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I hope that I'm wrong but my current understanding is that I need to create 2 sets of DE for my clients, one for when they want to use Journey Builder (in the normal Data Extensions folder), and another for when they want to send an email and have the email tracking data available in Sales Cloud (in the Salesforce Data Extensions).

Is there a way to use a single DE for both Journey Builder and tracked email sends?

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Your understanding is correct. For marketing cloud emails to get tracked back to salesforce you would need to send it via Journey Builder, Salesforce data extension or Shared salesforce data extension.

But journey builder can't use salesforce data extension or shared salesforce data extension.

So you can do either of the below approaches:

  1. You can either keep one data extension for journey builder and another data extension in salesforce data extension folder for one time sends.

  2. You can have one data extension and write some queries on data view use where criteria on Trigger definition key = NULL so that it only includes emails from Email studio or automation studio.. Extract the data and send it to SFMC SFTP and use some ETL tool to import into salesforce.

Let me know if this helps.

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