Axel Baran

Special Characters when downloading data from Marketo or Uploading into Marketo

Blog Post created by Axel Baran on Aug 26, 2016

There are lot of conversations on the community about special characters from non English languages. Marketo also has a blog about it. All of the posts and blogs provide really good insights about managing special characters.


But for some reason I found myself still having issues with special characters mainly from European Languages.


This blog serves two purposes:

  1. Process to import or export data with marketo
  2. Provide an alternative path to mitigate special character issues


Here is the process we follow to ensure we minimize the special character issue on any record when downloading or uploading data with the Marketo Database. The first part of the post goes over the process of importing data into Marketo. The second parts goes over exporting data out of Marketo.


Note: the process was tested using Windows 10, Excel 2016.


I hope you. will find this useful.


Part 1 of 2 - Importing Records into Marketo contains special characters


1. If data in Excel, save as CSV format

    • In the save as window --> go to Tools, select “Web Options”


save as.png

save as.png

web options.png

    • Under “Encoding” make sure “Save the document as” is UTF-8 (if you tick the box below the selection it should be set to UTF-8 for the future), and click OK
    • Click Save
    • Close CSV file


2. Open CSV file in notepad (or similar)

    • Do a visual check to confirm there are no extra columns or rows
    • Re-save file using “Save-as” and check the Encoding is UTF-8



3. In Marketo, select the Lead Database

    • Under “New” select “Import List”

import list.png

    • Browse to the CSV file, leave the other options as the default values, and click Next

import list 2.png

    • Check the values in the Preview, and if it looks OK, click Next

import list 3.png

    • Enter a List Name and select an Acquisition Program, and complete any other options if required, and click Import

Import list 4.png

    • Wait for import to complete
    • Check data to confirm it is as expected
    • You are done importing your data


Part 2 of 2 - Exporting data that contains special characters in Marketo to ensure they look as expected in Excel

One issue we found is that Excel seems to have a hard time dealing with non English characters depending on how the data was exported from Marketo.


1. Pick the Static List or Smart List that is to be exported

export icons.png

2. Click the Export button at the bottom of the screen

export 2.png

3. Select Visible Columns and select “Comma-Separated Values (Windows Excel 2007)”

- DO NOT USE the option "Comma Separated Values"

export 4.PNG

4. Once Export has completed, click Download Now

export 3.png


Good luck.