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. I am passionate about Salesforce, and I enjoy the friendly ecosystem that is filled with talented, intelligent professionals.
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36 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. Has anyone gone to take the exam these days? have you found any new or different questions? Thanks a lot!

  6. 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. Hi All,

        I too think Automation Studio is correct

        Automation Studio –>Create Activity –> Send Email
        So I think the correct answer is Automation Studio

        Any suggestions or corrections…Chris

      2. Hi Leo,
        The answer to this is Journey Builder. Why not automation studio? They have provided a clear hint in the question itself that the employee doesn’t have prior SQL knowledge. Automation studio sometimes needs help of SQL queries to split or bifurcate audience for sending depending on the business requirements. But in Journey builder there is no real application of SQL needed, Split activities can do the job easily. Hope this cleared your doubt.

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Hi, I need help with this. Thanks

    A company has one million subscribers. The company has a Master data extension that contains information about its subscribers, such as Email Address, Physical Mailing Address, Phone Number, and Loyalty information. There are 40 fields in the data extension. The data is used for multiple daily email campaigns.
    How should the data be updated?

    A. A scheduled automation to import a file containing all of their subscribers.
    B. A scheduled automation to occur every 15 minutes to ensure the data is current.
    C. A file drop automation to execute an import every time a record is updated or added.
    D. A scheduled automation to import a nightly file of updated or changed records.

    I think A?

    1. You do need some sort of automation to keep the subscriber information up to date. Due to the volume (1M+), you likely wouldn’t want to do A or B. Those would be too much load on the system. A file drop automation is also a potential choice, but it doesn’t specify just updated records, so I assume that would still be a large data load.

      I would choose D, since that would just pull updated records, reducing the total number of records pulled in. It could update nightly, and be ready for the multiple daily emails.

  11. Hello Chris!

    I would like to ask for your opinion about an exam question:

    A marketing manager needs to evaluate two creative versions to determine which is more effective in increasing sales conversions and If this correlates to the version that receives the most clicks.
    Which two A/B test options should be used? Choose 2 answers
    A. The test administrator selects the desired audience test segment sizes.
    B. The test administrator manually selects the version to send to the remainder.
    C. The system automatically sends the winning version to the remainder audience.
    D. The test administrator chooses which subscribers to place in each audience.

    First I would have said A and C, but talking to a consultant she said it should be A and B, because if you want to evaluate them before sending, then you should check how they worked before clicking “send”, so that’s why you should do it manually. On the Internet, where I found this question, it says A and C are the right answers. What do you think?


    1. This one is interesting. There is truth to both B and C. When setting up your A/B tests, you can decide to manually select a winner and send to the remainder, or you can have the system determine the winner and automatically send to the remainder. (

      Based on the context of the question, I would choose A and B. The reason is that the marketing manager wants to evaluate sales conversions. The system wouldn’t be able to determine the winner with that criteria, it would require the administrator to review.

      Hopefully that helps clarify things a little.

  12. Hope you can help me on this question.

    What causes the mobile layout to display when using a mobile-optimized template?

    A. The screen size of the device that is used to view the email
    B. The specific device that is used to view the email
    C. The email client detection tracking pixel
    D. A subscriber attribute that dictates a mobile layout preference

    my answer are the A and C.

    1. The answer is A. The media query runs on screen size, which triggers the different CSS rules. If this question specified ‘Choose 2’, then I would select C as my second answer. Some email clients are mobile only, which can influence things.

  13. Hope you can help me on this question:
    Approximately 50% of Northern Trail Outfitters’ (NTO) subscribers open emails on their mobile devices,
    while the remaining 50% of subscribers open their emails on their desktop. The Chief Marketing Officer
    of NTO would like the emails to render well on both desktop and mobile devices, but does not want to
    spend a significant amount of time developing for each environment.
    What is the recommended design approach?
    A. Mobile-aware Design
    B. Desktop-centric Design
    C. Responsive Design
    D. Static Design

    my answer is C

    1. Yes, C is the correct answer. Responsive design will let them use the same template on both devices, with media queries to customize the design based on device size.

      1. Hi Chris,

        Just to cross check again with you for the answer. My understanding the answer is “A. Mobile-aware Design” because it mentioned NTO company doesn’t want to spent more time. My understanding responsive will cover a lot of devices and needs to write more CSS with media query where “Mobile-aware Design” will support mobile and desktop without adding a lot CSS codes.


      2. The “salesforce answer” is answer A, Mobile-aware Design.

        The reason behind this answer is that according to salesforce, responsive design involves extra design and coding. Whilst a mobile-aware design, is 1 design that works well on all devices, thus costs less design and coding resources.

        1. You’re absolutely right Dylan. After reading through the comments, the correct answer would be A. Going mobile-aware reduces the development work since it doesn’t require the extra CSS media queries.

  14. One-click unsubscribe automatically removes the user from the list used for the send. On the confirmation page, they are presented with other options:

    • Resubscribe through the Subscription Center
    • Unsubscribe from all

    More information can be found here. So in this case, the answers would be A and B.

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