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I am new to Journey Builder and wondering about the following:

In order to find which recipients should participate in my journey, I need to run an SQL Query and update the associated Entry Point DE. This, of course, I can settle with one automation in Automation Studio.

Should I

  1. Include all the fields I would like to use in my journey in this DE, or
  2. Only take the email addresses of the recipients and then find the other fields using the attribute using the data in attribute groups?

Of course (1) would be much simpler because I am already gathering all the info I want from the data model. But in this case, I wonder what do we need the Attribute Groups for?

Can I use all the data in the entry point DE throughout the entire journey?

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Your entry data should be seen as a snapshot of how the customer looked like when he/she entered the journey. It is static throughout the journey and (according to documentation):

  • Keeping initial data value about a customer.
  • Provides attributes in the state they were in when the contact entered the journey.
  • Comprised of event data and activity data.
  • Use when a contact is likely to exist in a journey more than once simultaneously.
  • Use for comparison when a data value is expected to change.

Usually I ensure to provide key consumer identity (Subscriber Key + Email Address) + fields crucial for any activities prior to first wait step. This is to ensure I don't miss any data (or use out of date data) from my contact model.

Further down the journey, you should indeed make sure to use data from the contact model, since this is the only way you will access the updated customer data. Especially for evaluating goals and exit criteria, as these always reference data which is expected to change throughout the journey.

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  • That sounds like a stable strategy. This, I assume, means that in case we have a wait activity in the journey, we should check again whether the information we used in the entry point data extension is still valid e.g. whether the dates for a flight booking is still the same after 8 days. So I guess in case our contact model has one-to-many relationships, we also need to carry those key joining fields with us (e.g. the flight ID in this case) in the entry point DE. Am I right? – Disasterkid Aug 12 '19 at 14:08
  • You ser correct. In this case, a booking ID or PNR would be good to include in your entry DE, so future decision splits etc. can reference the correct record in your one-to-many relationship. – Lukas Lunow Aug 12 '19 at 15:58

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