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To Pardot or To Marketing Cloud, that is the Question?

February 07, 2023

If this question wasn’t confusing enough in the past, now Salesforce has changed the name ‘Pardot’ to ‘Marketing Cloud Account Engagement.’ And if you weren’t sure which tool was the right one for you before, now you’re really confused. Is ‘Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot)’ the same as ‘Salesforce Marketing Cloud’? The simple answer is no, but now you need to know what the difference is. How does this affect you?

Simply put, Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) is more geared toward B2B (Business to Business) marketing, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) works best for B2C (Business to Consumer). Said another way, B2B marketing typically involves communication at the Account (Company) level, while B2C marketing involves communicating directly with the client (usually an individual). 

These definitions are the most basic way to explain each, but the products can be used for either process.

Let’s look at some questions that come up about Pardot vs. SFMC –

Is Pardot part of SFMC? Or Is Pardot included in SFMC?

Yes, Pardot is native to the core platform, but that wasn’t always the case. SFMC is on its own platform and integrates to Salesforce’s core to sync data from multiple marketing channels. Just because Pardot was renamed ‘Marketing Cloud Account Engagement,’ it doesn’t mean the two are directly linked.

Is Pardot sold with SFMC?

Yes, you may purchase Pardot in addition to SFMC. It is listed as ‘Marketing Cloud Account Engagement powered by Pardot’ under the family of apps that can be used alongside SFMC. You can use these two tools simultaneously to cover your bases when it comes to taking a more in-depth look at how your customers respond to your marketing campaigns.

Is Pardot only an email marketing tool?

Pardot does handle email marketing but don’t think that this is all it can do. With Pardot, you can automatically filter your database based on prospect behavior and what’s happening in your CRM. It can also sort for firmographic data, which is demographics based on characteristics of businesses instead of people. Combining these data points allows you to send the right emails at the right time with the most relevant message for the prospect. While being able to segment data is important, the value for Pardot involves being able to automate relevant follow up via Engagement Studio, completion actions and automation rules. This enables your marketing team to do deliver the right materials to the right prospects at the right time.

Is Pardot mainly for small companies with small budgets?

Just because Pardot has a smaller pricing point doesn’t mean that it is just for small companies. Companies of all sizes use Pardot. When it comes time to choose between Pardot and SFMC, don’t make cost the deciding factor. Having the right program will save you far more money, time, and energy long-term on things like customizations and integrations. Cutting corners won’t win in the long run.

Is Pardot geared more toward organizations without a technical team or those with limited tech abilities?

Pardot is a ‘what you see is what you get’ platform. This means that Pardot, in a standard set-up without too many complex, non-standard processes, can be managed by a certified Pardot Specialist using ‘clicks not code.’ But to maximize Pardot and not get stuck using cookie-cutter pre-defined processes, it is to your advantage to have a specialist on board with technical and marketing skills.

Marketing Cloud offers a wide range of ‘Studios and Builders’ to provide additional functionality as marketing needs become more complex, but some may require specialization. The plus side is that once Marketing Cloud is set up with the datasets, segmentation, and ETL activities, you can do most of the day-to-day work without the need for a developer.

So, how do you decide what is right for you?

  • Pardot or Marketing Cloud? One key question stands out above all others, who is your audience?
  • Are you communicating with companies (B2B Accounts) or the end client (B2C Individuals)?

Whether Pardot or SFMC the platforms are very flexible and can comfortably work across most industries.

Still unsure which is best for you? Decision Foundry is here to help you evaluate your needs and look at the key factors in play within your organization. To Pardot or not to Pardot is an expense worth the extra effort to understand what you need and how to get the best results.