Green leaves growing towards the light to represent career growth with Marketo Certified Expert

Grow Your Marketing Career: Become a Marketo Certified Associate (Study Guide)

Marketo is adding an additional certification program, the Marketo Certified Associate (MCA), and we got a advanced preview. Read more about the new MCA program and how it differs from the Marketo Certified Expert (MCE) designation or skip ahead for a detailed breakdown of the new exam content.

What’s on the Marketo Certified Associate exam?

The BETA exam we took contained 145 questions with 120 minutes to complete and review the questions. Based on the BETA exam performance, Marketo will narrow the total questions and time allotted. For comparison, the MCE exam contains 75 questions with 90 minutes allotted for completion.

Three members of the Solomon Solution team took the BETA MCA exam: Jessica, a Marketo Certified Expert (2016) with 4 years Marketo Admin experience; Veronika, also a Marketo Certified Expert (2018) with a year of Marketo user experience; and new team member Austin Stephens, who has one year of Marketo Admin experience and is currently studying to take the MCE exam. Here’s what we found…

Email Marketing Fundamentals

Since many marketers start with email marketing before moving into marketing automation, it’s no surprise questions in this area make up approximately one third of the exam. You should familiarize yourself thoroughly with the following:

  • Basics of email deliverability including the Marketo definitions of pending, soft bounce, hard bounce, and delivered.
  • Email design best practices including subject line, preheader, call to action
  • How to use segments and snippets, dynamic vs. static email content
  • Designing and using templates, location of templates, local and global email assets
  • Program setup start to finish, including scheduling, A/B testing, head start, recipient time zone
  • Difference between email performance report and email link performance report

Marketing Automation Fundamentals

Chances are, you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t familiar with marketing automation and other marketing foundations. But before attempting the MCA, you should familiarize yourself with Marketo and brush up on:

  • Definition and purpose of marketing automation, how it differs from email marketing
  • Marketing funnel stages and the content best suited for each
  • Marketo Program types, their functions, layouts and tabs
  • Difference between a filter and a trigger, how flow steps work and the differences between ANY/ALL/Advanced filtering

Audience Targeting and Data Management

Understanding the basics of audience targeting and data management are essential to effectively using marketing automation. Specific to the MCA exam, you’ll want to know:

  • How and why to set up segments and dynamic content
  • How to set and change lead limits
  • How to use tokens, including Program and Lead tokens, and the difference between my. and lead. tokens
  • The purpose of program Channels and Tags (I.e. Period Cost)

Landing Pages

Marketo includes editable landing page templates, options to build your templates and the ability to build pages from scratch. Familiarize yourself with:

  • Template types (Free Form vs Guided)
  • Best location to build (Local vs Global)
  • Draft and approval steps
  • Using segments and dynamic content

Form Basics

You’ll need to understand the Marketo form basics and best practices, including:

  • Best location to build (Local vs Global)
  • Purpose and differences between field labels and hint text
  • Lead de-duplication options
  • Post-submission routing options (confirmation page, redirects, pop up messages, etc.)
  • Ideal form length and what level questions fit at various points in the marketing funnel

Events and Webinars

Second to email marketing, Marketo is frequently used for events and webinars. For the MCA, you won’t need to know how to set up integrations, but you will want to understand:

  • How to set up a webinar or other event program, including program status progression and success metrics
  • The benefits of integrating Marketo with a webcast platform (I.e. GoToWebinar)

Analytics and Reporting

Because this exam is targeting basic users, it does not go in-depth to the Analytics features of Marketo. Instead, you’ll need to know reporting basics:

  • Types of Marketo reports (People, Email, Landing Page) and what information is found on each
  • Differences between email performance and email link performance reports
  • How to use segmentation in reports

What is the test format?

Like the Marketo Certified Expert exam, the MCA BETA test asked questions in a variety of formats including Pick One, Pick Multiple, and Matching. In the case of multiple selections, the directions specify how many answers to select. When matching, the values were used an even number of times (I.e. each value is used only once or only twice; one value will not be used more than the others).

Unlike the MCE, there aren’t any True/False questions and the questions are simpler, less likely to trick you.

Since we only took the BETA exam, it’s possible the above my change, so use your best judgement.

A few more hints and techniques…

The same tips that apply to taking school exams apply to taking a Marketo certification test; get rest the night before, clear your head and read carefully. Since we’ve taken these particular exams, here’s a few more tips to increase your chances for success.

Prepare Your Space

Besides studying, you’ll want to ensure you make time to prepare your computer and space for the exam. Marketo employs Kryterion Global Testing Solutions to administer exams. You can choose to take the exam at a testing center if one is located near you or you can take the exam online with a few extra steps.  In either case, you’ll need to register for the exam online and schedule a time. On the day of the exam, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the testing center or set up your space. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you’ll forfeit your exam time.

Take Your Time

The MCE exam contains 75 questions with 90 minutes allotted for completion. The MCA test will likely be very similar. The BETA exam contained 145 questions with 120 minutes to answer. So, take your time with each question, reading carefully for indicators like “is not” or “pick two” to ensure you don’t mistake the question.

Eliminate the Obvious

Read each question and each answer before selecting your choice. Even when you’re unsure, you should be able to eliminate obviously wrong answers. Pay special attention to ALL/ANY filters and Marketo terminology. In the BETA exam, matching values were always used an equal number of times, so match the values you are sure of before making an educated guess with the remaining values.

Flag and Review Questions

The testing platform includes the ability to “flag” questions you’d like to review at the end of the exam. If you’re not confident in an answer, make your best guess then flag it. Once you’ve answered all the questions, you can use your remaining time to review your answers and flagging questions will make it easy to return to the ones you felt most unsure about.

Ready to take the Marketo Certified Associate exam?

Awesome! Marketo has only loosely defined the release date and it isn’t yet available to the public. However, if you’re already feeling prepared for the MCA, why not take it to the next level and become a Marketo Certified Expert? Download our extensive 5-part study guide to master your certification. Alternatively, this is a fantastic time to get your Marketing team up to speed in Marketo with training by Solomon Solution. Contact us to arrange a custom program.