Is there a Sandbox for SFMC? Really!


Until recently the myth was Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Email, Mobile & Web aka ExactTarget previously) doesn’t have a sandbox. But the truth is that SFMC does have sandbox instance which comes with a cost.


Is it worth buying a Marketing Cloud sandbox? that should be the real question!


What is SFMC Sandbox?
Its a test environment ( Internally they call it Production Support ) provided by SFMC. Its used for testing Email Production Account configurations and  integrations.


You must be wondering, whats the big deal about it. We do this all the time with Salesforce sandboxes.Here are the key differences.


  • Sandbox copy is initiated from back end and you don’t have an option to create one within SFMC UI
  • Salesforce support copies all configuration from back end and notifies you once its ready
    • Production configurations are copied
    • Business Units are also copied
  • It doesn’t copy your contents or lists or data
  • You CANNOT push changes from sandbox to production
    • It cannot be linked to production using change sets (huge disadvantage comparing to Salesforce sandbox)
    • We recreate everything in every single org 
  • Unlike Salesforce sandboxes, it doesn’t support all the features available in production.
    • Non Email products are not supported
      • Audience Builder
      • Contact Builder
      • Journey Builder
      • Mobile Push
    • Sales Cloud integration is not supported
      • You can integrate, but SFMC support will not troubleshoot the issues
      • Data Stream issues wont be handled by support
    • 3rd party integrations like Inbox tools are not available
    • Custom features in production is not available in sandbox
  • Emails send via sandbox is deducted from existing email volume
  • Slow performance comparing to production


So is it worth to buy a sandbox? Answer is, Yes, It depends on your testing approach. If you are planning to use only Email related tools, please go ahead and buy one, else I wouldn’t suggest it.


There are 3 testing approaches within SFMC and one of them use sandbox.


  1. Single Production Enterprise Account
  2. Single Production Enterprise Account + Sandbox “Production Support”  Account
  3. Multiple Production Enterprise Accounts


I will shortly write a blog on testing approaches recommended by Salesforce and you can decide by yourself.