I have this naive question which I am struggling to find answer to. I know we can link Data Extensions in Contact Builder and create all kinds of relationships.

But what is the use case of linking DEs? How can I leverage that and where? Can this be used in Journey Builder somehow?

Any documentation/example reference would really help.


The links you create between data extensions in Contact Builder allow you to relate your data back to the Contact for a variety of purposes. This is not an exhaustive list, but contains some of the main reasons for using contact builder to link data extensions to your contact model.

  1. Defining the filter for an Email Studio or Mobile Studio Audiences that's injected into a Journey Builder Interaction - http://help.marketingcloud.com/en/documentation/journey_builder/entry_sources/journey_builder_audiences
  2. Defining the filter on the entry criteria for the entry event of a Journey Builder Interaction - http://help.marketingcloud.com/en/documentation/journey_builder/create_a_filter
  3. Defining decision splits within Journey Builder Interactions - http://help.marketingcloud.com/en/documentation/journey_builder/canvas_activities/using_decision_splits
  4. Create filtered lists in the SFMC mobile products (ModileConnect, MobilePush and GroupConnect) where you can reference linked data extension fields in your filter definitions - http://help.marketingcloud.com/en/documentation/mobileconnect/contacts/create_a_filtered_list_of_contacts
  • Hi Andrew, let's say I have a Customer_Master DE which is linked to Contacts. And then a Customer_Attrib DE which is linked to Customer_Master... Do you mean I can use attributes from the Customer_Attrib DE in the journey builder? – Maneesh Jan 21 '17 at 1:25
  • I'm not entirely sure of the question, but yes, that sounds like a scenario you might use Contact Builder to link these Data Extensions with - select Customers based on a related record in your Customer_Attrib DE. Although you'd typically not want to overly normalise your data in that way in SFMC for usability and performance reasons elsewhere in the Platform. Think more about reference data, like a PostCodes DE you might use to segment customers based on demographic data about the suburb in which the customers lives, or transactional data to segment on products a customer has purchased. – Macca Jan 21 '17 at 1:40
  • Hi Andrew, I tried exploring it more but in the Decision Split Activity under Contact Data, I don't see anything for the linked DE (Custom Attrib). What I could be missing? – Maneesh Jan 24 '17 at 13:02
  • Hey Maneesh, Drop me a note by email to andrew[at]marketingcleod[dot]com. I need to see some screenshots of what you're configuring to help. Data Extension def, Contact Builder links and Journey Builder decision split. A – Macca Jan 24 '17 at 13:16
  • just sent you an email – Maneesh Jan 24 '17 at 17:55

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