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Does '0' = NULL?

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Sean_McCombs
Level 3

Does '0' = NULL?

Looking for the Communities opinion on this, I would create a Poll if I could.

Currently within the Product when you create a Smart List using a score or integer type field (this could possibly apply to other field types) and you specify that the attribute equals '0', the Smart List results will include Null values.
So... the question is does 0 = Null? What do you think?

Internally, there is a discussion on how this should work, and there are solutions to filter out the Null values, but implementing them can bothersome. Nonetheless, this enforces the best practice to always check your Qualified Leads tab and ensure that the counts look right before running your Smart Campaigns.
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Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Does '0' = NULL?

In my opinion, 0 has a numerical value, whereas NULL refers to blank. Thus, if a field has a 0 value, there is something in it. However, if a field has NULL, then it is blank. In some cases, flow steps and filters will say is/is not empty, in which case, the NULL is implied, however, not all fields will have this option, and thus the NULL is necessary to show that there is nothing in that field. 

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Does '0' = NULL?

In my opinion, 0 has a numerical value, whereas NULL refers to blank. Thus, if a field has a 0 value, there is something in it. However, if a field has NULL, then it is blank. In some cases, flow steps and filters will say is/is not empty, in which case, the NULL is implied, however, not all fields will have this option, and thus the NULL is necessary to show that there is nothing in that field. 

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Does '0' = NULL?

Yea I agree. 

Filters should know the difference between a "0" value, and an empty "NULL" / blank value. 

Why would anybody want NULL  = 0? Does anybody have any cases of this?
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Does '0' = NULL?

agree...NULL <> 0

I'm also having this issue in boolean fields.

Currently it appears that NULL = False when doing Smart List Rule Filtering.

NULL is NULL!!!!
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Does '0' = NULL?

Running into the same issue. It'd be nice if Null didn't = 0

Guy_Goldstein6
Level 4

Re: Does '0' = NULL?

Just to play devil's advocate:

There are certain situations where I'd argue that NULL does equal.

Take score for example - A lead with no score, would have a score of 0, a lead with a blank score is equally 0. While they represent different versions of no score, if I had to prioritize leads based on the score I would treat both as 0 since I've never been given a reason to give the lead a point.

On the other extreme you might have something like "Number of Employees" - In this case NULL does NOT equal 0 since you can't assume that just because you don't know how many people work for a company no one works there.

Thinking about it from a product perspective for a moment, the question I ask myself is - Do I find myself relying on the former or the latter scenario more often, and personally I think that the former does come up more, so in the long run it does save me a small amount of effort (a VERY small amount of effort).

That said - given that Marketo could design different rules for what NULL means per field type - I'm sure they could come up with a much more elegant solution if they tried.