Editor’s Note – Chris Zullo recently presented at London’s Calling and Southeast Dreamin’ with fellow Salesforce MVP Stephanie Foerst about the differences between Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot – we’ve asked him to share his thoughts on these dueling Marketing Automation tools on the RelationEdge blog! You can watch a recording of their original presentation at London’s Calling here.
This is a question we run into a lot at RelationEdge — which Salesforce marketing automation platform is right for your business: Pardot or Marketing Cloud? It’s a great question, and one that isn’t always clear from the outset. Most of our clients already understand the importance of marketing automation as a way to connect their sales and marketing efforts, and depending on what your marketing automation goals are, Pardot and Marketing Cloud can help.
While both Pardot and Marketing Cloud are marketing automation solutions, Pardot can be seen as a tool, and Marketing Cloud as a toolkit. The latter offers clients more options when it comes to B2B and B2C marketing — however, this doesn’t necessarily make it your best choice. It all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve through your marketing efforts.
To help you decide which is right for your company, here is a breakdown of a few common uses for marketing automation, and how your experience will differ between Pardot and Marketing Cloud.
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, which is why it’s essential that Pardot and Marketing Cloud both give you access to creating custom email campaigns.
If you’ve ever created an email campaign in an email service provider, you’re likely familiar with the use of drag-and-drop templates and WYSIWYG text editors. Pardot and Marketing Cloud work similarly, and simplify email creation. You don’t need to know HTML or another coding language for either tool, but as with any email editor, knowing some can be useful when making custom tweaks.
One major difference between Pardot and Marketing Cloud is when it comes time to preview your email campaign. Marketing Cloud allows users to toggle between a live desktop or mobile preview as you design your campaign. Pardot, on the other hand, needs rendering time, and uses Litmus to let you preview how your email will look on Outlook, different mobile devices, and more. But again, this will take additional time.
When it comes to sending, Pardot and Marketing Cloud both let you customize options such as sender’s name, and create subject lines based on dynamic content such as where a lead is located. Marketing Cloud offers a bit more flexibility, and any content that lives in Salesforce can be used to customize and create targeted subject lines.
Landing pages are key in helping you capture the information you need to pull a lead down your marketing funnel.
As with email campaigns, both Pardot and Marketing Cloud let you start from scratch or create a landing page using an existing template — though Pardot offers less template choices. Flexibility-wise, landing pages built in Marketing Cloud are mobile optimized, while in Pardot you will have to build and maintain it with your own CSS styling to make it mobile optimized.
Another difference comes when you’re ready to publish. With Marketing Cloud, you can save and launch your landing page at a future date. This is perfect if you’re not ready to open registrations, publish your white paper, or capture other information. Pardot doesn’t offer this option — though you can hide your landing page from search engines until you’re ready to go public.
Pardot and Marketing Cloud 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 Marketing Cloud uses its Social Studio tool to listen, engage, and publish updates across any platforms. Once again, it depends on what you need — Pardot can be used as a social media updater, while Marketing Cloud’s Social Studio is an all-in-one social media manager.
Pardot and Marketing Cloud help the most when you stick with a few best practices.
For one, it’s important to 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, it’s important to remember that marketing automation tools are meant to help, not take over. Neither Pardot nor Marketing Cloud is a tool you can set and forget. While marketing automation can make your life easier, it doesn’t mean you can get lazy and start duplicating email campaigns or use the same messaging across email, social, and mobile. Marketing best practices still apply, and tools like Pardot and Marketing Cloud 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 opt for the tool that allows you to achieve what you want. RelationEdge would be more than happy to review your Salesforce integration options for free. Reach out to us, and get started with your marketing automation efforts today.