Speaking to one of my vendor's today about how they are parsing data to Marketo. They use a comma as a delimiter rather than a semi colon. This is an issue with multi-select fields, Marketo accepts the information as a string (no issue), but my connection to Salesforce causes a sync issue because they see the field as a multi-select with specific selections and they use a semi colon to determine those selections. I've complained loudly and often about this issue.
However, today the vendor said that their engineering team spoke to Marketo engineers about the issue and Marketo recommended commas as delimiters calling it a best practice. This can't be true, can it? Is there some reason why Marketo would prefer a comma over a semi colon? Is there something I don't know?
In order to get around this, I have to have two fields for this one multi select - the vendor drops their data into one and then I have a smart campaign add semi-colons between selections and drop that into the second field, the one that Salesforce has access to. Obviously this isn't scalable or fun .
Marketo's own multivalued fields (checkboxes, selects) are posted as semicolon-delimited. Can't imagine why they would then turn around and say that comma-delimited is preferred.
There isn't a single best practice for delimiters. It depends on the likelihood of a delimiter collision -- when the delimiter character has to appear within a single value. This likelihood is different for different types of data.
I ran a test of syncing a mutlivalued field between Marketo and SFDC and semicolumn works well as a delimiter for the muliple values inside the field multi valued field.
This means that using commas as field separators is the safe choice. It happens that it is also the default one for Excel generated CSV files in most of countries*. So the best combinations is commas for separators between fields and semi-columns to separate values between fields.
* this is not the case in France (and may be in a few other countries), where semi-colums are the default for inter-field separators for MS Excel generated (and therefore improperly named) CSV files. This changed with the event of MS Excel 2016 that has now the option to generate true CSV files in UTF-8 format, which saves the step of reopening the file in a text editor, replace all separators and save as CSV but this was a real pain if you had semi-columns with a field value as you just could not do it simply. Just for this reason, upgrading to Excel 2016 might save a lot of your time
The list importer allows you to select semicolon delimited as a file type so it should be fine to use it. Did they specify it was the syncing process specifically that doesn't like the semi-colons? That might just fall to how Salesforce is not playing nicely with semi-colons which limits options.
Christina, a vendor has told me the same thing and it doesn't make sense at all.
Can anybody from Marketo out there comment on this? Unless we are missing something, it would seem to make sense to standardize using semi-colons as a delimiter in Marketo so the multi-select functions work properly.