If you are thinking of acquiring a new Marketing Automation platform and you discovered that Salesforce has two and you don’t know which one will best satisfy the needs of your business, then this article is for you! 💡

The confusion usually originates because both Marketing Cloud and Pardot allow you to make automatic email campaigns, both have omnichannel reporting, and both are natively integrated with the Salesforce Core clouds; but their approach, functionality, and complexity are very different.

Personally, I consider that the key difference is in its approach: Marketing Cloud, it is oriented in B2C and Pardot in B2B. Although this is not a definitive rule, the functionalities that have been enhanced in each one are aligned to meet the objectives and needs of a B2C vs a B2B.

In order to clarify the differences, below you I’ll explain to you the following:

Intro

Let’s think about a B2C, what do they need? Massiveness, be present in many channels, and usually, they have many departments in contact with the client. Marketing Cloud gives you the possibility to create massive and personalized campaigns automatically. How? Allowing you to integrate multiple channels and systems to generate personalized content based on subscribers’ attributes or interactions; communicating through the best channel and at the best time with relevant content.

On the other hand, a B2B needs to align the efforts of the marketing team with those of the sales team; therefore, Pardot helps the Marketing team to capture the interests and interactions of the contact, in order to be assigned to the sales representatives more efficiently, close better deals with greater agility and optimize the entire sales funnel from the origin of the prospect in marketing to the closure of the opportunity in sales.

Feature comparison

Now let’s review on a more technical level the differences: 

Channels

  • Marketing Cloud: Email, SMS, Push Notifications, Advertising, Social Networks.
  • Pardot: Email and social networks.

Social Networks

  • Marketing Cloud (Social Studio): Facebook, Instagram Business, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, Sina Weibo, and Google My Business.
    With Social Studio you can: publish, engage, and analyze your social networks. In addition, you can make social listening about your brand, competition, or industry based on keywords.
  • Pardot: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
    This feature allows you to publish and analyze the metrics of those posts.

Native integration with Salesforce Core

  • Marketing Cloud: It integrates with Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud and all the clouds built within the Salesforce core; such as Field Services Cloud, Financial Services, etc.
  • Pardot: It mainly integrates with Sales Cloud.

Other integrations:

  • Marketing Cloud:
    • Navite conectors: Google Analytics 360, DMP, Datorama, Evergage.
    • API: It offers you two APIs (SOAP and REST) that will allow you, not only to access the Marketing Cloud data; but also, extend the native functionalities, such as integrating another communication channel with Marketing Cloud to trigger the message as part of a journey.
  • Pardot:
    • Navite conectors: Webex, ReadyTalk, GoToWebinar, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Twilio, Olark, UserVoice, AddThis, Eventbrite, Wistia, FullContact, Datorama
    • API: It allows you to perform common operations on Pardot objects (create, read, query, update, and upsert). It does not allow you to extend existing functionality.

Reports

  • Marketing Cloud:
    • You can access the metrics of individual sends, summary by channel, sends by campaigns, or performance customer journey.
    • You can also access a more detailed subscriber or interaction metrics through queries (SQL).
  • Pardot:
    • It gives you metrics of the individual email send, campaign, and engagement program.
    • Detailed reports at contact level with all interactions of emails, social networks, connectors, and stage of the opportunity in Sales Cloud.
    • Reports aligned with Sales Cloud: attribution models, Pipeline, account-based marketing reports, assets performance (email, landing pages, forms) by campaign.

Data Model

  • Marketing Cloud: Totally flexible table-based model (MSQL style) to store and organize different data: contacts data and any additional data that they want to store within Marketing Cloud (eg tables of coupons, carts, products, etc.)
  • Pardot: It is based on the Sales Cloud model (Prospect, Account, Opportunity). If you require something more complex, it can be built on Sales Cloud.

Personalized content

  • Marketing Cloud: You will be able to personalize content in email, SMS, push notifications, and landing pages with dynamic content, custom attributes, and to build more complex criteria you could use programming languages (AMPScript, SSJS, GTL). This gives you the flexibility that the customization is as intuitive or as complex and the campaign’s needs.
  • Pardot: You will be able to create personalized content in emails and Pardot landing pages with custom attributes (HML) and dynamic content.

Key questions

As you can see there are many factors to consider, but to help you to make the decision more easily here I share some questions that could guide you:

In addition to my marketing communications, what communications does my company need to send?

A. If you require a lot of data-driven communications from various departments or systems (e-Commerce, customer service, product delivery), Marketing Cloud will be the best option.

By which channels do I communicate or do I want to communicate with my clients in a massive way?

A. If there are many, the best option will be Marketing Cloud.

My sales process, does it depend on a representative for the closing of sales?

A. If the answer is yes to this question and the answer to the previous two was no, Pardot would be ideal in this case. But if the answer is yes to all 3 questions, then the best option will be Marketing Cloud, or you could even acquire both.

In conclusion, both are very powerful platforms, but it is important to understand the difference to ensure we choose the one that manages to empower our team by making their day-to-day more efficient and allows us to provide a valuable experience to our clients.

There are more complex cases such as B2B2C or B2Bs businesses that require high impact on advertising and social networks or other cases, but you can reach out to me on LinkedIn so I can advise you 😉