Many equate the value of a marketing database with the integrity of the data – a single version of the truth. There was a day when it was simple. One version of the truth equaled a “single view of the customer” – his/her contact information, transactions, appended demographics and the like. The truth was effectively defined and “controlled” by marketing.

In today’s 24x7 world of brand evangelists to brand bashers – what is one version of the truth? If perception is reality, then one version of the truth must include non-traditional data. The concept of a single customer view must be expanded if marketing is to be effective and relevant across channels and media.

Setting the boundaries of a marketing database to traditional marketing and interactions confines marketers to an artificial version of the truth. Meanwhile social engagement, monitoring, measurement and reporting operates in its own world…its own version of the truth.

Does your organization have two truths – that of the traditional marketing database and an emerging social media truth? After decades of realizing the value of a single customer view as the basis of intelligence-driven marketing, are you willing to return to a conditional version of the truth?

You market and interact with your customers and prospects across many channels and media. They see you as one organization and expect the same in return. The basics haven’t changed. The customer still wants to be recognized wherever they interact with you, and expects you to know them and communicate relevantly with them. Based on their cumulative interactions with you across channels and media, your customers formulate their own “one version of the truth” about your organization. Question is, “How does your customers’ version of the truth align with yours?"

Smart, strategic marketers have strived for intelligence driven-communications with personalized brand engagement, results-driven metrics and accountability, elevating loyalty to evangelism and increased market share. At its core, smart, strategic marketing is dependent on one version of the truth.

The marketing database must evolve to a new generation of intelligent data organization across channels and media – a marketing ecosystem that reclaims one version of the truth. A marketing ecosystem that returns smart, strategic marketers to a single, comprehensive view of the customer -- "one version of the truth" that includes traditional database and emerging social and web intelligence.

Does your organization have one version of the truth? How would you rate yourself on a 1-5 scale with 5 being the best?