We are a research center whose members are being managed in our own applications as well as constant contact. We use constant contact just for email communications and would like to continue to use it because the analytics and many other features that CC provides are amazing. I am looking for any best practices to synchronize the contacts and their information across the two repositories to make it appear as a single version of data with no discrepancies (up-to-date in both the external database as well as in CC). Currently we have decided to keep the DB as the primary source of information and synchronize the data on a weekly basis with CC through the API. This requires us to create separate table structures in the DB because the way we group contacts in CC and the DB are different. I know there are businesses out there who use their own software as well as third party products like CC combined to manage their data. Any ideas on how to pull this off in an effective manner, from people who are already implementing this would be great!
Based on what other customers have done in the past it seems the most common practice is to send an update from your database to Constant Contact just prior to sending any campaigns from Constant Contact. If you send a weekly email campaign then update your contacts the day before you send that campaign.
As for actual coding of the integration is concerned. If you are importing more than a few hundred contacts I suggest to use our Bulk Activity for importing.
Or if you have the contacts in a .csv file then you can use this Bulk Activity import.