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Marketing Cloud vs Pardot

  • 30 Jul 2021
  • elizabeth_keenan

Marketing Cloud or Pardot - this question has caused some confusion for many people when they’re looking at a marketing solution for their business. In this blog post, we hope to clear up some of the misunderstandings and provide a definite guide on which platform will suit your business needs.

While there are similarities between the two platforms, like social media marketing, email automation, lead journey mapping, and CRM integration, etc - they are not the same.

Pardot and Marketing Cloud are not in direct competition with each other, however, many businesses might find mutually beneficial features from one or the other, or both.

You’re probably already using Salesforce for your CRM and want to stick with the same platform. However, Marketing Cloud and Pardot are both parts of the Salesforce ecosystem...so which do you choose?

What are the main differences?

Let’s take a look at the main key differences between Marketing Cloud and Pardot.

-> B2B vs B2C

Some might think Marketing Cloud is strictly for B2C and Pardot is for B2B, it’s not as simple as that. While Marketing Cloud is typically aimed more at B2C and Pardot at B2B, it really depends on what business goals and tasks you want to achieve, some companies even use both.

-> The Buying Cycle

When it comes to the main differences between them, one key difference is the buying cycle. Businesses with smaller databases and higher valued sales would most likely be suited for Pardot, while businesses with large databases and smaller valued sales to Marketing Cloud.

-> Functionality

When it comes to functionality, they both have an impressive array of features. However, when looking at a more specific level, Pardot is more of an email marketing platform, while Marketing Cloud caters for other features, including Advertising Studio and Mobile Studio.

-> Engagements

When it comes to interacting with your customers and teams, Pardot enables greater sales and marketing alignment for B2B teams. Marketing cloud is more focused on 1:1 customer journeys with communication and a mix of channels to communicate through. 

B2B vs B2C

As mentioned previously, Pardot is often looked at as the B2B marketing solution and Marketing Cloud as the B2C option. There is no rule to say this, but when businesses are looking at both solutions, typically Pardot’s features and functionality will suit B2B businesses and Marketing Cloud to B2C.

As Pardot was made with B2B specifically in mind, its features and strengths are aligned with this section of marketing and sales alignment. On the other hand, Marketing Cloud has more capabilities when it comes to social, advertising and of course SMS functionality. These functionality options are typically more sought after from B2C businesses, but not exclusively. 

Which should you choose?

Reasons to choose Marketing Cloud

Marketing Cloud is made up of multiple different modules for a range of topics. As we’ve said, there are a lot of similarities between MC and Pardot, however, both offer a few unique capabilities.

-> Mobile/SMS Marketing

Highly sought after by Consumer-focused businesses of the 21st century. Customer service is now more important than ever and connecting to your consumers through every possible channel is vital for B2C. What more direct way than straight to the device in their hand, which is probably what they are shopping on.

The ability to create, send, receive, and track SMS and MMS text messages through your Marketing system is a capability that Marketing Cloud excels in. You can send alerts,  transactional messages, automated responses, etc. Contacts can be manually created or mass imported in a file. Messages can be scheduled in advance, triggered by an API or even inserted as a step in a customer’s journey. The possibilities are endless when you can communicate directly to your customer through multiple channels with SMS being one of them.

You can read more about MobileConnect here or do the basic trailhead here.

-> Social 

When it comes to social capabilities in Pardot, they’re there, but not to the extent of Marketing Cloud. Social Studio is available as part of Marketing cloud and is second to none when it comes to social scheduling. Besides the easy to use interface, analytics, great calendar view, approval workflows, social studio has link customisation options that are superior to any competitor. Share your insights, pull content and data from partner apps and a built-in photo editor are just some of the great features social studio has to offer. It is more than a social media post scheduler and gives you insight into what your customers are saying about your brand and your competitors. To top all this off, Social Studio has the capabilities to handle social advertising right from within the platform. Once set up and connected, with a few simple clicks it’s easy to input a budget and boost your social media post.

You can read more about Social Studio here or watch the social studio demo here.

-> Advertising

Advertising studio is a huge advantage that Marketing Cloud has over Pardot. By connecting your advertising agencies to your marketing and CRM data gives businesses the opportunity to create personalised advertising and target customers better than ever before. All the data from your Sales Cloud, Marketing, Commerce and more can be used to power your advertising.

Social Studio has the capabilities to run and optimise ads across Google, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram, as well as the entire display advertising ecosystem. Creating audiences like look-a-like audiences are as easy as a click of a button! Everything is integrated and leads are straight into Sales Cloud as well as Marketing Cloud.

Reasons to choose Pardot

→Lead Management & Nurturing

Pardot was created with the main focus of email marketing campaigns and lead nurturing. Aimed at high-value sales and a smaller database of prospects, it has become very popular with B2B businesses.

While Marketing Cloud has email automation as well, Pardot has more advanced capabilities when it comes to personalised drip campaigns.

With B2B business and any other businesses with smaller databases and long lead nurturing, it is usually a salesperson who closes the sale. With Pardot, assigning leads to users is easier and more sophisticated with the automation functionality around this feature. One advantage Pardot has over Marketing Cloud, is the automatic notifications when leads are on-site which is a very handy feature.

So which should you choose?

At the end of the day, both platforms are great and will serve any business amazingly. Depending on your business needs either will work well. Retail and fast-moving large scale businesses tend to opt for Marketing Cloud. While Pardot will be the better choice for businesses with long-term nurturing sales cycles and drip campaigns, with sales and marketing teams working closely together.

If you are unsure which is right for you, get in touch with us today to find out more about how we help our clients implement Marketing Cloud and Pardot into their business.

As always, thanks for reading this post, we hope you enjoyed it.

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