In this article, I would like to present a problem I have encountered several times in the past few years. The problem involves storing information within Marketo fields (or any other marketing automation platform).
We need to store data in a field and sync it with Salesforce. The data in the field is updated all the time from different sources. The historical information is valuable and needs to be visible both in Marketo and Salesforce.
For example, a "comment" field, which is used in a Marketo form (so the lead can write his comments) as well as in Salesforce (for the salesperson to write his comments); in this case, anytime someone updates the field, the old value is being overwritten, and all the previous data is lost.
Another note for this example: if you use the same field for your internal information and to collect information from a form, make sure is not marked as pre-filled in the form setup (It can cause a little bit of embarrassment if the lead will see what you wrote about him…).
3. Pay attention to the following:
Here are a couple of screenshots to make the process clear:
We are here for any questions,
This is called "concatenation".
I would also note that many people use the Person Notes or Comments fields if they exist in their system already.
I would also be careful that while the Trigger will do what is expected here, most people will use this as the flow steps from a Form Fill rather than looking at this field change directly.
Sanford Whiteman wrote a great blog post awhile back that helps make these type of fields more readable by adding a line break token:
Requires a bit of digging into firefox inspector but once setup it is very useful for cases like this.
This line-break hack has been so beneficial in being able to store readable values in Marketo. In addition to this, there's another technique (by Sanford, of course) to render the hidden line-break into a <br> tag so that this same information can be made readable in our real-time alerts. I spoke to this in great detail during my Summit presentation:
Another note is that many people would refer to these temporary or temp fields as proxy fields that are intended to hold short-term data and either be cleared out as part of your flow steps or simply overwritten and are never taken into account for reporting purposes.
I have utilized proxy fields for string, datetime, and otherwise in the past and have usually set them up as a CYA for one-off needs.
Yeah we have form fillouts, list uploads, etc. update the temp field, then the temp field change triggers concatenation on the real field. For example, my Marketo/SFDC field form contact form comments is Comments on Form. But the web form writes to Comments on Form Import.