Importing CSV with split first/last names


Just wondering really, what the best way round this is. Our subscriber lists generally carry name fields in two columns: firstname and lastname. However, CampaignMonitor's import utility seems to only accept a single field as "Name" and then splits it into first and last names itself, presumably on the first space it finds.

Now... I've got to say; to me, this does seem just a little bit daft. An arbitrary rule like that is surely going to give more errors than a two-column approach that lets me define, and check, which parts of the name are going into which columns, before import.

But in any case: having uploaded my CSV with two columns for the name, I'm presented with the CampaignMonitor "field-mapping" page. And I get stuck. Because I can choose to import each column either as "Name", "Email", or make up a new custom field of my own. And I've got two fields for "Name", and it won't let me select both of them for it.

So I have to create new fields to import them as. And, logic tells me, I should call them "firstname" and "lastname". And then we hit the next problem, which is of course that CampaignMonitor uses those fields itself when it's done its field-splitting job on the "Name" field. So my new custom fields are arbitrarily renamed to "firstname1" and "lastname1", and I've got to go back and redo all the personalisation in my email.

Now, there must be a better way to do this. I'm sure the simplest answer is "import your CSV with one column for the name". But I have to respectfully counter that I don't think storing discrete information in a single field is a good idea, even if it's just for an import. So - is there another way?

peck80, 7 years ago

Once you select your file to import, the next screen (Match the file with your subscriber list fields) allows you to specify what the fields are. "Email" and "Name" are the defaults selected but you can alter and add fields.

Changing Name to First Name:
Use the dropdown to the far right to select "Create New text field" it will give you a textbox to customize your field header but should default to "First Name" Repeat this for your other data fields (ie. Last Name, Company, City, State, etc.)

The data columns will not be seen in your "manage subscribers" list view but all the data will be there and stored correctly if you click on an individual contact to see their profile & will export in separate fields. I might have missed your goal, but I hope this helps

bluecell, 7 years ago

A solution is merging the firstname and lastname fields before beginning the import process.

For example:
In Excel,  your file will have 2 columns, one for firstname (A column) and one for lastname (B column).

1. Insert a new column (C) with the heading Name
2. Add the formula to the (C) fields below it:  =PROPER(A2&" "&B2)
3. This will combine the firstname (A column) and lastname (B column) into Name (C column)
4. Save and Import

You can then match Campaign Monitor's Name field with the Name field in your file.

Hope this helps!

Zos Collaga

shg, 7 years ago

OK, how would Campaign Monitor handle:

Lee Harvey Oswald
Alice and Bob Smith

Without independent control of firstname and lastname, both those entries are gonna get mangled.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 7 years ago

Hi shg, to confirm how those names will be handled:

Fullname = Lee Harvey Oswald is Firstname = Lee, Lastname = Oswald
Fullname = Alice and Bob Smith is Firstname = Alice, Lastname = Smith

Yes, there is an issue with middle names and surnames with a space (for example, "de Vries"), unless you manually define First Name and Last Name custom fields upon import. I've taken note of the requests here, so it's something we'll certainly look into improving.

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