system-configured ID instead.

  5. Select Done and run the merge process to apply your changes.

Group profiles into households or clusters

As part of the customer profile generation configuration process, you can define rules to group related profiles into a cluster. There are currently two types of clusters available – household and custom clusters. The system automatically chooses a household with predefined rules if the Customer entity contains the semantic fields Person.LastName and Location.Address. You can also create a cluster with your own rules and conditions, similar to match rules.

Define a household or a cluster

  1. Go to Unify > Merge.

  2. On the Merge tab, select Advanced > Create cluster.

    Control to create a new cluster.

  3. Choose between a Household or a Custom cluster. If the semantic fields Person.LastName and Location.Address exist in the Customer entity, household is automatically selected.

  4. Provide a name for the cluster and select Done.

  5. Select the Clusters tab to find the cluster you created.

  6. Specify the rules and conditions to define your cluster.

  7. Select Run to run the merge process and create the cluster.

After running the merge process, the cluster identifiers are added as new fields to the Customer entity.

Run your merge

Whether you manually merge attributes or let the system merge them, you can always run your merge. Select Run on the Merge page to start the process.

Data merge Save and Run.

Choose Run only Merge if you only want to see the output reflected in the unified customer entity. Downstream processes will be refreshed as defined in the refresh schedule.

Choose Run Merge and downstream processes to refresh the system with your changes. All processes, including enrichment, segments, and measures will rerun automatically. After all downstream processes have completed, the customer profiles reflect any changes you made.

To make more changes and rerun the step, you can cancel an in-progress merge. Select Refreshing ... and select Cancel job in the side pane that appears.

Tip

There are statuses for tasks and processes. Most processes depend on other upstream processes, such as data sources and data profiling refreshes. Select the status to open the Progress details pane and view the progress of the task or process. Then, select the See details link for more progress information, such as processing time, the last processing date, and any applicable errors and warnings associated with the task or process.

Drill-down path to get to process details from the task status link.

Next Step

Configure activities, enrichment, or relationships to gain more insights about your customers.

If you already configured activities, enrichment, or segments, they'll be processed automatically to use the latest customer data.