I passed the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant exam in July 2016 and studied for the exam the same way I have for my 9 other Salesforce Certifications — which is using the exam outline as a starting guide. If you’re interested in all the Marketing Cloud certifications, I have also written a guide for the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Administrator certification, a guide for the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Exam, and also a guide for the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Developer Exam.
The exam is structured the same as the other Salesforce exams:
- 60 multiple choice questions
- 105 minutes to take the exam
- 68% needed to pass (get at least 41 questions correct)
- $200 to take the exam
- $100 to retake the exam if you don’t pass the first time
Note that the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist certification is a prerequisite for taking this exam.
If you haven’t already immersed yourself in Trailhead, you should get some SFMC badges under your belt to get the general basic knowledge of the tool. Use the Exam Guide as a studying outline which I will also cover below. The Salesforce official documentation will also have information to help you, although the material can be dry. And lastly, Salesforce StackExchange is a great resource to ask questions to other people in the community if you get stuck on something.
The best place to start is by drilling down in each of the bullets in the exam outline. This gives you a great backbone on what to expect on the actual exam and how much each section is weighted:
- Discovery: 15%
- Conceptual Design: 12%
- Marketing Cloud Connect: 6%
- Account Configuration: 10%
- Reporting: 5%
- Data Design: 12%
- Automation: 8%
- Email Build: 7%
- Contact Builder: 15%
- Journey Builder: 10%
You can see that the sections are pretty evenly distributed in the number of questions you should expect on the exam. As opposed to the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Administrator exam which was more heavily weighted on the Setup of the Marketing Cloud instance.
- Provided with a set of business requirements, determine what additional information is needed to design the recommended solution.
- Provided with a list of branding and creative strategies, probe for additional information that is needed to recommend an appropriate solution.
- Provided a customer environment and goals, determine the viability of external systems that need to be included in the solution (for example; POS, CRM, eCommerce, data warehouse, data source inputs).
- Demonstrate how to gather requirements in order to put together the data and segmentation strategy for the customer (for example; frequency, complexity, volume of sending).
- Given a scenario that includes customer information about subscriber acquisition, management, and attrition, utilize this information to select solution components.
- Given a solution, recommend the appropriate customer skill sets required to utilize the Marketing Cloud application.
All the questions in the Discovery section will be scenario-based questions. You will be acting as a Solution Consultant and the questions will be the types of questions that you need to ask the client to gather information in the discovery phase of the project.
There may be scenario-based questions around data migration, for example, if the fictional client is moving from another email platform and how do they retain their data. Keep in mind if there are other data sources that need to be integrated within Marketing Cloud, the source of truth for the data, frequency of data input, etc.
You’ll need to know audience sizes and expected list sizes which will determine the data model used in Marketing Cloud. Make sure you know everything around Email Studio and its’ capabilities.
In terms of subscriber acquisition, there are best practices that you should follow to safeguard you from getting black listed. Focus on gathering engaged subscribers to your list as not every subscriber is equally valued. Using confirmed opt-in will help protect your list from low-quality subscriber acquisition sources.
Conceptual Design: 12%
- Analyze customer data to determine the appropriate data model (for example; List model, Data Extensions).
- Given a scenario, determine the appropriate solution for given requirements considering technical expertise of personas (for example; Automation Studio vs. Journey Builder).
- Given a narrative data flow, select the correct data flow diagram that depicts that data flow.
- Given a customer scenario, identify which User Stories are appropriate to use for accessing Marketing Cloud.
- Given a customer scenario, determine the factors to consider when scaling the solution.
- Articulate how data construct will drive one-to-one messaging and content.
- Explain the purpose of IP Warming and make a recommendation based on customer needs.
If you are familiar with the Marketing Cloud blueprint, the conceptual design gets into the weeds of the project and how the solution will be implemented. Lists versus Data Extensions is a common question and you’ll need to know why choose using data extensions or lists — either based on size of audience or business needs.
There are a few questions that will ask you which solution is better and whether or not to use Automation Studio or Journey Builder. Both Automation Studio and Journey Builder can be used for the same solution, for example if you need to just send one email automatically you can use either solution. But when you start to look at things like Engagement Split Activities, then your obvious choice will be to use Journey Builder.
You’ll need to familiarize yourself with Import Activities regarding data flows and importing into a data extension. This also means understanding of the Marketing Cloud SFTP and importing/exporting files from/into the SFTP.
Also spend some time understanding the concept of IP Warming and how to properly warm the IP addresses in Marketing Cloud so that emails get inboxed. Segment your subscriber list by domain and limit sending to 5,000-10,000 a day depending on the email domain.
Marketing Cloud Connect: 6%
- Understand the prerequisites to consider prior to starting a Marketing Cloud Connect configuration (for example; Salesforce edition, list of integration users, scope user, administrator credentials).
- Understand how to send an email to a contact, lead, campaign, and report via the Sales/Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud (for example; sending, triggered, automated).
- Understand how Sales/Service Cloud data in the Marketing Cloud can be segmented.
You will need to know which Salesforce.com editions support Marketing Cloud Connector: Unlimited, Enterprise, and Performance. Also know that Person Accounts are supported by the Marketing Cloud Connector package. Professional Edition is not supported.
There will be also some questions on how to send emails from Sales or Service Cloud and how to segment your data in Marketing Cloud. Looking back on my notes, there were questions on how to set up profiles and permissions. There was also a question on integrated users.
Account Configuration: 10%
- Given a customer scenario, recommend the appropriate Marketing Cloud role based on User Stories.
- Determine which type of customer scenario warrants the creation of a business unit (for example; publication types, demographic, workflow processes, and organizational structure).
- Given a scenario, troubleshoot issues regarding Reply Mail Management.
- Analyze the impact of applying a Sender Authentication Package (SAP) to a business unit (for example; link wrapping, Landing Pages, image URLs).
If you have ever stood up a Marketing Cloud instance, the Account Configuration section should be familiar. Understand the out-of-the-box Marketing Cloud Roles and Permissions and what roles to assign based on user stories and level of access needed. I had a question where it asked, a customer wants to give their email specialists access to automations, but does not want to create custom roles. How would you solve for this?
There will be some scenario based questions on when to set up new Business Units and business reasons why it is needed or not needed, so make sure you understand reasons for creating business units in Marketing Cloud.
Reply Mail Management (RMM) allows you to process replies from your end-users automatically. For example, if you send an email to your audience and if they click reply and type in a message, that message can be automatically routed to the right personnel. Also they can receive an automated message immediately after replying.
Sender Authentication Package (SAP) is a collection of setup items to help insure your email gets inboxed. This includes:
- Private Domain
- Dedicated IP Address
- Reply Mail Management (RMM)
- Explain how the information in data views and tracking extracts are accessed.
- Compare and contrast standard reports, data views, and tracking extracts.
- Summarize Send Logs, including when/why to use it and how to create and manage.
Reporting is 5% weighted so you’ll see a couple of questions on data views and tracking extracts. The standard reporting in Marketing Cloud is nothing to write home about so it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to review the types of out-of-the-box reporting that is available.
Data Design: 12%
- Explain the various data objects in the Marketing Cloud (for example; data extensions, list model, data retention model, publication lists, suppression lists).
- Understand available data types, retention, and template options when building a data extension.
- Understand how data is retrieved within a Relational Data Model (for example; basic SQL).
- Given a customer scenario, recommend the appropriate import method with lists or data extensions.
- Understand the implications of a system being database of record.
Get the basics on Data Extensions versus List as that’s a topic that comes up pretty often — this includes publication lists and suppression lists. Learn the basics of Data Retention policy and how to change settings. I had a scenario-based question something along the lines where if a customer set up their account a certain way with lists and/or data extensions, what was the reason why.
Publication lists are used to manage your subscribers’ opt-outs and opt-ins. Publication lists can be visible on your out-of-the-box preference center.
Suppression lists help manage your subscribers’ opt-out and unsubscribe requests. You also have the master All Subscribers list that can control unsubscribes.
Data Retention policy determines how data is retained in data extensions. Data can be deleted after a certain amount of time at the individual record level or the entire data extension.
There are some SQL questions so brush up on your basic SQL query knowledge to troubleshoot answers on the test. There were questions with actual SQL queries that you need to debug, for example, which one of these SQL queries is correct? They will be multiple choice answers so eliminating wrong answers is key.
- Given a customer scenario, select the appropriate workflow that meets the business requirement (for example; import, segmentation, email send).
- Compare and contrast triggered and scheduled interactions.
You will be given a few scenario-based questions so memorizing definitions won’t help you here. You will need experience using Automation Studio and which activity to use such as Data Extract, File Transfer, and Import. Note that you’ll need to use a File Transfer to move a file from the safe house if using a Data Extract into the safe house.
Automations can be triggered by a file drop or they can be a scheduled automation. If you do not have a set time that the file will be in the sFTP, you will want to use a file drop versus a scheduled automation.
Email Build: 7%
- Understand the required steps to build, test, and deploy an email based on customer requirements.
- Explain the various ways to individualize email content (for example; AMPscript, personalization strings, Dynamic Content, Guide Template Language).
- Compare and contrast the ways to individualize content, such as SSJS vs. AMPscript, Dynamic Content Wizard vs. AMPscript/LookupRows function.
- Explain various Marketing Cloud Email technologies (for example; Link Alias tags, Impression regions, Web Analytics Connector).
For the Email build section, a number of the questions involve Content Builder. Work your way around the part of the application. There were a small number of AMPscript questions so you’ll need to know how to debug some AMPscript like the SQL query questions above. They are multiple choice, so your best bet is to eliminate the wrong answers.
Contact Builder: 15%
- Explain the role and capabilities within Contact Builder.
- Understand how cardinality impacts data modeling.
- Summarize how to use Data Designer to incorporate data source into Contact Builder.
- Given a customer scenario, know how to build an Attribute Group to be used for a simple interaction.
For contact builder, you should learn what attribute groups are and how they are used, linking data extensions, use as Root and what does it do, and also 1:1 relationships versus 1:many.
Spend some time in the Contact Builder documentation so that you can learn how to navigate your way through it.
Journey Builder: 10%
- Compare and contrast automation tools, such as Journey Builder and Automation Studio.
- Given a customer scenario that includes Journey Builder, evaluate the requirements, activities, and steps.
- Explain the requirements for and the methods by which a contact can enter a Journey.
There were a lot of situational questions such as which Journey Builder activities to use and in what order. For example, do you use a data extract before a file transfer? If the file is encrypted, how do you decrypt it first in automation studio. What situations would you use Automation Studio over Journey Builder.
If you have access to a Marketing Cloud instance, practice building some test journeys to familiarize yourself with it. If not, you’ll have to work with the Trailhead guide and the questions and answers available on that.
I hope this helps. As I mentioned many times in this guide and in other certification study guides, focus on the topics in the official exam guide as your starting point. When test taking, the best method is to eliminate the wrong answers to increase your chances of getting the answer correct.
Also be sure to check out the Salesforce Certification Coupon Codes page to see if there are any current discounts. Good luck and let me know in the comments if you have passed the exam!