#063. Certify with Substance, Not Shortcuts

Hey Smart Marketers!

Last week I kind of annoyed some people when citing amongst red flags the number of certifications per capita.

To be fair, I don’t like the current certification system. Actually, I needed a lockdown and hours of boredom to decide to pass SFMC Email Specialist and SFMC Consultant.

I passed. And immediately understood that I can’t rely on this to hire skilled professionals.

Some things need to change. For our community to really thrive.

But let’s start with the Problem.

The Problem

1.    Multiple-Choice Questions and Dumps

The current Salesforce Marketing Cloud certification exams consist of 60 multiple-choice questions, which, while challenging, have their shortcomings.

One of the most significant issues is that the questions are not updated frequently enough, leading to a proliferation of “dumps” in the market.

Dumps are collections of exam questions and answers that individuals can purchase, allowing them to pass the certification exam without genuine knowledge or hands-on experience.

Dumps are a virus in our community. That nobody seems to be willing to cure.

2.    Project Role Focus

Salesforce Marketing Cloud certifications are structured around project roles, including Email Specialist, Marketing Cloud Consultant, Developer and Administrator.

While these certifications are valuable, they primarily focus on theoretical knowledge and overlook the importance of practical, hands-on experience.

Even the so-called Email Specialist! As the first one released, the exam aim was to train on the platform and the focus on email building skills is therefore not enough if you want to be call an Email Specialist.

This oversight results in marketers holding certifications without having ever worked with the platform in a meaningful way.

The Proposed Solutions

1.    Introduce a Hands-on Exam

One effective solution to counter the issue of dumps and verify practical knowledge is to incorporate a hands-on exam component. This exam could require candidates to perform specific tasks within the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform. A hands-on exam ensures that individuals not only understand the theoretical concepts but can also apply them effectively in real-world scenarios.

2.    Badges based on Actual Usage

To further validate a marketer’s proficiency in Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce could introduce badges that are unlocked based on real usage metrics. For instance, badges could be earned after sending a certain number of emails, launching a specific number of customer journeys, or achieving a particular level of engagement through the platform. This approach incentivizes candidates to not only pass the certification exam but also actively use the platform to its fullest potential.

I’m aware that, in order to do this, we would need user logs and the platform doesn’t have them… Maybe it’s time they add them!

3.    Enhanced Scenario-based Questions

While it is true that Salesforce Marketing Cloud certifications already include scenario-based questions, the existing scenarios often fall short in mirroring real-life marketing challenges. These scenarios are typically basic and sometimes disconnected from the complex and dynamic nature of our job.

To make the scenario-based questions more effective, Salesforce should consider enhancing the scenarios by incorporating real-world, practical scenarios that marketing professionals commonly encounter. These scenarios should require candidates to apply their knowledge to tackle complex, multifaceted issues and make strategic decisions within the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform.

4.    Regularly Updated Question Pool

To combat the prevalence of dumps, Salesforce should commit to regularly updating the question pool for certification exams. Frequent updates will make it more difficult for dump providers to maintain a steady supply of exam questions and answers, discouraging candidates from taking the shortcut to certification.

Closing words

I know Salesforce won’t go that far.

I know it’s not simple.

But I also know that Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a tricky platform: A bad implementation by Certified Professionals tarnishes Marketing Cloud reputation more than the System Integrator’s reputation.

See you next week!  

Other ways I can help you:

Stand out in SFMC's jungle

Every week, get tips about Salesforce Marketing Cloud.


Smarter, together