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Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Pardot … How do I pick?

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I’ve been working with marketing automation tools for a little over 5-years and have had exposure to several tools, each with unique pros and cons. One question I am most often asked is “what is the difference between Marketing Cloud and Pardot?” I thought I would take some time and write-up one ladies opinion.

I’ll start by saying, depending on who you talk to, some consultants prefer one tool over the other — personally, I don’t. I think that selecting a marketing tool has three factors: your marketing team, your marketing strategy, and then technology. Before you select a technology, make sure you can answer these questions:

  • What does the internal marketing team look like? What roles, skills, and experience do they have?
  • Are you working with an external marketing team? What roles, skills, and experience do they have?
  • What does your marketing strategy include? Email, SMS, Website, Social, Scoring, etc.
  • What are you doing today and what do you want to be able to do in the future?
  • Do you have a defined process to manage your strategy and how will you measure success?

I thought it would also be helpful to look at each tool in a bit more detail.

Take a Closer Look at Pardot

Email Marketing

  • Create professional-looking email campaigns fast with 36 customizable, out-of-the-box templates or build your own fully-branded templates (from headers and logos to font size and color) with a simplified WYSIWYG editor.
  • Personalize the buyer’s journey and tailor your emails to prospects’ interests with dynamic content.
  • Optimize deliverability with custom email authentication, SPAM analysis, email testing, and automated CAN-SPAM compliance.
  • Automation reduces human error and takes the manual labor out of lead assignment, segmentation, and lead nurturing.

ROI Reporting

  • Use the Google Analytics Connector to sync visitor and prospect data between Pardot and your CRM.
  • Get a high-level view of your sales cycle’s health with Lifecycle Reporting.
  • Monitor the performance of your paid search campaigns with Pardot’s paid search reporting.

Sales Intelligence

  • Real-time sales alerts make immediate follow-up a cinch.
  • Pardot’s blended lead scoring and grading model mean sales reps won’t waste time chasing down dead ends. Follow up with only those meeting your ideal customer profile.

Lead Generation & Management

  • Pardot’s intuitive WYSIWYG interface makes designing and launching landing pages and forms a snap. Optimizing your landing page is also a breeze with automated Multivariate Testing.
  • Create polished forms with real-time field validation and Progressive Profiling designed to increase conversions by never asking for the same information twice.
  • Connect all of your Search Campaigns on one cohesive platform.
  • Run more targeted campaigns using Pardot’s easy-to-use segmentation wizard.

Social Marketing

  • Save time and continually distribute your content with scheduled social postings.
  • Provide sales reps additional insight with social profile lookups.
  • Let others circulate your content for you by adding social “share” buttons to your email, blog posts, and white papers.
  • Post to multiple channels simultaneously, cross-sell your content and track the success of your social efforts — from one all-inclusive platform.

Dive Into Marketing Cloud

Journey Builder

  • Test multiple variations of content, channel, timing, and frequency.
  • Automatically monitor and respond to customers.
  • Reach across the customer lifecycle creating Salesforce contacts, leads, cases, and tasks.

Email Marketing

  • Utilize mobile-optimized email templates.
  • Create 1-to-1 experiences with dynamic content, JavaScript, and AMPscript.

Predictive Intelligence ($)

  • Create predictive profiles for each contact.
  • Infer customer preferences.
  • Incorporate merchandising or business-centric rules.
  • Predict and automate marketing decisions based on customer behavior.

Mobile Marketing

  • Engage in two-way mobile communications.
  • Track and send mobile messages.
  • Track when a custom opens your app.

Advertising ($)

  • Adverse on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Manage ads at scale using creative permutations, rules automation, and team collaboration tools.

Social Media Marketing

  • Listen and analyze social media conversations.
  • Publish and plan social marketing campaigns.
  • Monitor your social media presence.

Customer Data Platform

  • Bring in data from any source.
  • Build a single, 360-degree view of each customer.
  • View, analysis, filter, and segment data.

Web Personalization

  • Track page view, click-through rates, and more with actionable web analytics.
  • Create smart content with pre-built and custom layouts.

Integration in the Cloud

The tools do have a slightly different integration with Sales Cloud and Service Could. Here’s a bit more information about both:

Marketing Cloud Integration with Sales/Service Cloud

  • MC and Salesforce sync on Email Address or IDs as the unique identifier
  • MC has full functionality when connecting to one CRM connector at a time but has the ability to connect to multiple SF orgs but functionality is minimized
  • Sync standard Salesforce Objects to MC (Leads, Contacts, and Accounts)
  • Sync custom Salesforce Objects with MC Data Extension
  • Sync MC Activities to Salesforce Custom Object
  • MC custom Actions include: Send Email
  • Sync is automatic

Pardot Integration with Sales/Service Cloud

  • Pardot and Salesforce sync on Email Address as the unique identifier
  • Pardot can only have one CRM connector at a time
  • Sync standard Salesforce Objects to Pardot (Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Opps) and custom objects
  • Sync Pardot Campaigns to Salesforce Campaigns
  • Sync Pardot Activities to Salesforce as Activities
  • Sync Pardot Scoring to Salesforce as custom fields on Lead & Contact
  • Pardot Visual Force Pages include: Pardot Activities, Pardot List Management, and Pardot Social
  • Pardot custom Actions include: Send to Pardot and Send Pardot Email
  • Pardot is Salesforce1 friendly
  • Sync is automatic and runs every 10 minutes

General Guideline

I want to leave you with a general guideline to compare the two after reviewing each product and taking a dive into integration.

Pardot: B2B Marketing Automation by Salesforce

Marketing Cloud: The digital marketing platform for 1:1 customer journeys across email, mobile, social, advertising, and the web.

CRM System

  • Pardot: Likely a Sales Cloud User
  • Marketing Cloud: CRM System not required

Core Functionality

  • Pardot: B2B marketing automation, lead scoring, lead nurturing
  • Marketing Cloud: Journey management, email marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing, display advertising, and web personalization.

Example Use Cases

  • Pardot: Customer Lifecycle Marketing, Landing Pages & Forms, Email Drip Campaigns, Search Campaigns, Prospect Activity Tracking, Auto Lead Assignment, Webinar Promotion
  • Marketing Cloud: Promotional Messages, Transactional Messages, Event Marketing, Mobile Messaging, Cross-Channel Journey, Social Listening & Publishing


  • Pardot: B2B
  • Marketing Cloud: B2C


  • Pardot: Sales enablement, Lead Nurturing and Scoring, CRM Automation, Additional connectors, Owner Assignment
  • Marketing Cloud: 1:1, Real-Time Journeys, Reporting and Analytics, Integrated Social Insights and Publishing, Integrated Mobile


  • Pardot: Email is the unique identifier, Data deduplication may be required, data cleansing may be required
  • Marketing Cloud: Greater Configuration Effort, Heavier Customization


  • Pardot: Marketo, Hubspot, Eloqua
  • Marketing Cloud: Adobe Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, and IBM Marketing Cloud

I hope this has been a helpful overview. If you have more questions, we’d love to help you on your journey comment below or contact us today!

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Jorge Garcia

I’ve pored over websites comparing these two and most were simply feature comparisons. This was a great overview of the features, as well as the functionality, which is what I was looking for. Thanks!

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