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30 Salesforce Marketing Cloud Interview Questions & Answers

By Manish Thaduri

Salesforce Marketing Cloud careers are a hot topic. Salesforce consulting partners have predicted (and rushed to fill) the demand for Marketing Cloud services. Therefore, Marketing Cloud professionals find themselves in a good position, boasting some of the most in-demand expertise in the Salesforce ecosystem, and have been known to be some of the hardest talent to retain.

But why is this the case? Marketing Cloud is a complex tool that requires knowledge around best practice configuration and administration – making hiring a critical job. The right questions need to be asked to identify the right candidates.

As a certified Marketing Cloud Consultant, I have been working with Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Marketing Cloud) for 6+ years, designing digital marketing solutions for a diverse range of clients.

In this guide, I will share some of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud interview questions you could expect. The first topics relate to day-to-day campaign management, then move on to in-depth technical questions, and end with more generic career development.

Email Studio Interview Questions

1. What are the different content blocks you can use in Content Builder?

In Marketing Cloud’s Content Builder there are pre-built content blocks.

A prospective employer is likely to be interested in you using Content Builder to bring design variety and subscriber engagement into your email templates. Blocks can be categorized as “basic”, “advanced”, “interactive”, and “social”:

Basic:Advanced: Interactive: Social:
TextA/B Test Image Form Social Follow
ButtonsDynamic Content/Enhanced Dynamic Content Image CarouselSocial Share
ImagesEinstein Content Selection

2. How does dynamic content in emails work?

You can define a dynamic content block in an email to display (render) information based on the subscriber’s attributes, data extension values, or audiences.

Example: To personalize an email according to gender, instead of building two emails (one for male subscribers, and another for females), you can build a dynamic content block that will render the correct content based on gender.

3. What is the difference between the Sender Profile and the Delivery Profile?

Sender profiles and delivery profiles essentially work as templates that can be applied by other users to email sends. A sender profile and a delivery profile can be combined into send classifications.

  • Sender profile: Specifies the from information for an email send (ie. ‘From Name’, ‘From Email Address’), in a central location. This means it can be used across multiple sends without the user needing to recreate it each time.
  • Delivery profile: Specifies the IP address, and the header and footer you have chosen to use for a send. A delivery profile can be reused across multiple sends.
READ MORE: Delivery Profile vs. Sender Profile in Marketing Cloud

4. What are the different email sending options in Email Studio?

There are multiple ways to send emails from Marketing Cloud. You should be aware of these to maximize how your organization uses the platform. Some ways include:

  • Single Email Send: Enable you to send an email in three steps. First, select the email you want to send, choose the Data Extension that contains the target audience (add more filters if required), and schedule the send.
  • User-Initiated Send: Emails are sent to multiple recipients (at the same time) to Data Extensions. To perform the actual send, you do it manually – you can either send immediately or schedule it on a specific date and time.
  • Triggered Email Send: Sent to individual recipients, one by one, in real-time. This is following an action or transaction, for example, to receive a confirmation email after registering for an event.
READ MORE: 10 Ways to Send an Email in Marketing Cloud

Email A/B Testing Interview Questions

5. Which email components can be tested in an A/B test?

A/B testing is one of the most common strategies leveraged by marketers to determine which version of their emails gets a better response from subscribers.

Marketing Cloud offers A/B testing as a standard feature. It is important for candidates to be aware of the various features involved – and even better to provide a few examples, whether those you have done in real-life, or fictitious.

To answer the question: A/B testing for an email can be applied to the email’s: 

  • Subject Line
  • Preheader
  • From Name
  • Content Area
  • Send Time of day.

6. How is the winning version selected in A/B testing?

When setting up an A/B test, you set the criteria which will determine the winning email automatically. You have two options to choose the winner by:

  1. The version with the highest unique open rate.
  2. The version with the highest unique click-through rate (CTR).

7. Can a subscriber be placed in a specific A/B test distribution?

You have two options for the test distribution:

  1. “Number of subscribers” ie. 35 will receive version A, 65 will receive version B.
  2. “Percentage of subscribers” ie. 40% will receive version A, 60% will receive version B.

Once you define the test distribution, A/B testing works by randomly splitting contacts in the group, according to your parameters. 

To answer the question: no, you cannot place a specific subscriber in one distribution or the other – which subscriber enters which grouping is not within our control.

Journey Builder Interview Questions

8. Name the entry sources in Journey Builder.

Journey Builder in Salesforce Marketing Cloud enables you to design cross-channel automated marketing campaigns – fully utilized, impressive, targeted campaigns are a reality.

The starting point of a journey is the entry source, which injects segmented data. Think of this as a means of transport for your contacts: collection point (data source), all the baggage they need on their travels (attribute fields), who are allowed onboard (filter criteria).

READ MORE: Journey Builder Entry Sources – Which to Use, and When

Journey Builder Entry Sources include:

  • Data Extension: Contacts are in a sendable data extension (the most commonly used).
  • Salesforce Data: Contacts are added to the entry source, driven by something happening in Salesforce (eg. a record being created or updated).
  • Audience: If you’re using Audience Builder to create and publish audiences.
  • Event: For date-based events (eg. birthdays, anniversaries, reminders, renewals).
  • API Event: Admit new data into journeys coming from a website or another system that may not be integrated with Marketing Cloud.

9. Which message actions can be performed in Journey Builder?

Messaging activities in a journey include:

  • Emails
  • SMS
  • Mobile push notifications
  • In-app messages
  • Inbox messages
  • LINE messages

Note: Content must be created before designing a journey for some messaging activities.

10. What is the difference between an Engagement Split and a Decision Split?

Split activities divide contacts into separate cohorts that follow different paths:

  • Decision Split: Uses data attributes to evaluate the data of that specific contact, and sends them down the path they are eligible for.
  • Engagement Split: Uses the contact’s interaction with a message, and sends them down the path they are eligible for.
READ MORE: Marketing Cloud Engagement Splits vs Decision Splits

11. Can contacts re-enter a journey?

You can choose from three options in the journey’s settings to determine if/when a contact can enter a journey:

  • No re-entry
  • Re-entry anytime
  • Re-entry after exiting

To answer the question: yes, a contact can re-enter a journey, provided the appropriate setting is selected.

12. Explain what the different Wait activity controls do in Journey Builder?

A Wait activity is a period of time that contacts are held between activities. There are three types of wait activity:

  • Wait by Duration: Waits for specified hours / days.
  • Wait Until Date: Waits until the specified end day and time.
  • Wait by Attribute: Waits until the day and time stored in a date field is reached.

Data Manipulation Interview Questions

13. What are the different ways to filter data in data extensions?

  • You can create data filters in Marketing Cloud to filter data from a data extension (this is a point-and-click approach). 
  • SQL can also be used to filter data from data extensions.
READ MORE: Salesforce Marketing Cloud Segmentation Cheat Sheet

14. How can you merge two data extensions?

Two data extensions can be merged using SQL Joins. SQL Activities can be created in Automation Studio.

15. Which activities can be performed in Automation Studio?

There are a number of activities that can be performed in an Automation Studio including:

  • Send Email Activity: Choose, configure, and send an email message.
  • SQL Query Activity: Retrieve or store data extension or data view information.
  • Data Extract Activity: Create zipped files to use outside Marketing Cloud, or to convert an XML file into other formats to import into Marketing Cloud.
  • Wait Activity: To wait for a specific duration or until a specific time before performing the next step.
READ MORE: Activities in Automation Studio documentation

Data Structure Interview Questions

16. What data models are available in Marketing Cloud – and what is the difference between them?

There are two types of data models (structures) in Marketing Cloud:

  • Lists: A collection of subscribers that receive specific communications. These contain < 500,000 subscribers, offer slower import speed, and a limited number of subscriber attributes.
  • Data extensions: A table within the database that contains your data. You could use a data extension to store subscriber data (like lists) or any other relational data. These can hold >500,000 subscribers, offer faster import speed, and can be used for SOAP and REST APIs.
READ MORE: Marketing Cloud Lists vs. Data Extensions – Quick Overview

17. What are publication lists – and when should you use them?

Publication lists are used to manage subscriber consent (opt-ins) for Email Studio, controlling how subscribers receive emails – for example, you could create a separate publication list for each category (e.g. newsletters, product alerts). 

Each subscriber has their own subscription status per list.

A publication list needs to be selected when wishing to send emails/SMS messages to a sendable data extension.

18. What is the difference between the All Subscribers list and a Publication list?

  • All Subscribers list: The master list of records in your Marketing Cloud account – every subscriber appears there.
  • Publication List: A subset of subscribers from the All Subscribers List (as explained in the previous answer).

Subscribers added to a Publication list join the All Subscribers list at the same time.

The All Subscribers list holds the master opt-in status of a subscriber; if a subscriber is unsubscribed from the All Subscribers list, the subscriber is unsubscribed from all Publication lists automatically.

Data Integration Interview Questions

19. Which data import options are available in Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

To import (or export) data from Marketing Cloud, you have four options: FTP, API, CloudPages, and Manual Import.

  • FTP: Every Marketing Cloud org comes with an SFTP account. Marketing Cloud creates Import, Export, and Reports folders in your SFTP folder. Use these SFTP folders to import data into lists and data extensions or to put an updated subscriber list in the folder in the FTP server.
  • API: Marketing Cloud supports both REST and SOAP APIs to import or export data from Marketing Cloud. The REST API exposes more extensive access to Marketing Cloud capabilities, while the SOAP API provides comprehensive access to most email functionality.
  • CloudPages: A CloudPage landing page is a web page that you can view from a browser or link to other websites and emails. You can build these pages in Marketing Cloud to display data from your data extensions or lists. You can also use AMPscript to write data into lists or data extensions from the cloudpage.
  • Manual Import: There’s always a manual import option to directly import CSV files into Marketing Cloud lists or data extensions.

20. How can Salesforce Sales Cloud or Service Cloud connect to Marketing Cloud?

Salesforce provides a connector called Marketing Cloud Connect to sync data from Sales/Service cloud into Marketing Cloud.

The data flows into Marketing Cloud Data Extensions classified as Synchronized Data Extensions.

Read more:

21. How is data shared between different Marketing Cloud Business Units (BU)?

To share a data extension from a parent BU to a child BU, place the data extension in the “Shared” folder in the parent BU.

When switching to the child BU, you will find the data extension in the ”Shared” folder. You can use the data in this data extension in the child BU.

Analytics Interview Questions

22. Which other communication channels are supported in SFMC to improve targeted customer communication?

Aside from emails, Marketing Cloud has:

  • Mobile Studio: which has three core features:
    • MobileConnect: Create, send, and monitor SMS and MMS.
    • GroupConnect: Send messages via messaging apps LINE and Facebook Messenger.
    • MobilePush: Send push notifications (plus silent notifications, in-app messaging, Bluetooth Beacons, and Geo-location) 
  • Social Studio: Create, schedule, and monitor social media posts and take advantage of real-time engagement, and rich analytics – all in a unified interface.
  • Advertising Studio: Align online advertising with your CRM data. Find new prospects with lookalike audiences that behave like your current high-value customers (also tap into Facebook lookalike audiences, and Google similar audiences).

Yes! Use the “Update Job Links” Email Studio feature to edit links in an email after an email send completes. Read about the considerations for using this feature.

24. When a contact unsubscribes from the parent Business Unit (BU), will they be unsubscribed from the child BU, too?

When the Business Unit has the “Unsubscribe from this Business Unit Only” setting enabled, the Active/Unsubscribed status in “All Subscribers” is maintained separately across BUs. This means that the contact will not be unsubscribed from the child BU (with this setting enabled).

You can always change the setting to have customers unsubscribe from all child BUs when unsubscribed from the parent BU.

25. How can you change the branding of the standard Preference Center page?

BrandBuilder allows you to customize the color scheme used in your Marketing Cloud account, which can be applied to the following:

  • Logo and header background color on every screen.
  • Primary navigation buttons.
  • The look of the login screen.
  • Survey landing page.
  • Forward to a Friend landing page.
  • Profile Center and Subscription Center.

26. What are some of the standard Marketing Cloud email reports?

Show you know how to gain access to email metrics, in the best format for the scenario. Here are the types of reports, and when to use them:

  • Account Send Summary: Displays all responses for an Marketing Cloud account, organized by send.
  • Email Performance by Domain: Displays email sends results for each domain sent to for a single send.
  • Email Send: Displays how many emails have been sent from the account.
  • Subscriber Engagement: Displays which subscribers are most or least engaged with emails.
READ MORE: Email Studio Reports

Career and Personal Development Interview Questions

27. Which other Salesforce products, or other technologies, do you have experience working with?

Be honest while answering experience-related questions, as it sets the right expectations for the employer hiring you.

While answering this question, don’t forget to highlight any of the technologies or tools you have worked with in the past. Even having a decent experience on basic HTML/CSS is advantageous for a Marketing Cloud role (as it is required for building emails in Marketing Cloud).

Skills/experience you may have overlooked can be found in our Marketing Cloud job description.

28. How would you prepare for a Marketing Cloud certification (or other Salesforce certification)*?

(*if you’re not already certified!)

This question is asked to gauge your learning and working style. There’s no single right or wrong answer for this – everyone has their own methods that they have developed over the years.

You should focus on demonstrating you can tackle big tasks independently. Organization is key. How you would approach studying for a certification could be compared to project management (another desired skill for marketers working with Marketing Cloud and its many “moving parts”).

In addition, you can highlight where you would find learning resources, such as Trailhead, online courses, websites, or finding someone who is already certified to act as a mentor.

Plus, it’s a good time to sneak a question to ask the interviewer about how the company would help you in upskilling!

READ MORE: Which Salesforce Marketing Cloud Certification Should I Pass First?

 29. What previous experience do you have with digital marketing?

Companies know that Marketing Cloud is maximized by those professionals with digital marketing, who can spot opportunities to extend Marketing Cloud into more parts of the customer journey.

Even if you are not from a digital marketing background, it is important to talk about how marketing activities support all parts of the customer journey (awareness, acquisition, purchase, renewal/purchase again).

30. Where are you hoping to take your career?

You should be happy if you’re asked a question about career development as it shows the company is keen to listen to your plans and support you to reach your aims.

Whether you are new to Marketing Cloud or have years of experience, you should highlight your preference for a consulting role, hybrid technical/strategic role, or if you are keen on pursuing an architect-level role.

If you’re interviewing at a Salesforce consultancy, it’s a good time to ask the interviewer if the company is flexible to assign projects that align with your career goals

Summary

Marketing Cloud is a complex tool that requires knowledge around best practice configuration and administration, which makes hiring for Salesforce Marketing Cloud professionals a critical job. Answering interview questions in the right way will prove you are the right person for the role.

You can read more about what a typical Marketing Cloud job description requires from candidates in this post.

Good luck!

The Author

Manish Thaduri

Manish is a Salesforce Solution Architect with over 10 years of experience in Salesforce technology. He is 9x Salesforce certified.

Comments:

    Clinton Km
    May 23, 2020 5:22 am
    If you include the questions regarding ampscript, it will be a wonderful blog.
    Lucy Mazalon
    May 27, 2020 11:32 am
    Thanks for the suggestion Clinton, we will see what we can do! For now, we have this article on AMPscript you may like: https://www.salesforceben.com/the-drip/ampscript-quick-start-5-tips-for-personalizing-your-marketing-cloud-emails-with-ampscript/
    Malaikani rajamani
    September 23, 2020 6:31 am
    Can you please more insight about automation cloud too
    slope
    April 20, 2023 10:20 am
    2023 is a year of slow economic growth. Therefore, marketing also becomes slower than every year.

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