The Jan ‘21 Marketo Release Could Cost You: Here’s How

The first Marketo release of the new year is here! While there are definite improvements coming, the Jan ’21 Marketo Release doesn’t bring great news for duplicate management. 

The Data Devil is in the Duplicates

According to a recent study, over one-third of database records are duplicates. Justin Gray, CEO of LeadMD adds that “50% of the average marketing database is useless, largely because of duplicate records.” 

According to a recent study, over one-third of database records are duplicates.

Inaccurate data can do major harm to your marketing activities, but what about the mere existence of duplicate data? Duplicate records increase your database size, count against your database limits, and increase your Marketo, Salesforce, or other licensing costs. Are you paying for 33% more database than you need? Depending on your database size, this could translate to several thousand dollars annually—or in some cases, millions!

Prevention is the best medicine for remedying duplicate leads, but even the most streamlined systems will occasionally generate duplicate records for a variety of reasons. Rather than having to manually review your database, though, Marketo created Duplicate Fields so you can identify duplicate people with custom logic.

The Jan ’21 Marketo Release will cause Duplicate Fields become case-sensitive with the exception of Email Address.

The Insensitive Change

This quarter, Marketo is changing how it measures possible duplicates. Previously, Duplicate Fields were case insensitive, so Marketo could match “John Doe” and “john doe” using Full Name. With the exception of Email, Marketo Duplicate Fields will become case-sensitive; the upper and lower case characters of a field’s value must be the same to be considered a match.

You may be wondering why Marketo would make what feels like a back step in field sensitivity, but this is one of several changes made “to improve system performance.” The good news is you do have options.

Managing Occasional Marketo Duplicate Leads

If your database only produces the occasional duplicate record, you may be able to get by with filtering based on Email Address alone. Since the email match will remain case insensitive, Marketo will identify a possible match between and However, you’ll want to be extra mindful when merging records, as you’ll need to manually compare Last or Full Name and other details to ensure it’s an accurate match. 

Once you’ve determined a correct match, you’ll need to decide which lead “wins,” or which field values will be selected and which will be purged. For example, you may want to prioritize the details in Salesforce Contacts over Salesforce Leads. When there are different values in the same field, such as Lead Source Details or Acquisition Program, you probably want to go with the older record. Conversely, contact information like phone number or mailing address may be more accurate in the more recent lead. And what about lead scores? Will your lead re-enter demographic scoring campaigns or do you want to merge the score? There’s much to consider. 

It can take a long time to properly clean up your duplicate records, but it’s important to capture the most accurate information. Acquiring good leads is not cheap or easy, so take your time to ensure you’re not purging valuable data or spoiling an accurate record with bad information.

Automate Marketo Database Deduplication

It can take a lot of time and patience to manually clean up your database. Time is money, and time is something Marketers never have in excess. Rather than trying to schedule one hour a week to clean up a database for the rest of your career, consider leaning into the automation side of marketing. 

There are dozens of software services available to cleanup your database and enhance lead records. If you’re looking for ongoing management, address validation, data discovery and more, we’re fans of Ringlead, which starts at $12,000 per year. But integrating an additional software service means an additional cost, plus time to integrate the software and train on new processes. 

To bridge the gap between manual data merges and additional software purchases, Digital Pi offers a white-glove service. We’ll consult with you to develop a custom merge script that meets your unique needs and then complete a one-time mass clean-up of duplicate records.  We’ll also advise you on ways to prevent future duplicates from being created.

Your custom merge script will not be affected by Marketo’s recent changes. Moreover, it contains complex rules to ensure that the remaining lead contains the best information of both records. Best of all, there is no need for you to learn software or get training on new processes. 

Digital Pi DeDupe starts at $7,500 for databases up to 1 million records with up to three duplicate passes. Request a free consultation to discuss your specific needs. 

Go to the (Lead) Source to Prevent Duplicate Leads

The best way to deal with duplicate leads is to prevent them from happening. Take a look at the source values of your duplicate leads. Are you accidentally creating duplicates when using the Marketo REST API? Is Marketo creating (duplicate) Lead records for your CRM Contacts? Set aside some time to analyze the source of your duplicate data before you merge records. 

OMEGA Automation Intelligence makes it easy to identify the source of duplicate leads so you can correct problems before they cost you.

Alternatively, you can employ the use of Automation Intelligence like OMEGA, which can quickly show Duplicates by Source and Duplicates by Source Type. Not only that, OMEGA provides Marketo users key operational insights in a single place so you can correct problems, improve performance and gain meaningful insights about your database and marketing activities.

Looking Ahead for 2021

Marketo is hitting the ground running with the Jan ‘21 Release. There are exciting changes coming, but the depreciation of case-sensitive Duplicate Fields is definitely a blow to duplicate data cleanup. Fortunately, you have options. This may be a great time for you to get your database in order for a successful new year. We can help.

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At Digital Pi, we use technology to connect revenue to marketing efforts. We fuse marketing strategies, processes, data and applications to make marketing technology solutions work for clients' businesses.

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