Substitute custom variable strings to compile analyses

The problem I’m having

I need to compile a set of analysis that substitute variables with strings of text that are proprietary to a vendor. For example I have a variable field called “client” with a value like “walmart” which I need to substitute with “&:client”. Due to query introspection I will get errors when I try and substitute an unrecognized string:

The context of why I’m trying to do this

The proprietary software Matik uses a specific syntax for their own variable substitution. For testing I use a series of normal values however when I want to upload my queries to the vendor software I need to substitute unrecognized values like so:

dbt compile --vars ‘{“start_date”: “&:start_date”, “client”: “&:client”}’

What I’ve already tried

This will fail:

dbt compile --vars ‘{“start_date”: “&:start_date”, “client”: “&:client”}’

Some example code or error messages

botocore.errorfactory.InvalidRequestException: An error occurred (InvalidRequestException) when calling the StartQueryExecution operation: line 3:106: mismatched input 'year'. Expecting: ')', <expression>, <query>

I would ideally like for the query to compile using the variables in my dbt_project.yml file however use the overrides when outputting the compiled query to the target folder.