Before You Begin:

Disclaimer: Use at Your Own Risk

The workflow outlined in this guide will permanently delete contacts from the database. There is no undo function or recovery option for contacts that are deleted by the workflow. This workflow does NOT follow Eloqua Best Practices.

This configuration manipulates the Deduplication Rule function in a manner that is not intended by the tool. As a result, the configuration is NOT officially supported.



i. The Eloqua instance you are working in will require the "Data Tools" add-on in order to access Deduplication Rules. You will also require the necessary User permissions to access Data Tools. If you are not familiar with Deduplication Rules, consider reviewing the Help Center article "Creating Deduplication Rules"

ii. User access to Program Builder

iii. A Shared List that contains no contacts




How it works:

A deduplication rule that has been configured to find an "exact match" for the email address value is not capable of finding the same unique contact record twice as the function is intended to only identify duplicate records in the database. As a contact is uniquely identified by the email address value, there will be no match (duplicate) when this rule is processed. We are able to get around this behavior by utilizing the "Non-matches (Source)" logic within the Handler Set's configuration in order to permanently delete the contact that is in the Program Builder step when 'no duplicate match' is identified for the contact within the empty Shared List.


Additional Consideration:

As the contact records will be deleted from the database, there is no direct auditing to determine which contacts have been deleted by the Handler Set.




1. Create a contact Deduplication Rule that utilizes the "Email Address" contact field. Save.


2. Add a Deduplication Handler Set to the newly created rule where the "Deduplication Handler" is set to "Delete Permanently" and the "Runs On" logic is set to "Non-matches (Source)". Save.


3. Now that the deduplication rule has been created and configured, we can utilize the rule in Program Builder.

4. Within your Program Builder workflow, select the step that you would like to delete contacts and "Edit Step Default Action".

5. In the "Edit Action" modal window,

    i. select "Run a Match/Deduplication Rule" for the step Action.

    ii. select the "Contacts" option for the "Run Match/Deduplication Rule against" option

    iii. select the empty Shared List you are working with for the "Run Match/Deduplication Rule against members in" option

    iv. select the Deduplication rule created in step 1 for the "Match/Deduplication Rule" option

    v. select the Handler Set created in step 2 for the "Match/Deduplication Rule Handler Set" option

    vi. Save and Close


6. The setup is now complete.