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Can you create two records in Pardot from one form handler?

What if you had a scenario where you wanted to create 2 Pardot records from a single form submit? For example, you wanted to offer a way to register someone "on behalf of" someone else for for an event. Ideally you would end up with 2 records here: one for the person submitting and one for the person submitted "on behalf of".

Before we even start down this track, I must point out that we need to ask ourselves if the person filling out the form has the right to disclose the second person's information, and also if we are willing to forgo tracking information on the second person to get the record created in this way? If the answer to both those questions is yes, then read on!

The key here is to use the Pardot Form handler, which allows us to more flexibly collect the form information with an external form builder. The key here is to be able to get the first person tracked and avoid associating the second person's information with the first person's tracking cookie.

So here's how you'd do it with 2 form handlers. Let's say you're using a form builder such as Gravity Forms to create your form. In your form setup you will be sending all the fields in the same submit URL string. But you need to set up different field name values on your form for each field that's the same in Pardot-- so firstname and firstname1 for example (this is the pattern I will use for this explanation) Set up your first Pardot form handler to accept the form information related to the first person, so setting up the external field names in Pardot you are taking email, firstname, lastname, etc. Set up this first form hander to only take the "first person's" information. Click the "Enable Data Forwarding to Success Location" option. And your success location is--- the second form handler's address.

Set up the second form handler's external field names to be email1, firstname1, lastname1, etc. Have this form handler be set to kiosk mode, since we don't want this second record to be associated with the person submitting. The success location for this second handler would be your final success landing page, ideally a Pardot tracked page so the that submission from the first handler gets cookied.

Why does this work? A form handler will only accept field data that matches it's external field names and ignores the rest. So the field data for the submitting person goes to the first one and the field data for the "on behalf of" other person goes into the second one, each respective handler ignores the extra data.

Now, a best practice here would be for the second handler to send a message to the person whose data was entered on their behalf, at a minimum notifying them that was done. (Someone has entered your data on your behalf) If you wanted to say who it was, you could use a custom field on the second handler and re-use the firstname lastname values from the first handler to record "who did it" on the second person's record. In that same email you can also try and get your on behalf of person to click a link to go to a tracked confirmation page, which would get a cookie set and then your second person would also be tracked. That action might be "confirm that you accept your information being entered on your behalf".

This example has limited use cases for sure, but with the power of Pardot form handlers, you can get the job done!

*As of April 2022, Pardot has been renamed Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, as part of Salesforce's effort to organize all the marketing products under the same platform umbrella. "MCAE" is simply the same Pardot we know and love under a new name. The product is temporarily being referred to as "Marketing Cloud Account Engagement powered by Pardot."   

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