Reverse ETL

Reverse ETL tools help sales and marketing teams understand their data and use the data warehouse to power campaigns and customer support.



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Grouparoo is the Reverse ETL tool that meets you where you are.


🔎 Use the records and segments you already have

Reverse ETLs let you use the robust Record data you've already made in your data warehouse.


💼 Make informed business decisions with operational analytics

Reverse ETL tools help you make informed decisions that benefit your business.


📈 Improve advertising impact

With Reverse ETL, you can automate list creation for effective advertising campaigns - saving you advertising dollars and time.


🛍 Market more meaningfully

Help your marketing team create campaigns based on real, meaningful data.


What is Reverse ETL and why is it important?

Reverse ETL is a new data engineering term that has been picking up a lot of attention in recent months.

At Grouparoo, we’re helping to lead that trend, so we thought we’d share an overview of what Reverse ETL is, and how Grouparoo enables businesses to use their data to the fullest extent.

What is Reverse ETL?

Before we discuss Reverse ETL, let’s do a high level overview of “regular” ETL.

It shouldn’t be news to you that companies have a lot of data. The trick is bringing it together cohesively. ETL is a data warehouse term which stands for Extract, Transform, and Load. ETL describes the process of taking data from a database or source (Extract), modifying it or cleaning it up (Transform), and then putting it into a data warehouse (Load). One alternative approach to this is ELT (Extract, Load, Transform) which involves Extracting data from a source, Loading the data directly into a warehouse, and Transforming from there.

ETL: Extract, Transform, Load

With your data in a unified location, there's no need to write costly join queries or hunt down data between sources.

ETL: Extract, Transform, Load

With the data now living in a data warehouse, teams can analyze their data without writing costly (and often impossible) queries that require joining different data sources. ETL tools including Fivetran, Microsoft SSIS, and Informatica Power Center have helped automate this process, as have Transformation tools like dbt.

Because the data has been transformed by a data owner, there is a shared, canonical definition for how data is structured. For years, ETL was the top way for companies to get a unified, top level view of their data. It made data warehouses the center of a company’s data infrastructure.

Okay, so what about reverse ETL?

Reverse ETL, on the other hand, is the process that takes data from a data warehouse and sends that data to any number of different destinations or tools, finally letting you use your data warehouse for more than just analysis.

Reverse ETL: Sync your data to destinations

Reverse ETL: Sync your data to destinations

Reversing the ETL process means your data can be synced to the destinations you use it most.

Why did Reverse ETL come about?

Reverse ETL has emerged as companies use more tools that require customer data.

For example, your Sales team is using CRMs like Hubspot and Salesforce to keep track of all of their leads and deals. As they try to close more deals, they need better data in Hubspot and Salesforce to better understand who these leads or customers are, how they’re using your products, whether they’re likely to churn, and everything else.

Is someone a highly-active user who might be a great fit for a new product you just launched? Did customers subscribe to your newsletter and make a purchase after a recent outreach?

Your Marketing team is working to run great campaigns that engage with your email list and subscribers. They need access to personalized, tailored data in Marketo or Mailchimp to be effective.

It helps that the data your revenue and operational teams need already lives in one place -- your data warehouse. You just need a better way to read it.

Reverse ETL allows you to sync records and groups across your tools

You already have the data you need in your warehouse, Reverse ETLs allow you to sync that tailored data to tools such as Salesforce, Zendesk, or Marketo where you can put it to use.

Reverse ETL allows you to sync records and groups across your tools

However, in order to provide teams with the data and reporting they need, there must be systems in place. The tricky part is building a pipeline to get that data to all of your different tools. Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard model for integrating these apps. Often for an engineering team, integrating with a single email tool or CRM isn’t too tricky at first.

Someone on the marketing team or their manager asks engineering to connect a customer list to their email tool of choice, let’s say Mailchimp. No big deal. The engineer looks up the Mailchimp API and learns about the endpoints at play. They build something custom, probably a cron job, that takes information from their users SQL database and sends some data to Mailchimp like email, first name, and last name.

No sweat, right?

Well, things get more complicated quickly. What happens when a user Record changes? Or new users get added?

What happens when content and marketing or sales wants more user information in Mailchimp?

What happens when Mailchimp’s API is down or you hit a rate limit? Or worse, management decides to change to a different application entirely?

The minute another team wants to use a different tool, the engineering team will need to figure out whether to build another one-off integration with this different tool, or if they will create some internal data synchronizing tool. If you’ve had this experience, you know the impact it can have on operations, resources, and your ability to provide the best experience for your teams.

This is a sign that your company may need a different approach. With these challenges multiplying, there must be a better solution to manage moving your data. Here is where robust reverse ETL tools come to the rescue. Reverse ETL isn’t so much about moving into a post ETL data world, as it is the other side of the same funnel.

How does Reverse ETL work?

Reverse ETL tools, at their core, make it easy to take data that already lives in your data warehouse or database, and connect that data to the different SaaS applications you’re using.

Define the customer data you want

The first step in Reverse ETL is defining what data you want to pull from your source of truth.

In Grouparoo terms, that means first connecting to Sources -- which could be anything from Google Bigquery to Snowflake to a Postgres database, or any one of our 20+ integration options. Then, you can start defining Record Properties.

Record Properties are customer data, such as identifying information like email or user_id to product usage data like lifetime_value or last_login_at.

Defining records with Grouparoo is simple

Defining records with Grouparoo is simple

You can use our enterprise UI or our community edition CLI tools to generate properties efficiently.

In Grouparoo, you can define these Record properties using our no-code web interface or in code with our community edition.

Both of these options result in efficient queries to your database that then creates Properties in Grouparoo.

Define how you want to export your data

From here, Grouparoo allows you to define what Record and Property data you want to send to your business tools like CRMs, marketing automation platforms, and others. We call these Destinations, and we’ve built 20+ integration apps (and we’re launching more all the time!).

With our pre-built integrations, your engineering team doesn’t need to learn the ins and outs of every tool’s API features.

Grouparoo handles all of the tricky nuances of every API -- whether it’s about using different Batch APIs or managing requests so you don’t hit rate limits.

Connecting to a new integration just requires installing the Plugin and adding some connection details such as an API key. Once that’s set, anyone on your team, developer or not, can connect your customer data to your destinations.

Map your data to any one of our 20+ destinations

No need for your team to know every quirk of your Destination's API. Grouparoo handles all that for you.

Map your data to any one of our 20+ destinations

Set schedules for how often to update this data

Once you’ve defined these connections, Grouparoo regularly queries your data for updates. As you get new customer data, Grouparoo will automatically read and sync that data to your destinations.

If you want to send new data to your Destination, anyone on your team can update the Destination mappings.

Grouparoo also keeps all of your Record data up-to-date and ensures that everything we send to a Destination was recently checked against the source of truth. That way, you can rest with a sense of security that your data is accurate and current.

Schedule your records to sync automatically

Schedule your records to sync automatically

With Grouparoo, runs can be triggered every hour, every day, every week, or in real-time.

Why is Reverse ETL important?

The key purpose behind Reverse ETL is to empower business teams to take action with verified and trustworthy data. This practice is called Operational Analytics. Operational analytics is the practice of taking your data and turning it into action.

With better, more trustworthy data in your Marketing tools, you can drive better growth, have more targeted emails and communications, and create better experiences for your users.

Sales teams are able to better personalize their sales discussions based on how their leads and accounts are using the product.

Grouparoo provides best-in-class Reverse ETL. It’s easy for engineers to set up, and even easier for revenue teams to use. Get started today!

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