Sometimes, we may need to import and match based on another field than email. This is especially important for Marketo customer that do not have a connector to CRM. This kind of imports would enable to update the email address.
Of course, setting the matching field would also be possible through the Import APIs (Import Lead » Marketo Developers and importToList » Marketo Developers )
This would be very helpful for things like billing reminders because oftentimes the same email contact gets multiple billing notices that have the same email but different account names with different billing dates. This is just one example.
I agree with Sherry and Greg. This needs to be a top priority if not already implemented.
We maintained a data mart of lead data for uploading to Marketo using a unique identifier (Lead_UID). The email content for these lead can have value or not over time (customer decide to opt out). Because Marketo is using email address as a part of the key to determine uniqueness, it has the potential to introduce duplicate lead entries with the same unique identifier (Lead_UID) due to an email field change from having a value to blank or vice versa. Additionally, I just recently found out the email address is also used to perform some kind of background deduplication that most of us are unaware of. The net effect is entries that we uploaded via the REST API disappears over time, making us scratch our heads on what transpired.
A properly done REST API-based import will dedupe only on your custom field, so this is a problem for your devs to solve.
The fact that the UI doesn't offer the same options as the API is the problem.
Per response from Marketo support, they will create a duplicate even if the REST API is properly implemented because regardless of what you think, the email address is still part of the equation on uniqueness especially when the email address has no value.
It's not what I think, it's what I know from using the API for many years. When done properly, having existing duplicates on email address (including an empty string, which is simply another value in this context) will not result in duplicates on import.
(You should not be surprised to get mistaken info from support periodically... reading the comments on support articles will, er, support this conclusion.)
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