THIS IS MY 100th BLOG POST!
Last week, I passed Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification!! It is my 5th Salesforce certification, officially 4th now because Salesforce has removed the original Developer certification (401) so that is no longer counted towards Certification count.
3 months earlier, I had no Marketing cloud experience, I moved to an official Salesforce Marketing Cloud partner company, so this certification was on cards since then.
Even before I joined, I started my learning process. It took me 2 months to prepare for this certification as a complete newbie to Marketing Cloud. The exam wasn’t easy for me (though many say it is the easiest exam) as I didn’t have full-time hands-on experience of working on Marketing Cloud project while attempting this certification.
Breakdown of Score
Before I talk about how I prepared for this certification here’s a breakdown of how much I scored on the exam.
Since we know the topics from the certification guide (column #1) and the % of weight for each topic (column #2), I calculated the expected number of questions for each topic (column #3) out of 60 questions. Salesforce sent my topic wise scoring via email that I secured after the exam (Column #4), so I calculated how many questions I got them right (column #5).
|Topic||% of Weightage (from the guide)||Expected No. of Questions||My Exam Result in %||No. of Correct Answers|
|Content Creation and Email Delivery||18%||11||90.90%||10|
|Tracking and Reporting||6%||4||75.00%||3|
|Email Marketing Best Practices||15%||9||88.88%||8|
|Email Message Design||13%||8||37.50%||3|
|Subscriber Data and Management||29%||17||76.47%||13|
In total, I got 46 answers correct out of 60 – that is 76.67%. Not bad. Pass!!
[Note to self: Badly need to brush up my Email Message Design skills!! ]
Note that the passing % has been increased from 60% to 65% for this certification
As a newbie, this is what I did for preparation. Note the material I used is freely available to anyone and you don’t have to spend your $. Below is the order in which I did my preparation:
- Understanding Topics & Weightage
- Trailhead Modules
- Official Youtube Playlist
- Help Document
- Free Training Courses
- Free Certification Preparation Webinars
- Mock Tests (FYR, I added Sample Questions from my exam)
- Topics & Weightage: First thing is to get acquainted with the topics from the Salesforce certification guide and have an understanding of how many questions you’d get from each topic. As mentioned in the above table, there are 6 Topics.
- Reporting & Tracking is the lowest – Just 6%. So around 4 questions.
- Subscriber Data Management is the highest – 29% – 17 questions.
- The remaining 4 topics are between 13% to 19% – around 10 questions per each topic
- Content Creation and Email Delivery (18%)
- Marketing Automation (19%)
- Email Marketing Best Practices (15%)
- Email Message Design (13%)
- Trailhead: Obviously I started the preparation with Trailhead. There are only 3 modules for Marketing Cloud (MC). Reading and understanding these 3 modules from Trailhead covers 15-18% of your certification.
- Marketing Cloud Basics: This gives the right intro to what this is all about. This doesn’t cover any certification topics but just gives a general idea of the cloud.
- Marketing Cloud Studios & Builders: This gives an intro to the tools of MC. Focus on the Email Studio part. Do not go deep into the Journey builder but this is a must-read. There are a couple of introductory questions on why or when Journey builder is used in the certification.
- Email Marketing Strategies: The 3rd and the most important module This is very useful and covers the Email Marketing Best Practices topic of the certification (9-10 questions from this).
- Update Feb 2018: 3 More Trailhead modules released for Marketing Cloud which helps in this certification
- Official Salesforce Marketing Cloud Basics Youtube Playlist: Salesforce has an official Youtube channel specifically for Marketing Cloud, called “Marketing Cloud Official”. They have a special playlist named “Marketing Cloud Basics” where they talk about all the basics of Email Studio. This is very useful as the videos show the marketing cloud user interface while explaining the all the features of marketing cloud in detail. These are just 2-3 mins videos, 13 of them (to this day). So you should be able to complete them in an hour – This is fast-paced learning!
- Read the Help Document: You can skip this step as this would not really help in certification directly at this stage. I preferred to do this as I wanted a deep knowledge and understanding of everything as eventually I know I’d work on MC. So, I chose the hard path. Salesforce provides the help documentation for marketing cloud. Go to the “Getting Started with Email Studio” topic from the left menu in the help documentation. For the next 10 days, I read through all of this, yes the entire of Email Studio documentation. Though not everything makes sense the first time, this will give you an idea of what’s in MC. I made notes for each topic, the things I feel are important to me. It didn’t help for the exam but from a learning perspective, it did.
- Free Official Salesforce Online Training Courses: Salesforce provides free online training material. To get these, login to your any Developer Account (Not marketing cloud, your Sales cloud Developer account). If you don’t have a Developer account, you can sign-up here! This account is free for life. After logging in, go to Help (from upper right corner menu). Click on Training & Certification. And apply the filter ‘Marketing Cloud’. There are 9 courses available for free to study. These are some amazing content. (You can skip the Social Studio ones for this certification preparation.)
- If you have Marketing Cloud account, you can log in to your Marketing Cloud Account and go through Help (from top right corner menu, after logging in) and get to the Training courses.
- Free APAC Certification Preparation Webinars: Salesforce University (okay now it is merged with Trailhead, so need to refer to it as Trailhead also) has started conducting free certification preparation webinars for everyone. This is an initiative from the Asia Pacific (APAC) team of
Salesforce UniversityTrailhead, so these webinar timings are more suited to the Asia time zone. These preparation webinars are not just for Marketing Cloud, they do for all other Salesforce cloud certifications including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud. These are 5-hour sessions and is quite interactive. The instructor takes you through the certification topics, explains each topic, with a live demo, giving you tips to clear the certification. This webinar is purely for certification purposes. You can register for the upcoming webinars using this link. I keep updating this link as soon Salesforce releases the dates for next webinars. I cannot share this material with you as this is Private & Confidential.
- It is important to make notes during the webinar as you won’t have access to it later.
- After the webinar, do a review of what topics you need to study more. Refer to the Help document and go through those topics.
- By this stage, you would cover the entire certification topics and should be almost ready for the exam in the next 2 weeks. The next 2 weeks you need to check mock exams and understand the question formats.
- Sample questions from my exam: Are you ready for the exam? Let me check. I will list down the topics from which my questions were based on. If you think you can answer, you are ready. If not, don’t worry, just check the Help document to understand more on these topics (or write a comment on this post for any clarification).
Given a scenario, which one to use – Suppression List or Exclusion list?
Given a scenario, which one to use – Is testable / Is sendable?
Why consider Data Extension (DE) over lists
Best practices for switching from Classic Content to Content Builder.
What are the contents of a “content” in MC?
How to maintain Consistent email branding in mobile?
How not to include clicks of internal users in statistics?
Lots of questions on Unsubscribes / Business Unit Unsubscribes / Profile Centre
Hard bounce, Soft Bounce
When to use Query vs Data Extract vs Filter in Automation Studio?
What is Send relationship?
- When to use Send throttle?
- Mock Tests: You can check for mock test available on the internet. Don’t completely rely on them, as the question formats are not completely in line with what you get in your exam and most of the answers in the mock tests are wrong. So, I’m not giving any links here for mock tests.
Feel free to comment if any clarification required on any topic or any question from the mock tests, I will provide the right answer.
Maintenance of Certification Credential
To maintain your Marketing Cloud Certification, you no longer need to pay 100$ and take that online yearly maintenance exam. It has been shifted to Trailhead, yes! Learn how to maintain your credential