In today’s ever changing martech landscape, it is critical that practitioners have a mastery of the tools they use. We wanted to see exactly what it would take to bring one of our marketing analysts quickly up to speed on Marketo, one of our agency’s primary marketing automation tools. As an unbiased method of validating that she had a clear comprehension of the tool, we would use Marketo’s own Marketo Certified Expert (MCE) exam as a gauge. Continue reading to see the level of commitment that goes into such an endeavor and if this is something you or your organization can commit to. We’ve taken our learnings and prepared a free prep course. Let us know if you are interested by filling out the form at the bottom of the page. We will provide a mentoring session with one of our experts and help you get started.
My MCE Journey
By Brittany Maziarz
When I started at Solomon in October 2016, I was familiar with using marketing tools but had no experience with Marketing Automation (MA). I knew what MA was, why it mattered and the general idea of its usage, but I was really coming in green. However, the biggest thing you should take from this about me is I LOVE challenges. Solomon challenged me to study for this exam and pass it within three months — I did it in half that time.
First thing you should know is that you are going to have to work your butt off to do this – and that means study.
Study? Like really study? Coming straight out of college was definitely an advantage, as my studying skills were still in peak condition. For my difficult courses, I followed a basic 3 step path: build your foundation, get to know the whole story, review and pass. I used this same 3-step process to study for the MCE and pass it in under two months.
It took six weeks with 23hrs of studying per week to pass the MCE exam. I read all the Definitive Guides produced by Marketo (yes, I do mean those magnificent 160+ page pdfs), I went through the Marketo University Learning Path, had several hours of 1:1 sessions with my MCE coworkers for context and devoured the product documentation. I took the practice exam numerous times. So, what was my process?
Marketo University and Definitive Guides
- My path started with the videos from the Marketo University; which gave an introduction into how the UI looked and how to create basic assets like an email.
- From there, I went to the Definitive Guides which took up two whole weeks. They may seem daunting but were invaluable as a foundation. I came in knowing next to nothing and this bridged the gap; it showed me the importance of Trigger campaigns versus Drip-Nurture campaigns and what scenarios they could be applied to. They showed me the issues the industry was facing (scalability, segmentation in real time, scoring, etc.) and how Marketo answered those problems.
- Lead Generation details how marketing automation can help you grow interest in your company and address individuals in a variety of ways.
- Engagement Emails follows up on the Lead Generation document which gave an introduction to the purpose of nurture programs; in this doc I started to see the real value of reaching these consumers on a consistent personalized manner.
Practice Exams and Training Sessions
- I took the practices exam early – I needed to see what type of beast I needed to defeat: what questions they would ask, how were the questions phrased, how much detail. Did I need to know how to make a template or the size upload limits? (Hint: yes). I took my first practice exam and got a whopping 55% – reality hit hard.
- Now that I knew the magnitude of the beast I set up 1:1 mentoring sessions with my coworkers. These meetings were with Solomon’s team of expert consultants who have had decades of practical expertise in the field of marketing automation. Together we set up walkthroughs in campaign creation, platform functionality, use cases, and tips for the exam and have established a syllabus for future employees who are ramping up to become MCEs. If you’re serious about certification – there’s nothing like hands on experience in the tool. Apply in the form below for access to our Marketo training sandbox. We’ll review your application and be in touch with a sandbox account for free Marketo access.
- I coupled these meetings with a deep dive into the product documentation and creating assets side by side with them inside Marketo.
- To see where all this had paid off, I took the practice exam again and got a 70%. So while showing great progression I still fell short of the 80% needed to earn the credential.
Passing the Marketo Certified Expert Exam
- For the duration of my journey, I went side by side with the Product Docs and the Practice Exam and brought it up to a 98%. If I could offer some guidance to those wanting to pursue the MCE: Take the practice exam a ridiculous amount of times — like more than 5. After getting 98% at least three times in a row you should be good to go – by then you will be familiar with how the questions are asked. It is not the same 150 questions for each practice test but most of them are repeats (in the practice and the actual). This is honestly the single best piece of advice given to me in my studying. Now this may sound like I was just trying to game the system, but it was just to ensure that I was truly familiar and that expectations were clear. I felt that I could own the exam without hesitation.
To pass the MCE exam is the first step in a long road of a marketing automation career and the first step in building my foundation as a future Marketing Automation Consultant.
With anything in life, I won’t become a ‘true’ expert overnight; it takes a lot of practice, academic knowledge, but most importantly – the hands on business experience to gain an expert consultant’s view. As I dive into supporting and learning from our Senior Consultants, I’m excited about the opportunity to help our clients succeed and grow in my career as a future expert.
Step-by-step, with every new email I send out, every new project for I deliver successfully with the team for a client, every nurture campaign I launch, and every new landing page I create, I get quickly closer to being a true expert.
From this experience we have refined a syllabus and ramp up system for a quick and successful on-board to get employees up on their feet and MCE in less than three months. For the next month – we’d like to help as many marketers get certified on Marketo as possible. So, we’re opening this course up to the world! Better marketing is worth sharing. If you’d like to get certified in 6 weeks, fill out this form and we’ll send you our training guide.