Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Resource Guide

The Salesforce Architect exams each come with a resource guide, which includes helpful links for each section of the exam. I have found those incredibly useful in my study. Resource guides don’t currently exist for the standard exams, so I have compiled content into a series of resource guides. This is the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist resource guide.

The Marketing Cloud Email Specialist certification focuses on a foundational knowledge of the Email Studio platform, it’s capabilities and limitations, as well as best practices around email marketing. There are 3 Marketing Cloud certifications, and they require hands-on experience with the tools.

Understanding the Tests

As I mentioned in a previous post, understanding the intention and structure of the exams is key to passing. Salesforce provides a study guide for every certification test. In those guides, they provide a breakdown of the different sections and their relative weight. Take note of those while studying.


Topic Weighting # of Questions
Subscriber & Data Management 29% 17
Marketing Automation 19% 11
Content Creation & Delivery 18% 11
Email Marketing Best Practices 15% 9
Email Message Design 13% 8
Tracking & Reporting 6% 4


Under each topic in the study guide, there are bullet points that describe the information you need to know. For example, the ‘Marketing Automation’ section, the bullet points are:

  • Given a customer scenario, recommend the appropriate marketing automation solution.
  • Given a scenario to manage customer data, configure the appropriate marketing automation tools.

Make sure you understand the intention behind each bullet point. For example, in the above point #1, you need to know which tools are available, as well as their intended use case and potential limitations.








  • Given a customer scenario, explain the different metrics available for email campaigns and what each one means.
  • Given an email campaign, describe the steps involved to analyze the performance results.
  • Given a need to run reports, configure and run Marketing Cloud adhoc and automated reports.

Ready for the Exam?

Book your exam now, even before you start studying. There’s no better way to drive you to study than booking your exam.

For the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist exam, I highly recommend hands-on time working inside of Email Studio. There are lots of questions that you likely won’t know without some actual time in the system. When reading the linked articles, watch for the bolded call-outs. Those are directed at consultants and end users to notify them of a specific limitation or consideration. Those often show up on the exam.

If you have questions during your exam preparation, please feel free to reach out. I’ll do my best to respond with some help and guidance.

I am a 24x Salesforce certified consultant, currently working for the implementation partner Simplus. I am passionate about Salesforce, and I enjoy the friendly ecosystem that is filled with talented, intelligent professionals.
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19 thoughts on “Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Resource Guide

  1. A retail brand is running a campaign for new customers that open a loyalty account. The first email is sent straight after the account is set up. The second email is sent 1 day after the account has been set up to prompt the user to make a purchase. The third email is sent 10 days after account was opened, or 8 days if the customer hasn’t made a purchase related to the account yet. Data kept in two separate data extensions
    The brand’s marketing team want to send campaign from the data extension.
    1. Create a measure and a data filter, a filter activity then use a guided send.
    2. Create a measure and a data filter, a filter activity then use a triggered send.
    3. Create a filter and a data extension key, an interaction and a user-initiated send.
    4. Create a filter and a data extension key, an interaction and a triggered send.

    1. This is a great question. The first and second emails would be handled by triggered sends, most likely from a data extension that contains account setup information. The third email is where the complexity lies. We would want to create a measure to look for a purchase, a filter activity to sort customers with/without purchases, and a triggered send to send the email.

      So in this case, #2 would be the correct answer. Does that make sense?

  2. A small company, with limited resources, has started to use the Marketing Cloud. They have a
    single master data extension for all of their subscribers. When a subscriber opts in to receive
    communications, they will receive a monthly newsletter, weekly promotions, and a birthday email.
    What is the optimal way to manage unsubscribes by communication type?
    A. Create publication lists for each communication type, and associate the publication list on the
    send definition.
    B. Create a Boolean field for each communication type in the data extension and update the Profile
    C. Create suppression lists for each communication type, and associate the suppression list on the
    send definition.
    D. Create separate data extensions for each communication type and customize the subscription

  3. Hi Chris ,

    My answer is create a publication list and associate with the communication type with a send definition . May i know your thoughts.

    1. Yes, you are exactly right. Publication Lists are a description of this exact use case. The subscriber can choose which types of communication are right for them. This can all be managed within a single data extension and business unit.

  4. Hi Chris,
    I keep getting stuck on the following question: A customer would like to automate a weekly email campaign using Automation Studio. Which send method would
    the customer use to configure the email?

    Is it Guided Send or User Initiated Send?

    1. A guided send is the traditional method for sending an email in Marketing Cloud. You are walked through the steps to send an email, and at the end of the process, the email gets sent out (or scheduled for send).

      A user-initiated send is similar, but it isn’t sent at the end of the process. Instead, you use an automation to actually send the email. These are commonly set up for something like a weekly newsletter where the automation sends the email, but the user configures something prior.

      So in this case, it is user-initiated send. Hopefully that clarifies things. The terms are not intuitive since a user-initiated send is actually sent via an automation.

  5. Hi Chris.

    Check this out.

    A new employee is using Salesforce Marketing cloud and wants to send emails without any mistakes. He has no prior knowledge of SQL. Which tool he would use:
    1. Scheduled Send Emails
    2. Predictive Email
    3. Journey Builder
    4. Automation Studio

    1. This question doesn’t provide much context, so all I have to go off of is ‘no prior knowledge of SQL’.

      Based on that item, I would recommend #1. A scheduled email send is the most basic function of Marketing Cloud. While SQL could be used to build the audience, just sending a scheduled email doesn’t require that. It’s the first item I train people to do in Marketing Cloud.

      The other 3 are more likely to use advanced features (like SQL to create an audience on joined tables), so those could be more difficult for a new user to adopt without mistakes. Hopefully that makes sense.

  6. Chris, how is it possible to get hands-on experience with Marketing Studio when Salesforce does not make it available for demo? Is Trailhead enough to pass this exam?

    1. Unfortunately Trailhead is not enough to pass this exam. You will need some real hands-on experience in Marketing Cloud in order to gain this certification. I hope that Salesforce opens up the Marketing Cloud platform through dev orgs someday, but that isn’t likely to happen soon.

  7. Hi Chris,
    I was wondering how valuable is this certification as it seems to focus on a very specific aspect of the platform (Email) unless you go for the Marketing Cloud certification (which I understand from you is very hard to pass).
    I wonder why they didnt do a similar arrangement like Pardot Specialist (as a user Specialist) and next level as a consultant.
    Was wondering about your thoughts.

    1. This certification is most valuable for someone who will be administering a Marketing Cloud environment. It covers the most common day-to-day responsibilities of a user. For consultants, this one carries some weight, but not nearly as much as the Marketing Cloud Consultant certification.

      I think they have been reassessing how Marketing Cloud fits within the certification ecosystem. They dropped Social Specialist and added Marketing Cloud Developer. It will be interesting to see if/how they make changes going forward.

  8. Thank you Chris. Do you think Salesforce in the future will continue to offer 2 different Marketing Solutions that are not compatible with each other? (Pardot & Marketing Cloud)
    Do you see them merging both platforms into one?

    1. I don’t see them merging those two tools. The architecture of both is too different to actually merge them. I could see Pardot eventually being brought into Salesforce as a ‘Lite’ marketing automation option, and Marketing Cloud being the bigger option.

      Interestingly, Pardot was acquired by ExactTarget, so when Salesforce bought ExactTarget (which became Marketing Cloud), they also inherited that tool. I think that multiple acquisition route has dictated some of that confusion and overlap.

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