Lead Database

The Marketo Lead Database APIs are the most frequently utilized APIs that Marketo provides as they allow for data interchange of person and person-related data from Marketo, such as Activities, Opportunities and Companies.


Lead Database objects include the following:

  • Leads
  • Companies/Accounts
  • Named Accounts
  • Opportunities
  • OpportunityRoles
  • SalesPersons
  • Custom Objects
  • Activities
  • List and Program Membership

Most of these objects include at least Create, Read, Update and Delete methods.  Also included is a “Describe” method which provides a list of available fields for each type, and a list of fields used for deduplication (for non-Lead objects), and which fields are searchable for retrieval of records.  The richest set is provided for lead’s as they have the largest variety of capabilities within Marketo applications.


For a full listing of Lead Database API endpoints, including parameters and modeling information, see the Lead Database API Endpoint Reference.

For instances with a native CRM integration enabled (either Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce.com), the Company, Opportunity, Opportunity Role, and Sales Person APIs are disabled.  The records are managed through the CRM when enabled and cannot be accessed or updated via Marketo’s APIs.

  • Max batch size (standard): 300 records
  • Max batch size (bulk): 10MB file
  • Default batch size: 300 records
  • Content-type header (standard): application/json
  • Content-type header (bulk): multipart/form-data


For Leads, Companies, Opportunities, Roles, SalesPersons, and Custom Objects, a describe API is provided.  Calling this will retrieve metadata for the object, as well as a list of fields available for updating and querying.  Describing is a crucial part of designing a proper integration with Marketo, as it provides rich metadata about how objects can and cannot be interacted with, as well as how they can be created, updated and queried.  Apart from Describe Leads, each of these will also return a list of keys available for deduplication in the dedupeFields response parameter, and a list of fields available as keys for querying in the searchableFields response parameter.  Let’s take a look at what describing the Opportunity Role returns:

In this example, dedupeFields is actually a compound key.  This means that in future updates and creates, when using the dedupeFields mode, you’ll need to include all three of externalOpportunityId, leadId, and role for each individual role.  The searchableFields array, also provides the list of fields available for querying role records.  This also includes the compound key of externalOpportunityId, leadId, and role.

There is also a fields response parameter, which will provide the name of each field, the displayName as it appears in the Marketo UI, the datatype of the field, whether it can be updated after creation, and the length of the field if applicable.


Lead Database objects all share the same basic pattern for querying against simple keys, where just one field is referenced.

For all objects except leads, you can select your {field to query} from the searchableFields of the corresponding describe call, and compose a comma-separated list of up to 300 values.  There are also these optional query parameters:

  • batchSize – An integer count of the number of results to return. Default and Maximum is 300.
  • nextPageToken – Token returned from a previous call for paging. See Paging Tokens for more detail.
  • fields – A comma-separated list of field names to return for each record. See corresponding description for a list of valid fields. If a particular field is requested, but not returned, the value is implied to be null.
  • _method – Used for submitting queries using the POST HTTP method. See _method=GET section below for usage.

For a quick example let’s look at querying opportunities:

Note that the filterType specified in this call is “idField” and not “marketoGUID”.  This and “dedupeFields” are both special cases, where the field corresponding to the idField, or dedupeFields can be aliased in this way.  The “marketoGUID” is still the resulting lookup field in the call, but it is not explicitly set in the call.  The fields and/or sets of fields indicated by the idField and dedupeFields of an object description will always be valid filterTypes for a query.  This call searches for records matching the GUIDs included in filterValues, and returns any matching records.  If there are no records found using this method, the response will still indicate success, however the result array will be empty, since the search was executed successfully, but there were no records to return.

If the set of records in the query exceeds 300 or the batchSize which was specified, whichever is smaller, then the response will have a member moreResult with a value of true, and a nextPageToken, which can be included in a subsequent call to retrieve more of the set.  See Paging Tokens for more details.

Long URIs

In some cases, such as when querying by GUIDs, your URI may be extremely long and exceed the 8KB permitted by the REST service.  In this case, you will need to use the HTTP POST method instead of GET, and add a query parameter _method=GET.  In addition, the rest of your query parameters will need to be passed in the POST body as an “application/x-www-form-urlencoded” string, and pass the associated Content-type header.  Here’s what an example call would look like:

Besides extremely long URIs, this parameter is also required when querying compound keys.

Compound Keys

The pattern for querying compound keys is different from simple keys, as it requires submitting a POST with a JSON body.  This is not necessary in all cases, only in those where a dedupeFields option with multiple fields is used as the filterType.  Currently compound keys are only used by Opportunity Roles, and some custom objects.  Let’s look at an example of a query for Opportunity Roles with the compound key from dedupeFields:

The structure of the JSON object is mostly flat, and all of the query parameters for queries with simple keys are valid members, with the exception of filterValues.  Instead of a filter values, there is an “input” array of JSON objects, which each must have a member for each of the fields in your compound key; in this case, they are externalOpportunityId, leadId, and role.  This will execute a query for roles, against the provided inputs and return the matching results.  If your response returns a parameter with moreResult true, and a nextPageToken, you must include all of the original inputs and the nextPageToken for the query to execute properly.

Create and Update

Creates and updates for lead database records, are all performed through POSTs with JSON bodies.  The interface for Opportunities, Roles, Custom Objects, Companies, and SalesPersons are each the same.  The Lead’s interface is a little different, and you can read more about it there specifically.

The only required parameter is an array called input containing up to 300 objects, each with the fields that you want to insert/update as members.  You can also optionally include an action parameter which can be one of: createOnly, updateOnly, or createOrUpdate.  If the action is omitted then the mode defaults to createOrUpdate.  dedupeBy is another optional parameter that can be used when action is set to either createOnly or createOrUpdate.   dedupeBy can be either idField, or dedupeFields.  If idField is selected, then the idField listed in the description is used for deduplication and must be included in each record.  idField mode is not compatible with createOnly mode.  If dedupeFields is selected, then the dedupeFields listed in the object description are used, and each one must be included in each record.  If the dedupeBy parameter is omitted, the mode defaults to dedupeFields.

When passing a list of field values, a value of null, or an empty string, will be written to the database as null.

Other than the leads API, calls to create or update lead database objects will return an seq field in each object in the results array.  The number listed corresponds to the order of the updated record in the request made.  Each item will also return the value of the idField for the object type, and a status.  The status field will indicate one of “created,” “updated,” or “skipped.”  If the status is skipped, then there will also be a corresponding “reasons” array with one or more reason objects that includes a code and a message, indicating why a record was skipped.  See error codes for additional details.


The interface for deletions is standard for Lead Database objects aside from leads.  Aside from input, there is only one required parameter deleteBy, which can have a value of idField or dedupeFields.  Let’s look at deleting some custom objects.

The seq, status, marketoGUID and reasons should all be familiar to you by now.

For more details on working with CRUD operations for each individual object type, check out their respective pages.