Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification: A Retrospective

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification: A Retrospective

One of the things I love about being a technical consultant is that I’m encouraged to learn new things, even if they don’t directly relate to my projects. Over the past year one of those technologies has been Salesforce: first with my Platform Developer 1 Certification, and now with my Salesforce Cloud Marketing Email Specialist Certification.

What is Salesforce?

At a very high level, Salesforce is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that companies use to keep track of customer interactions

What is the Marketing Cloud?

Marketing Cloud is a Salesforce product that allows companies to create targeted marking campaigns over email, mobile, social media, and web channels.

What Does it Mean to be an “Email Specialist”?

It means that I’ve done training related to creating email campaigns through Salesforce! All of the emails you get from companies that are newsletters, discount codes, or “you forgot something in your cart” emails? Those kinds of content.

What does the Certification Look Like?

Structure: It’s 60 multiple choice questions, broken out into several different focus areas (like design, standards, etc.) and you have 90 minutes to answer them

Cost: Taking the test costs USD $200 (a retake is USD $100)

Passing Score: 65%

You can download all the information about the 2018 Summer Exam here

What Preparation Did You Use for the Certification Exam?

Honestly, my preparation was pretty awful, so I’ll tell you what I did and then give you some supplementary advice as well.

Study Time: Probably less than 10 hours total

Youtube Videos on Marketing Cloud (1h-1.5h):

These Youtube videos created by Salesforce helped me a surprising amount in regards the best practice answers regarding Content Builder because they’re focused on working with it within your company and between business units

Quizlet (60 questions)

The Quizlet is not a 1:1 to the test and I would have failed if this is all I had looked at, but it particularly helped me to figure out how questions would be laid out and in solidifying the best practices for email design (I tend to get a little bit of test anxiety, so it was nice being to run through it a few times)

Trailhead Courses

Trailhead courses are Salesforce-create-and-approved training modules that you can use to brush up on your Salesforce expertise

  • Marketing Cloud Basics
  • Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification Maintenance (for fun)
  • Marketing Cloud Studios & Builders
  • Email Studio Basics

Additional Courses you could take (but I didn’t):

  • Marketing Cloud Connect (I did about 25% of this one and then forgot about it)
  • Email Marketing Strategies
  • Audience Segmentation
  • Email Creation and Sending


I passed the first time!

At the end of the test I was unsure about 23 of the questions, and after going through them again, there were 9 questions that I clearly had no clue what I was doing.

You will immediately receive an email telling you the percentages you received in each “category” of the test, mine were as follows:

My results:

Tracking and Reporting: 50.00%
Marketing Automation: 72.72%
Subscriber Data and Management: 70.58%
Content Creation and Email Delivery: 72.72%
Email Marketing Best Practices: 88.88%
Email Message Design: 87.50%

I killed it in email marketing best practices and design and did less hot in the tracking and reporting section. My coworker, who took it before I did, had inverse scores to me (he didn’t do great in design and practices but did very well in automation and reporting) – I think the trailhead courses I skipped over would have likely filled in some of those gaps for me.


The Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification was a lot less arduous in terms of studying and time commitment compared to the Platform Dev 1 Certification. It focuses on Salesforce’s Marketing tool set and creating effective email campaigns. After approximately 10 hours of studying a variety of sources (Youtube, Salesforce Trailheads, Quizlet) I took the exam, and, while I was nervous when I clicked the  “submit” button, I passed!

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