I'm kind of new to the API world in SFMC and just wanted to clear up some confusions that I have.

I wanted to build a transactional type journey for our members and the entry source for this is of course the API Event. We are using the REST API method.

Which of these method is the best practice or is my assumptions below correct?

  1. Insert/Upsert the records into the users table that is the Contact Population? For any changes in the data journey will be via the Data Extension update.

  2. Create a new Contact via the API? Subsequent activity such as updates will then be done via the PATCH call. However the question that I have for this, where is the record going to be inserted? Is it the users table as defined in the contact population?

Thanking you all in advance.


"Contacts" on their own are not extensively exposed in the application, so simply creating a Contact via the API would make it hard to use in the future with any of the segmentation tools to hand that operate from Lists or Data Extensions.

I would add your new Contacts to a Data Extension that is your Population and update records using the DataEvents or AttributSets route or the SOAP DataExtensionObject.

One thing to consider as you're building out the Contact Model in Contact Builder is whether you'll ever need to relate other tables to the Contact in any way other than by their ContactKey. Adding your contacts and their attributes to a population removes the ability to make joins in Contact Builder through anything other that the ContactKey. For example, you may have a PostCode reference table containing geodemographic data about postcodes and have a PostCode attribute in your Contact data. There's no way to relate the Contact's PostCode to the PostCode reference table, if the PostCode for the Contact is in your Population Data Extension. You may want to consider using a "ContactAttributes" Data Extension to hold the contact attributes, instead.

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