Many of us are familiar with the term “golden record” in relation to the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes, the music industry, and IT, but what does the golden record have to do with marketing? This is exactly the question we want to answer here. In addition, we will show you how to effectively use such a golden data set for your marketing and what future prospects are already emerging today.

The ultimate data set

The golden record in marketing describes the ultimate customer data record, i.e. that data point where all information about a (potential) customer converges. In current practice, data about a single person interacting with our company is usually stored in multiple systems that are generally unrelated to each other. This leads to a lot of individual information, duplicate entries and data that cannot be meaningfully traced back to one person. Good examples are registration data for the newsletter, data records for online purchases, data from the service center, and general inquiries that come in via e-mail, for example. As a rule, a person is associated with different information in different systems. In many cases, this makes personalized, pinpoint marketing nearly impossible.

The Golden Record is the one central record that brings together all the scattered information about a customer.

With such a central customer data set, the quality of the collected data increases and companies have very accurate and easily usable data about the target group at their disposal. In practice, this enables us to communicate in a targeted manner and, last but not least, saves a lot of time, as there is no need for tedious searching for entries.

The advantages of a Golden Record in marketing

  • A central customer data set enables us to
  • Understand customers better
  • refine a coherent buyer persona
  • Track the customer journey seamlessly
  • Gain a 360° view of our target group
  • Better manage and coordinate communication with our customers across multiple channels
  • Addressing customers in a targeted manner
  • increase customer satisfaction
  • Manage marketing and communication campaigns more accurately
  • Expand cross-selling and up-selling opportunities
  • create better reporting
  • to derive well-founded analyses and future scenarios from them

All in all, then, there is enormous potential for development, growth and revenue in a consolidated customer data set.

How to create a Golden Record?

One thing is clear, creating and maintaining a Golden Record is not an intern’s job. All those who briefly considered this option, we must disappoint at this point. The good news is that there are better, more accurate and automated systems for this. These are called MDM (Master Data Management) systems and are the data turbo for companies. Master Data Management Systems are solutions that allow an organization to collect information from disparate data systems in one place, cleanse and consolidate the information pulled. This solution is based on a set of rules with clear workflows that structures the collected data, relates it to each other and prioritizes it. What already seems complex when you read it, is also complex in practice. Because before the MDM tool can start its work (in real time, in the best case), the conditions for the above-mentioned set of rules must first be thought through and implemented.

Challenges in condensing customer data

So the biggest challenge in implementing such an MDM system is thinking through and creating the processes. You need to be aware of all the data sources, what input fields are available, which data sources are more likely to generate reliable information, and how each input field relates to each other. And ultimately, there is also the question of which data source gets data sovereignty over an entry. An example: The data field “Name” is available for the online order form, the newsletter registration and the lottery opt-in. Which field do you now attach what importance to? Is “name” first or last name? Which data source has the decision-making power in the Golden Record? As you can see, the 08/15 input field “Name” alone poses the first complex questions.
Merging data with different input fields and thus understanding that these different data sets are one and the same person is another key challenge. How does the MDM know that the phone number from system X belongs to another record from system Y (e.g. name and address)? These steps need to be considered in advance and “taught” to the system.
No matter how well thought out our workflows are and how clean the data is, there will still be no way around a human data manager. There will always be data sets that need to be assessed, cleansed and merged by humans.

From Customer Golden Record to Golden Profile

We have already shown above many advantages of a Golden Record in marketing. We would like to highlight one in particular at this point, as its importance is becoming increasingly clear: the 360° perspective on our customers. Creating a 360° customer view and thus a unique customer profile is the logical next step in condensing and using customer data. However, bringing a customer’s diverse information and touchpoints into a single profile is complex. Unlike the classic golden record, not only master data but also transaction data is relevant for creating a “golden customer profile”.


  • the master data from the Golden Record
  • data describing the customer, such as demographics, needs, preferences, desires, etc.
  • any customer-related transaction data such as orders, payments, dwell time, active touchpoints, click behavior, etc.

Important for such a Golden Profile would be, besides sufficient qualitative data, the possibility that this data profile communicates with the linked systems. That is, if the record changes in one system, not only should the corresponding entry in the profile change, but all other records for the same information in other systems should also change. So it’s about synchronizing all existing records across all systems. Only when this two-way communication of data is enabled will a real-time picture of a 360° customer emerge. This means a lot of work for our business processes and communication systems. Big Data and AI will play a central role in this, because the speed of generated data across diverse platforms is almost impossible to manage manually, especially in the B2C sector. It remains exciting to see how quickly and, above all, where the discussion and practical implementation in this area will develop. The issue of data security in particular is bound to gain momentum as a result in the coming years.