Salesforce Marketing Cloud vs. Pardot – a very common question. Both are Marketing Automation Platforms that are developed by Salesforce, integrate with the core CRM, and do email marketing very well. Plus, both will work for B2B customers and also for B2C customers, but, of course, each offers their own unique advantages. So why in the world would a company need, or want, both?
So, I will use the story about two cars. With the holidays fast approaching, if you’re anything like me, you’re wondering what might be under the tree this year. I’d love a new shiny-black Range Rover Sport with all the bells and whistles. It’s a practical vehicle for a family guy, right? My wife would argue that I really need a new red Ford F-350 pickup. The pickup can haul/pull more and is exactly what I need for day-to-day versatility. Both vehicles are excellent solutions, but one really isn’t enough for what I need. Each provides separate and vital features that the other one lacks. Perhaps I should ask for both!
Salesforce Marketing Cloud, like the Range Rover
My car analogy is a good one when evaluating Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot – as I mentioned, each Marketing Automation tool provides its own list of unique advantages over the other. Like the Range Rover, Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers a host of optional bells and whistles (it’s a slick ride). Under the hood, there is of course Email Studio, but there’s also Mobile Studio, Ad Studio, Social Studio, Web Studio, Journey Builder, Personalization Builder (Einstein) and more. Marketing Cloud is both exhaustively comprehensive and inherently complex. If you’re looking to connect 1:1 with your customer no matter where they are (email, social, mobile, web), Marketing Cloud has the vehicle (no pun intended).
Marketing Cloud Wins
At Herman Miller, we use Salesforce Marketing Cloud to power email campaigns for our global eCommerce stores, send internal and dealer-facing messaging, additionally, we use Social Studio to power our ever-growing social media program.
Business partners and brands in other locations around the world, use Marketing Cloud via the business unit capabilities native to our Enterprise 2.0 account. Marketing Cloud allows for large organizations to maintain control over brand and maintain legal compliance, while decentralizing routine marketing tasks. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone involved.
Marketing Cloud Downsides
The down-side to Salesforce Marketing Cloud is its steep learning curve. To really unleash its capabilities, one must be able to create AMP script and do some high-level SQL coding. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all doable, just takes time and a bit of technical knowledge to really “rev the system up”. We’ve been on the platform for seven years and we still learn something new about daily. Salesforce does a bang-up job of providing quality learning that is a must for everyday users of the Marketing Cloud tool. Like oil for an engine, taking advantage of the resources will provide many years of trouble-free use.
Salesforce Pardot – the Ford F-350
Keeping with the car theme, Pardot is our proverbial Ford F-350. It’s strong, reliable, and built tough. It’s not as fancy as the shiny black Range Rover, but it’s superb at what it does.
Pardot is not only an email marketing platform, but it also adds engagement scoring, easy to build forms and landing pages, and a powerful Engagement Studio (create complex marketing automations based on action). Pardot allows us to speed along the furniture buying process, which is often months long, using few resources. We can hand off qualified leads to our sales team to follow up when the engagement score flags. Pardot’s seamless integration with Salesforce allows our sales team to be kept in the loop on touchpoints and reaction to various marketing campaigns.
So, how does this breakdown for Herman Miller? The majority of our B2B email campaigns are sent via Pardot (both lead nurturing campaigns and list emails). When the lists get rather large for our business, we will typically use Marketing Cloud to power the campaign. Pardot is the tool of choice for creating event invitations and corresponding landing pages. We find Pardot easier and quicker to use in this business case than Marketing Cloud Pages. Since our team is lean, time is the most valuable commodity.
I highly doubt that I’ll be receiving two cars this holiday season. But I do know that I’ll have two outstanding marketing automation tools at my disposal. Both Pardot and Marketing Cloud have their unique advantages and used in tandem, can create the ultimate digital marketers’ platform.