30 Salesforce Marketing Cloud Interview Questions & Answers
Salesforce Marketing Cloud talent is a hot topic. Aside from the Salesforce economy’s overall growth, Salesforce partners consistently predict the demand for Marketing Cloud expert services will increase each year – these professionals find themselves in a good position, boasting some of the most in-demand expertise, and known to be hard professionals to retain.
Marketing Cloud is a complex tool that requires knowledge around best practice configuration and administration, which makes 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 (SFMC) for 4+ years, designing digital marketing solutions for a diverse range of clients.
In this guide, I will share 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: Email Studio and email testing, Journey Builder, data management, integration, and more.
If you haven’t done so already, read what a typical Marketing Cloud job description requires from candidates.
Email Studio Questions
1. What are the different Content Blocks you can use?
In Marketing Cloud 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”:
|Text||A/B Test||Image Form||Social Follow|
|Buttons||Dynamic Content/Enhanced Dynamic Content||Image Carousel||Social Share|
|Images||Einstein Content Selection|
2. How does Dynamic Email 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 2 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 & Delivery Profile?
- 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, like the sender profile, can be reused across multiple sends.
4. What are the different email sending options in SFMC?
There are multiple ways to send emails from SFMC. You should be aware of these to maximize how your organization uses the platform:
- Single Email Send: a straightforward way to send an email. You open the email, move to the ‘send’ section, choose the audience and other send options, then send straight away.
- User-Initiated Send: in a user-initiated send, you define an email send, then send it right away or schedule it to send in the future. In a user-initiated send, you select the email, audience, and immediate/future send time.
- Triggered Email Send:a message that Marketing Cloud sends to an individual subscriber in response to a subscriber action. Use triggered emails to provide automated, personalized responses to your customers’ activities on your website. Emails are trackable, targeted, and sent in real-time.
Email A/B Testing
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.
SFMC offers A/B testing as a standard feature. It is important for candidates to be aware of the various features involved.
To answer the question: A/B testing for an email can be applied to the Email Subject Line, Email Preheader, From Name, Content Area, and Send Time.
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:
- The version with the highest unique open rate.
- 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:
- “Number of subscribers”, example: 35 will receive version A, 65 will receive version B.
- “Percentage of subscribers”, example: 40% will receive version A, 60% will receive version B.
Once you define the test distribution, A/B testing works by using a random split. 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 Questions
8. Name the entry sources in Journey Builder.
Journey Builder in Salesforce Marketing Cloud enables you to design cross-channel automated marketing campaigns – utilized fully, 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).
Journey Builder Entry Sources include:
- Data Extension: contacts 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:
- Mobile push notifications
- In-app messages
- Inbox messages
- LINE messages
Note that 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: based on contact attributes. By placing a Decision Split in a journey, Journey Builder evaluates the data of that specific contact, sending them down the path they are eligible for.
- Engagement Split: based on contact engagement/activity. Based on whether a customer opens, clicks an email link, or the email bounces, the Engagement Split activity sends customers down the path they are eligible for.
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, 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.
13. What are the different ways to filter data in Data Extensions?
You can create Data Filters in SFMC 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.
- How to Create a Filtered Data Extension in Salesforce Marketing Cloud
- 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 SFMC, or to convert an XML file into other formats to import into SFMC.
- Wait Activity: to wait for a specific duration or until a specific time before performing the next step.
16. What data models are available in Marketing Cloud – and what is the difference between them?
There are two types of data models (data structures) in SFMC:
- Lists: collection of subscribers that receive your communications
- 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.
Lists contain < 500,000 subscribers, offer slower import speed, and a limited number of subscriber attributes. Data extensions can hold >500,000 subscribers, offer faster import speed, and can be used for SOAP and REST APIs.
- Marketing Cloud Lists vs. Data Extensions – Quick Overview
- What are Lists in Salesforce Marketing Cloud?
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.
A Publication list needs to be selected when sending emails and SMS messages to a sendable data extension.
Example: Create a separate publication list for each category (eg. newsletters, advertisements, product alerts). Each subscriber has their own subscription status per list.
18. What is the difference between the All Subscribers List and a Publication List?
- All Subscribers list: the master list of records in your SFMC account – every subscriber appears there.
- Publication List: (as explained in the previous answer) is like a subset of subscribers from the All Subscribers List.
- 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.
19. Which data import options are available in Salesforce Marketing Cloud?
To import (or export) data from SFMC, you have four options: FTP, API, CloudPages, and Manual Import.
- FTP: Every SFMC 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: SFMC supports both REST and SOAP APIs to import or export data from SFMC. 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 SFMC to display data from your data extensions or lists. You can also use AMPscript to write data into lists or data extensions from the cloud page.
- Manual Import: There’s always a manual import option to directly import CSV files into SFMC 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 called Synchronized DEs.
- Power-Up Journey Builder With Marketing Cloud Connect and Salesforce Data
- Marketing Cloud Connect documentation.
21. How is data shared between different SFMC Business Units (BU)?
To share a data extension from a parent BU to a child BU, place the data extension (DE) in the “Shared” folder in the parent BU.
When switching to the child BU, you will find the DE in the ”Shared” folder. You can use the data in this DE in the child BU.
Extra SFMC Interview Questions
22. Which other communication channels are supported in SFMC to improve targeted customer communication?
Aside from emails, SFMC has:
Mobile Studio, which has three core features:
- MobileConnect: create, send, and monitor SMS and MMS.
- GroupConnect: to 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).
- Salesforce MobileConnect – How to Send SMS from Marketing Cloud
- Guide to Implementing Marketing Cloud MobilePush
- Salesforce Social Studio: Features and Use Cases
23. Can links in an email be changed after the email is sent?
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 Centre 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 SFMC 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 SFMC 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
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 SFMC).
28. How would you prepare for the Marketing Cloud Consultant 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 SFMC and its many “moving parts”).
In addition, you can highlight where you would find learning resources, such as Trailhead, online courses, blogs, or finding someone who is already certified to act as a mentor.
And, it’s a good time to sneak a question to ask the interviewer, about how the company would help you in getting trained!
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 SFMC 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 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.
Marketing Cloud is a complex tool that requires knowledge around best practice configuration and administration, which makes hiring for Marketing Cloud professionals a critical job. The right answers will prove you are the right person for the role.
If you haven’t done so already, read what a typical Marketing Cloud job description requires from candidates.
Looking for a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Deep-dive?
If you are looking for a Salesforce Marketing Cloud certification course, with videos and concepts, look no further than my Udemy course. Here’s a special discount code for The DRIP readers: SFBEN_DSC (also included in the link).
If you include the questions regarding ampscript, it will be a wonderful blog.
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/
Can you please more insight about automation cloud too