Marketing Cloud MCAE (Pardot)

Pardot vs Marketing Cloud: What’s the Difference?

March 19, 2019

Pardot vs Marketing Cloud: What’s the Difference?

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Pardot   •   Marketing Cloud

This blog was written before Pardot was renamed to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. You can read more about the name change and what it means here.

Pardot and Marketing Cloud have a lot in common. Both are automation and digital analytics platforms and, confusingly for some, both are owned by Salesforce. Most recently, Salesforce announced they would be renaming Pardot to ‘Marketing Cloud Account Engagement‘, adding a whole new layer of confusion for newcomers to the ecosystem.

Despite the renaming, as it stands, Pardot is still very much its own platform, as is Marketing Cloud. So which is right for your business?

When you compare the features of Pardot, with the features of Marketing Cloud, you’ll see a lot of the same functionality; email automation, lead nurture journey mapping, social media marketing, CRM integration, and so on.

Even if you’re already using Salesforce CRM and you know you want to stick with this as you expand into the automation world, it can make the job of deciding on the best marketing automation software for your business quite tricky.

Pardot vs Marketing Cloud, so what’s the difference?

In a nutshell, these are the main differences:

  • Pardot is positioned as a B2B platform while Salesforce Marketing Cloud is more B2C (although this isn’t always the case and some companies can use both).
  • The main difference is the buying cycle. Smaller databases with higher value sales are better targeted via Pardot and larger databases with smaller value sales tend to do better with Marketing Cloud.
  • Pardot is primarily an email marketing platform whereas Marketing Cloud has other functions like Advertising Studio and Mobile Studio.
  • Pardot enables greater marketing and sales alignment for B2B teams.
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud is great for 1:1 customer journey communications with mixed communication channels.

As the two do not directly compete in terms of their ideal audience, one is not necessarily better than the other.

In fact, their use cases are noticeably different.

Read on to learn more about Pardot vs Marketing Cloud…

Pardot campaign

B2B vs B2C – The Common Differentiation

You might say that Pardot is the clear B2B marketing automation solution, while Salesforce Marketing Cloud is for B2C companies.

This is somewhat true, as Pardot is positioned for B2B marketing specifically and, therefore, its strengths lie in the areas of marketing and sales alignment, lead management and automated actions, as well as marketing campaigns.

Marketing Cloud, on the other hand, offers greater capabilities when it comes to social media marketing and advertising, plus SMS campaigns. Naturally, these types of activities tend to be a bigger focus for B2C brands who communicate one-to-one via social or using transactional mobile messaging.

However, there is no rule that says B2C companies cannot benefit from Pardot as their chosen marketing automation platform, and likewise, B2B companies with Marketing Cloud.

Depending on your business, the digital channels you utilise for marketing, the size of your database, and what you need to achieve with your automation software, either could be appropriate.

Marketing Cloud – Modules for Mobile Messaging & Social Media

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is made up of a range of different modules. Each module focuses on one particular area of digital marketing.

For example, you have Email Studio for sending batch and scheduled emails, MobileConnect for sending SMS campaigns, Social Studio for advanced social media marketing, Advertising Studio for running ad campaigns to your database, and Journey Builder for setting up a 1:1 customer journey across multiple communication channels, plus others.

In my opinion, Social Studio and MobileConnect set it aside from Pardot quite clearly, as these are very clearly built to enable marketers who regularly communicate on these channels, with the ability to pre-schedule and automate this activity.

With Pardot, you won’t find as much focus on these engagement and transactional style channels.

Pardot – Ideal for Lead Management & Long-term Nurture

If you have a long sales cycle, you close business directly through a sales team (as opposed to on your website or in-store), or you have a high sales value product or service and a smaller database of prospective customers, Pardot is likely to be your preferred automation solution.

This is because the functionality of Pardot allows for excellent lead nurture.

Whilst it has email automation in the same way Marketing Cloud does, Pardot has a more advanced ability to easily create drip marketing campaigns that are highly personalised, using website behaviour and interactions as the triggers.

Pardot also features sophisticated automation for assigning leads to users of the platform, based on intelligent lead grading and scoring. What’s more, you can set up automated notifications when leads are active on site, a functionality you won’t find in Marketing Cloud.

Which is right for your business?

With these differences in mind, Marketing Cloud makes for the best choice if your business needs a platform to more easily engage with customers across multiple channels and assist in their customer journey. Those in the retail or FMCG industries are likely to see great benefit in the features of Marketing Cloud.

On the other hand, Pardot is the right option if your sales process requires long-term nurture and you need to bridge the gap between your sales and marketing teams. Those with products of high-sales value or with long sales cycles will benefit most from Pardot.

As Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud consultants, we are hands-on with both platforms every day. If you need support with either Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Pardot, get in touch.

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Tom Ryan

Tom is a Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultant & Marketing Cloud Consultant and has a passion for how systems work. He's written blogs and other content for Pardot.com, regularly hosts webinars with Pardot and loves being involved with the wider Pardot community. He also uses (brackets) and ,commas, where (brackets) and ,commas, should not be used. A lot.

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