A History of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot (Marketing Cloud Account Engagement) have become two of the leading platforms for multi-channel marketing, and the go-to choices for Salesforce customers looking for marketing automation. In the first 6 years of Salesforce ownership, according to some sources, Marketing Cloud experienced 6x growth and Pardot saw a formidable 20x growth.

While the year 2013 marks Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s official “birthday” we should go further back in the history of both Pardot and ExactTarget to understand how this robust suite of marketing tools came together.

2007: Pardot Launches

Co-founders David Cummings and Adam Blitzer purchased the domain name Pardot.com in 2006, and launched their marketing automation software the following year.

After searching for an available name, they came across the word “pardot,” a [Latvian verb] meaning “to market or sell.” While many people question how to pronounce Pardot at first (commonly mispronouncing it as “par-deaux”), it’s actually pronounced exactly as it’s spelled.

READ MORE: The Origins of Salesforce’s Most Unusual Product Names

Pardot had a history of success, being named the fastest growing technology company in Metro Atlanta just 3 years after its launch, and became an annual sponsor at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference.

2011: Salesforce Acquires Radian6

Salesforce had set its sights on the marketing sphere after establishing itself as a leader in sales and service. Their entry point to digital marketing was through social media. 

Salesforce acquired Radian6, a social listening platform designed to help brands monitor what was being said about them on social media channels.

2012: Salesforce Acquires Buddy Media

Salesforce took the next big step into the marketing game by acquiring Buddy Media, a social media marketing platform. Buddy Media would give businesses the ability to publish content on social channels, manage their social media ads, and see real-time metrics for their advertising efforts.

At Dreamforce 2012, Salesforce announced its new Marketing Cloud which would integrate Buddy Media and Radian6.

2012: ExactTarget Acquires Pardot

In October of that same year, ExactTarget purchased Pardot, a successful B2B marketing automation platform, adding it to their impressive collection of marketing tools for a cool $95M.

Looking to round out their marketing suite, the Pardot acquisition made ExactTarget the perfect candidate for acquisition, themselves.

2013: The Great ExactTarget Acquisition

Salesforce truly stepped into the marketing space in June 2013 with their acquisition of ExactTarget ($2.5B). That was only 9 months after ExactTarget had snapped up Pardot!

The combined capabilities of Radian6, Buddy Media, and ExactTarget (purchased for nearly $3.5B total) formed the foundation for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which would empower digital marketing teams across social media and email.

READ MORE: The 10 Biggest Salesforce Acquisitions

2014: Social Studio

Salesforce merged Buddy Media and Radian6 into Social Studio, giving marketing teams one centralized location to collaborate, publish social media content, “listen” to social conversations, engage with customers, and analyze social metrics.

READ MORE: Salesforce Social Studio: Features and Use Cases

Note: Marketing Cloud Social Studio is scheduled to be retired on Nov 18th, 2024.

2018: Pardot Lightning App, Datorama Acquisition

The Pardot Lightning App signaled a major milestone in Pardot transitioning onto the Salesforce platform. Salesforce has always followed a dream: to marry up marketing and sales teams, who traditionally, have been siloed and unaligned.

Bringing Pardot into the Salesforce Lightning Experience (UX), over time, Pardot Lightning has not only applied to just the UX, but also to Pardot’s infrastructure (the data model – technically, under the hood).

READ MORE: What is the Pardot Lightning App?

Mid-year, Salesforce acquired Datorama, a marketing data/intelligence platform and marketplace for $800M.

While Datorama was well-received by SFMC professionals, thoughts turned to whether Salesforce would consolidate all analytics offerings into an integrated suite.

READ MORE: Salesforce Marketing Analytics Platforms: 3 Platforms Overview

2019: Pardot Einstein, B2B Marketing Analytics

Artificial intelligence (AI) had swept through the Salesforce platform with its “Salesforce Einstein” technology layer.
Salesforce announced Pardot Einstein — a set of AI-powered features for the Pardot platform that would leverage data already in your Pardot database and use it to give marketers more powerful insights.

READ MORE: Complete Overview of Pardot Einstein

Pardot Einstein includes features that enable marketers to group audiences based on their engagement, score leads by their likelihood to convert, and better pinpoint revenue attribution (less reliance on users adding Opportunity Contact Roles).

Pardot marketers were becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of reporting flexibility with Pardot’s simple WYSIWYG reports. When B2B Marketing Analytics became available, it felt like we went from zero to a hundred miles an hour! B2B MA, a Salesforce CRM Analytics app designed for marketers, offered incredible flexibility for marketers to build multiple types of visualizations from Pardot data, combine Salesforce and Pardot datasets together, and ultimately, gain a whole new world of insights.

READ MORE: What is B2B Marketing Analytics? Learn CRM Analytics for Pardot

2020: Evergage Acquisition

What would eventually become Interaction Studio (then Marketing Cloud Personalization), Salesforce placed bets on real-time content personalization when they acquired Evergage.

READ MORE: What is Salesforce Interaction Studio? (Marketing Cloud Personalization)

This purchase was just in time before the world was rocked by the Covid-19 pandemic, slowing new developments down. Marketers suddenly had a lot on their plates!

2021: Salesforce CDP

MarTech stacks were becoming increasingly more complex, with a ballooning number of data sources feeding huge amounts of data into Salesforce’s marketing products.

To keep up with industry trends, Salesforce revamped “Customer 360 Audiences” to become “Salesforce CDP”. CDP stands for ‘Customer Data Platform’, which aggregates every data point about an individual customer across multiple platforms, represented by a unique identifier.

From the insight data generated from the engagement data, Salesforce CDP users can segment individuals into highly targeted audiences, activate cross-channel marketing campaigns, or run Einstein optimization tools that recommend next best actions for engagement.

It was the perfect “glue” to make Marketing Cloud’s products more cohesive, and therefore, more powerful.

READ MORE: What is Salesforce CDP?

2022: NFT Cloud Announced, Products Renamed

Rumors had been circulating that Salesforce were venturing into Web 3.0, which was causing unrest among employees who were concerned with the negative sustainability impacts NFTs cause.

Sure enough, at the Connections ‘22 conference, NFT Cloud was announced, wrapped in messaging that NFTs enable brands to build customer loyalty by being part of exclusive communities. Salesforce were armed to rebuff any negativity with their emphasis on the NFT Cloud’s focus on trust and sustainability.

READ MORE: Salesforce NFT Cloud Officially Announced

Another surprise had lain in wait for the Salesforce marketing community. News broke in April 2022 that a set of Marketing Cloud products were receiving a new name – including the much-loved Pardot.

Pardot was renamed Marketing Cloud Account Engagement in line with the move to make Salesforce’s extensive product suite easier to understand, and also to make Salesforce’s marketing products more cohesive.

READ MORE: Salesforce Renames 6 Marketing Cloud Products
READ MORE: Pardot Renamed “Marketing Cloud Account Engagement”

2024: Marketing Cloud Social Studio to Be Retired

After what will have been a decade of service, Social Studio is scheduled to be retired on Nov 18th, 2024.

The partnership between Salesforce and Sprout Social is expected to supersede Social Studio.

Future: Will Pardot Become Part of Marketing Cloud?

A good question. The name change from Pardot to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement led to many people wondering. There are multiple reasons why this is unlikely to happen.

There were rumors circulating that Salesforce plan to rebuild the Marketing Cloud platform to better underpin all of its acquired technologies. We shall have to wait and see what unfolds.

READ MORE: Will Pardot Become Part of Marketing Cloud?

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