Similarities and differences between Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot


Editor’s Note—In 2018, Chris Zullo presented at London’s Calling and Southeast Dreamin’ with fellow Salesforce® MVP Stephanie Foerst on the differences between Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot. We asked him to share his thoughts on these dueling marketing automation tools. You can watch a recording of their original presentation at London’s Calling here.

Which Salesforce marketing automation platform is right for your business— Pardot or Marketing Cloud? This is a great question, and the answer isn’t always immediately clear. Most of our clients already understand the importance of using marketing automation to connect their sales and marketing efforts. Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot can both help, depending on your marketing automation goals.

While both Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot are marketing automation solutions, Pardot is a tool, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a toolkit. The latter offers clients more options when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) marketing. However, this doesn’t necessarily make it your best choice. This choice depends on what you are trying to achieve with your marketing efforts.

To help you decide which is right for your company, the following is a breakdown of some common uses for marketing automation, and the differences between Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot.

Creating email campaigns

Email is not a new marketing innovation, but it remains the most valuable one. Email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing channel, and both Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot enable you to create custom email campaigns.

If you’ve ever created an email campaign by using an email service provider, you’re likely familiar with drag-and-drop templates and WYSIWYG text editors. Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot work in a similar way and simplify email creation. You don’t need to know HTML or another coding language to use either tool, but like any email editor, knowing something can be useful when making custom tweaks.

Previewing your email campaign is one major difference between Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot. Salesforce Marketing Cloud allows users to toggle between a live desktop or mobile preview while designing their campaigns. Pardot, on the other hand, needs rendering time, and uses Litmus to let you preview your email on Outlook®, different mobile devices, and more.

When sending emails, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot both let you customize options like the sender’s name, and create subject lines based on dynamic content such as the location of a lead. Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers more flexibility, and you can use any content in Salesforce to customize and create targeted subject lines.

Landing pages

Landing pages are key to helping you capture the information you need to pull a lead down your marketing funnel.

Both Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot let you start from scratch or create a landing page by using an existing template—although Pardot offers fewer template choices. Landing pages built in Salesforce Marketing Cloud are mobile-optimized, while in Pardot, you have to build and maintain it with your own CSS styling to optimize it for mobile.

The publishing process is also different. With Salesforce Marketing Cloud, you can save and launch your landing page at a future date. This feature is perfect if you’re not ready to open registrations, publish your white paper, or capture other information. Pardot doesn’t offer this option, but it does let you hide your landing page from search engines until you’re ready to go public.

Social sharing

Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot both allow for some level of social sharing through their tool. Options are limited in Pardot to basic posts on Facebook®, Twitter®, and LinkedIn®, while Salesforce Marketing Cloud uses its Social Studio tool to listen, engage, and publish updates across any platforms. Once again, it depends on what you need. You can use Pardot as a social media updater, while Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Social Studio is an all-in-one social media manager.

Best practices

Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot are most helpful when you follow a few best practices.

Keep your database clean. This is especially true for Pardot, which charges clients based on the number of prospects in the database. Upgrades are made in batches of 10,000 prospects.

Finally, remember that marketing automation tools are meant to help, not take over. Neither Pardot nor Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a tool you can set and forget. Marketing automation can make your life easier, but that doesn’t mean you should start duplicating email campaigns or using the same messaging across email, social, and mobile. Marketing best practices still apply, and tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot are meant to complement your other marketing efforts—not replace them.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to marketing automation tools, and you should choose the tool that helps you achieve your goals.

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Chris Zullo

Boston born and bred sports geek with a twist. Unabashed sports nut and technology enthusiast. Living in the cloud literally and figuratively as a SaaS (Software as a Service) advocate who wants to see as much of the world in person as manageable.

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