Marketo June ‘20 Release: custom program fields

June 10, 2020 Kaat Wuyts

Is there a way to add custom fields in a program? It is probably a question almost everyone has searched for on Marketo Nation. The short answer would have been, “No there is no such thing in Marketo”. That is until now!

Lately, a lot of content is focussing on popular topics like conversational marketing, intent data, personalized content experiences or ABM. But from time to time it's good to go back to the fundamentals of your marketing strategy and have a look at the exciting things our marketing automation partners are working on. Today, I want to highlight one of Marketo Engage's recent releases.

In February we already wrote an article that Marketo Engage users could apply for Adobe's Marketo Closed Beta Program to test out a feature called “custom program fields’. In the June ’20 releases just announced by Marketo this new feature is and it looks set to make a lot of Marketo Engage users’ lives much easier.


So, what is a custom program field and what does it do?

Does this sound familiar: How can we capture registrants’ preferences for our next event? How can I add a unique “program registration number”? How can I find out when a has person registered for an event without checking the activity log?

Up until now there were a few complex workarounds, but nothing that was robust (such as for example the use of miscellaneous fields).

Custom program fields to the rescue! Now Marketo Engage users can create fields that are attached to leads or contacts in the context of a program.

In a nutshell, custom fields are “local” fields created at the program level. These new fields can be used in Marketo Engage forms and member list of a Marketo program. In addition, you can use these fields as a trigger or filter for your smart campaign or include them in the flow step. Not to forget that it can be easily accessed by API’s.

It might seem a small feature improvement, but don’t underestimate the advantages. As a marketer, you can now capture information that you only need for a need for a specific event rather than linking to your database as opposed to the previously used common practice of filling and then overwriting a placeholder field with temporary data.

Some examples that spring to mind: 

  • attendee preferences on the sessions they wish to attend during the event
  • capture the sales or account owner that is responsible for follow up the attendees
  • record multiple touches more easily by capturing multiple URL parameters per program

This is a very useful feature that Marketo users have been waiting for quite some time (myself included).

How does it work?

Custom program fields should be created in the admin section, the same way you would create a new person custom field.

Marketo engage custom program field creation

The following field types are supported: Boolean, date, datetime, URL, string, integer, float. Note that the field name should be unique.

After the creation, the fields can be used in the marketing activities section for any program type. You can also add the fields to local program forms. Note that those fields can only be used locally (inside a program) and are not supported in the design studio. The local forms with custom program fields can only be embedded in local landing pages.

And it doesn’t stop here. Once you’ve successfully created the custom program fields, you can use them in smart campaigns as a filter, trigger or in the flow step, as well as in smart lists. Since these fields are not linked to the database, you’ll not find them there. You can however use the “change program member data” as a person action from the database.

I hope you are as excited as we are!

Want to find out more? Schedule a call with one of our consultants or join our weekly “Purple Friday” session

About the Author

Kaat Wuyts

City-dweller who loves to travel and always hoping to find new experiences and meet new people on the way. Working for a Marketing Automation & MarTech provider for Digital marketing transformation, systems integration and powerful engagements. This allows me to put in practice my curiosity for new challenges, and on top my passion to work with people.

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