How to Insert Custom Fields into Marketing Automation Tools - dummies

How to Insert Custom Fields into Marketing Automation Tools

By Mathew Sweezey

You likely already have and use specific data points for segmentation, qualification, or lead assignment among all your marketing applications. Your new marketing automation tool will come with a basic database, which needs to be expanded to include these custom data points. This means adding custom fields by using the upcoming steps.

Custom fields are fields that you need in addition to the ones that come standard with your customer relationship management (CRM) system. They might be used in your CRM, or they might be used only by your marketing team, specifically for segmentation and reporting.

Here are some examples of custom fields:

  • Technology used by prospect

  • Product number

  • Number of locations

  • Any field which you added to your CRM

After you have created and named your fields, make sure to note the data type and parameters of the field. If you aren’t sure of the needed parameters, ask your vendor. The parameters vary from vendor to vendor. Parameters dictate whether the information can be overwritten, used in email communications, or even automatically updated from third-party databases.

Follow these steps to add a custom field:

  1. List all the custom fields you use in your CRM for lead assignment and lead qualification.

    Work with your CRM admin to obtain this list. You also need to obtain a list of any other custom fields your marketing team uses for segmentation or lead attribution.

  2. Create the custom fields in your marketing automation tool.

    Each tool requires a different setup process, but the basic data you need to set up a custom field are

    • Name

    • Field ID from your CRM application

    • Type of field

    • Special conditions

    The screen for setting up a custom field in the Pardot marketing automation tool looks like this:


The Name, Field ID, and Type fields are fields you probably already have. You need to determine the special conditions for your field on your own. Special conditions might include

  • Master vs. slave (which data set is the master record)

  • Multiple responses requiring a record (Comment boxes are an example. A person might fill out multiple comments over time, and you should keep each comment. You have only one comment field in your forms, though, so make sure that you can keep multiple responses in a single data field in your CRM system.)

  • Overwrite permissions (Overwriting things such as Phone number can be important.)

Your CRM system is likely to remain your database of record. When you’re connecting custom fields, be sure that you are aware of which data set is to be the master record. You should always have the CRM tool be the master for most data needed for sales, and your marketing automation tool should be the master of data required for marketing reports.