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Marketing automation platforms have become the secret weapon of successful marketing departments of all sizes, in all industries.

By simplifying the planning and execution of marketing tasks, marketing automation software improves the efficiency of teams. But, more importantly, it helps teams hit their goals and see results faster.

Two of the most popular marketing automation platforms on the market today are Marketing Cloud and Pardot — two products by Salesforce that provide email marketing, social media marketing, intelligence, and more.

What’s the difference? And which product is better for your company? Read on to decide whether Marketing Cloud or Pardot is the automation solution for you.

What Marketing Cloud Offers

Marketing Cloud is separate from the Salesforce Sales Cloud, and comprises five channels or “studios” to help plan, automate and track different facets of your marketing strategy — Email Studio, Mobile Studio, Social Studio, Advertising Studio and Web Studio.

Designed for both B2C and B2B marketing, each studio offers its own tools for creating and executing highly personalized customer experiences across multiple channels, powered by data such as predictive intelligence, CRM info, A/B testing, geographic range and definable triggers.

If Marketing Cloud sounds robust, that’s because it is; it’s one of the most powerful marketing automation platforms available.

Users can make use of all the studios or just those that are most relevant to their unique marketing strategy; email and social media might be areas of need for one company, while SMS- and MMS-based marketing and ads might be the focus of another.

A CRM isn’t required to use Marketing Cloud, but the platform can be connected with CRMs like Salesforce, and data can be pushed to enhance records and customize marketing activities.

What Pardot Offers

Pardot is a B2B marketing tool that empowers companies to create data-driven marketing plans that are focused on generating new leads and moving prospects through the sales funnel, via tools like customized landing pages and forms, targeted emails and drip campaigns, and lead scoring and grading. 

Engagement Studio is the command centre of Pardot, where marketers can manage all touchpoints. It helps marketing teams create personalized journeys by using real-time customer data to send targeted emails and trigger other actions that take a prospect on a path designed specifically for them – one that’s headed towards the marketing team’s end goal.

As part of the Sales Cloud, Pardot can be seamlessly connected with a user’s Salesforce system, to create detailed and synchronized records that can be used to create custom segments and fields for marketing activities.

Pardot is also available as another tool within Marketing Cloud, for users who need a B2B-specific automation tool.

If You Want to Focus on Lead Nurturing

Pardot is your best bet.

Salesforce Customer Relationship Study found that Pardot can increase the speed of sales cycles by 30 per cent. 

Marketing Cloud is focused on delivering a breadth of marketing activities that deliver measurable customer engagement; Pardot is focused on a small suite of activities, including email drip campaigns, search campaigns, landing pages and forms, that are designed to qualify prospects and usher them through the sales cycle.

Plus, Pardot’s lead grading and scoring gives marketers a reliable measurement of the strength of a prospect, so that teams can choose to follow up with only those who are positioned to move forward.

If You Want to Focus on One-on-One Customer Engagement

Then Marketing Cloud is right for you.

According to a survey of 7,000 consumers and business buyers from around the world, 67 per cent of consumers and 64 per cent of businesses will switch if brands don’t recognize them and anticipate their needs.

Companies can no longer afford to produce generic campaigns; personalized customer engagement is key to establishing and maintaining customer relationships. And that’s the number one strength of Marketing Cloud.

It gives marketers the means to personalize each type and each step of engagement, from email to mobile to social media to web, and create a cross-channel journey that recognizes each client’s unique behaviour and needs. 

If You’re Looking for Comprehensive Integration with Salesforce

B2B companies should go with Pardot.

Its seamless (and effortless) integration with Salesforce means that all data is harmonized, and without any duplication of records. Any information or activity carried out in Pardot is fed to the user’s Salesforce, creating detailed customer and prospect records that better inform future activities. And when a user is creating emails, forms and landing pages with Pardot, Salesforce records can be used to devise custom fields.

If You Already Have or Are Ready For a Robust, Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Choose Marketing Cloud.

One of Marketing Cloud’s strengths is its coordination and customization of efforts happening across multiple channels. It removes the “silo effect” that often troubles marketing teams, and brings marketing activities together. It improves and automates all activities to drive greater ROI.

You could choose to use only one of Marketing Cloud’s Studios but to get the most value from the platform, a combination of two or several Studios is suggested.

Note: if you’re interested in SMS/MMS marketing and customer service delivered through mobile messages — and you should be, depending on your industry, since some 82.1 per cent of people open every text message they receive – then use Marketing Cloud’s Mobile Studio. It’s one of the most impressive SMS/MMS marketing tools on the market.

If Your Marketing Team is Small and/or New to Automation

It depends.

Pardot is better suited for small- and medium-sized businesses, as its learning curve is less steep than that of Marketing Cloud, and its suite of services, while comprehensive, are not as complex and diverse as those of Marketing  Cloud.

Whether you choose Pardot or Marketing Cloud, find an experienced implementation partner who has successfully helped companies adopt the platforms.

The shared goals of both tools are to make marketing teams more efficient and more successful.  Marketers need to be comfortable and adept at using the platform of their choice in order for both of those goals to happen. An implementation partner is necessary for newbie teams, but highly recommended for all.


Want to learn about the fundamental principles that differentiate the two platforms? We break down the principles and help you determine which one aligns with your business objectives in our free eBook. Download your free copy today: