Salesforce Pardot vs. Marketing Cloud

June 3, 2023
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If you’re a CMO or marketing executive looking for the best solution for your marketing team to accelerate your ROI – you’ve likely heard of Salesforce Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. But do you know which one will best benefit your business?

What many don't realize is that Pardot and Marketing Cloud go hand in hand. In recent years, Pardot has become part of Marketing Cloud, specifically focused on account engagement (and thus its new name... Salesforce Account Engagement).

While both Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and the sub-product Pardot, are both great marketing platforms, the decision ultimately comes down to what goals you have and the kind of user experience that fits in with those objectives.

Don't worry if all this tech gibberish sounds intimidating - this blog post is here to help break down the differences between Salesforce Pardot and Marketing Cloud. You'll come out of it equipped with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision about which tool is right for your team's needs!

What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a cloud-based marketing automation software designed to help companies with nearly every aspect of marketing:

  • Lead management
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Digital advertising
  • Lead nurturing

Marketing Cloud is an umbrella of products that include Pardot (now Marketing Cloud Account Engagement), Analytics Studio, Social Studio, Journey Builder, and more. Marketing Cloud empowers marketers to tap into powerful insights and keep pace with customer expectations in an era of rapid evolution.

As such, it is important to understand how Marketing Cloud and the products within can help your business succeed as well as differentiate itself from competitors. Nonetheless, investing in Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a surefire way to increase audience engagement and move towards effective long-term digital marketing goals.

Covering the wide range of capabilities within Marketing Cloud isn't a small task, but below are some of the key capabilities offered by the leading marketing automation platform on the market:

Data Cloud for Marketing

Salesforce Data Cloud for Marketing is a cloud-based data platform designed to help marketers acquire, grow and maintain customer relationships. It provides an array of features such as machine learning insights, predictive analytics, integrated data management and automated segmentation. The platform allows marketers to collect real-time customer data from various sources and leverage it to create personalized customer experiences. With Salesforce Data Cloud for Marketing, marketers can gain better insights into their customers’ needs and drive more effective campaigns based on those insights.

Marketing Automation Platform

Salesforce Marketing Cloud's automation capabilities help businesses to build automated, personalized customer journeys. Leveraging real-time data from multiple channels, marketers can create automated campaigns that are tailored to individual customers. Automated journeys combine marketing automation elements such as email marketing, SMS messaging, web pages and social media posts, allowing for a seamless experience across all channels.

Additionally, marketers can use the platform’s reporting capabilities to track and measure the effectiveness of each campaign. Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides powerful automation capabilities that enable businesses to deliver personalized experiences while optimizing time and resources.

Social Media Marketing

Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides businesses with powerful tools and features to help them reach their social media marketing goals. With its Social Studio feature, marketers can monitor consumer conversations in real time while tracking their brand’s performance and engagement on various social media platforms. It also offers analytics capabilities that provide insights into customer sentiment so marketers can tailor their campaigns to best reach their target audience.

Furthermore, the Social Studio enables marketers to create and schedule social media posts on a wide range of networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. If leveraging Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s features for social media marketing, businesses can optimize their campaigns for maximum impact.

Advertising Operations

Marketing Cloud enables businesses to efficiently manage their online advertising operations. With Advertising Studio, marketers can create targeted campaigns for search engine marketing (SEM), display and programmatic advertising across multiple channels. Additionally, the platform provides detailed analytics about the performance of each campaign so marketers can adjust their strategy accordingly.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud and its Advertising Studio also allows them to integrate their existing data sources such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems and customer profiles, giving them access to powerful insights that they can use to target specific audiences with optimized campaigns. If leveraging Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s features for advertising operations, businesses can make sure that their ads reach the right people at the right time.

Integration with Salesforce Sales Cloud

Salesforce Marketing Cloud has been designed to integrate with Sales Cloud, providing businesses with a comprehensive platform for their customer relationship management (CRM) needs. After all, Sales Cloud was around far before Marketing Cloud. With this native integration, your sales team can access valuable insights which they can use to optimize their campaigns and gain better success across the sales process, as well as compliment ongoing digital marketing campaigns.

Salesforce's Marketing Cloud allows sales teams to track leads and measure engagement in real-time, enabling more informed decisions on how to best reach their target audience. Sales reps are empowered to close deals faster.

Lastly, integrations between the Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud allow data collected across multiple communication channels such as social media and email marketing to be synced in one place for streamlined reporting and analysis. As a result, sales and marketing teams are able to leverage a powerful suite of tools and insights that will help them increase efficiency and maximize their ROI.

Pardot Becomes Part of Marketing Cloud

While Pardot has been around for a very long time, it's only in recent years that Salesforce has merged it into its full Marketing Cloud and rebranded it as Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement product (yes, that is a mouth full).

ABM (account based marketing) is a buzzword that has been around in marketing for years; however, actually coordinating efforts between sales and marketing at an account level has been brutally difficult. To that end, the merge of Salesforce Pardot and Marketing Cloud is making waves in the industry. This unprecedented move to combine two large-scale digital marketing tools into one platform allows companies to bridge the gap between data and insights, driving decisions that are more informed than ever before.

Enter...Salesforce Account Engagement

Salesforce Account Engagement enables businesses to build strong relationships with their customers. It provides customer service representatives with tools to create personalized customer experiences, improve customer loyalty, and increase revenue opportunities. Its features include account segmentation, intelligent email templates and mobile notifications that allow marketing teams to target specific audiences in order to reach their desired outcome.

Lastly, automated workflows enable businesses to quickly respond to customer inquiries or purchases through a comprehensive set of integrated processes. With Salesforce Account Engagement, businesses can take the necessary steps to ensure that customers are satisfied with their overall experience.

Key Features of Salesforce Account Engagement

Salesforce is all about offering a variety of tools to help customers reach, engage, and connect with their accounts. Salesforce Account Engagement technology offers users key features that make life easier, such as Pardot integration. By connecting your Pardot account to your basic Salesforce account, you can expand the scope of what you can do for remote connections with your target audience.

Furthermore, Account Engagement allows businesses to quickly send personalized information to long-time partners and new clients. All this without an outdated spreadsheet filled with potential leads that take hours to update—Salesforce is bringing us into the 21st century!

ABM Scoring & Analytics

Salesforce Account Engagement's ABM scoring and analytics capabilities enable businesses to monitor, measure, and analyze their progress towards achieving their account-based marketing (ABM) goals. The platform provides detailed insights about accounts that are engaging with content, what types of content is resonating the most with those accounts and how much engagement each account is receiving.

Additionally, it offers forecasts and predictions about future performance, so businesses can adjust their strategies accordingly. With Salesforce Account Engagement's ABM Scoring & Analytics capabilities, businesses can gain a deep understanding of their customers and use this knowledge to tailor their campaigns for maximum efficiency.

Automated Behavioral Triggers

Salesforce Account Engagement's automated behavioral triggers allow businesses to respond quickly and efficiently to customer inquiries or purchases. The platform can detect customer behavior, such as when an individual receives content or purchases a product, and then trigger an automated action in response.

This includes using it as an email marketing platform, notifications system, survey tool, and SMS campaign management software. By leveraging automated behavioral triggers, businesses can streamline their processes and reduce manual effort while ensuring that customers receive timely and relevant communications from their favorite brands. Automated behavioral triggers also allow companies to optimize their marketing efforts by targeting the right audience at the right time.

Centralized Tech Stack

Salesforce Account Engagement centralizes and integrates all of your sales and marketing tech stack into one platform, simplifying processes and improving customer experience. With a centralized view of customer data, businesses gain great insights into the effectiveness of their campaigns and can identify opportunities for optimization. Additionally, the platform helps to build better relationships with customers by organizing touch points in one place for easy management and monitoring.

The integration capabilities allow for seamless implementation of different technologies across your entire stack without sacrificing efficiency. By centralizing and integrating all of your sales and marketing technology stack, Salesforce Account Engagement can help take your business to the next level.

Choosing: Considered Purchases or Transactional Purchases

When it comes to buying software, it's essential to decide whether you're offering a considered purchase or a transactional one. A considered purchase is one that requires time and thought before making a purchase, such as enterprise deals and in general, B2B sales. On the other hand, smaller ticket and B2C sales typically are more transactional. It's about hitting a prospect with the right emotional message at the right time.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud: Transactional Purchases

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is the perfect platform for transactional purchase marketing. Its intuitive tools (SMS campaigns, email automation, and advanced features), streamlined processes (i.e. Salesforce integration, general CRM integration, etc.) and comprehensive insights help businesses to design campaigns that deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time.

With a range of personalized experiences, including email, mobile messaging and direct mail, marketers are able to engage customers on their preferred channels. Additionally, automated workflows enable easy testing of multiple strategies to generate maximum engagement. With Salesforce Marketing Cloud's powerful features and capabilities, businesses can create effective campaigns that drive sales and maximize revenue.

Salesforce Account Engagement: Consideration Purchases

Salesforce Account Engagement is an ideal platform for consideration purchase marketing. Through its unified customer view, businesses can easily create highly targeted campaigns that reach potential customers who are in the research phase of their buying journey. Segmentation capabilities enable marketers to build segments based on specific criteria, and automated workflows ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy. With these features, Account Engagement helps businesses create campaigns that drive leads through the consideration stage and delivers valuable insights into customer behavior.

Salesforce Pricing

Salesforce Marketing Cloud's pricing is designed to fit a range of budgets. With multiple plans available, businesses can select the features and pricing that best meets their needs. Additionally, Salesforce offers an Enterprise Plan which allows businesses to customize their solutions and achieve even greater scalability. Whether you're a small business in need of basic features or a larger organization requiring advanced capabilities, there is an option to match any budget.

GROWTH Edition: Pricing

The Growth plan is the entry level offering with basic features such as account segmentation and customizable contact fields. List price starts at $1,250 per month.

PLUS Edition:  Pricing

The Plus plan includes more features such as automated email campaigns and cross-channel messaging capabilities. List price starts at $2,500 per month.

ADVANCED Edition: Pricing

Advanced includes even more robust features including AI-driven insights and personalized content. List price starts at $4,000 per month.

PREMIUM Edition: Pricing

Premium plan offers custom solutions and unlimited scalability for businesses that require a tailored experience to reach their goals. Pricing starts at $15,000 per month.

Note that every one of the pricing options above is "list price". While Salesforce plays "hard ball" in negotiations, it's rare to not be able to get the price decreased. As a publicly traded company, Salesforce tends to negotiate well at the end of each quarter, but especially at the end of their fiscal year.

Implementing Marketing Cloud

While Marketing Cloud is the most powerful marketing automation tool on the market (okay, Marketo might disagree), it's a complex platform to integrate. Unlike a traditional marketing tool to add to your growth stack, Marketing Cloud is a full marketing automation solution and ecosystem. Advanced, market-leading technology requires very intense planning and strategy to be effective.

If you have a full team certified and ready to tackle Salesforce marketing automation, that's fantastic. However, that level of resources is only available to enterprise companies for the most part. To that end, you might want to consider hiring a Marketing Cloud consultant for the best results.

Don't invest in your chosen marketing automation platform, regardless if its Salesforce or anything else, until you're ready to take advantage of every product offered. Marketing Cloud is your key to...

  • Digital advertising
  • Lead nurturing
  • Email marketing
  • Landing pages
  • Lead generation
  • Sales alignment
  • Lead scoring

... and so much more. Yet, if you're not going to implement it properly and take advantage, it ends up being a waste of money. Salesforce is the world's foremost marketing automation system - be prepared to implement it carefully and cautiously. If you're going to take your marketing strategy seriously (as it's safe to assume you are!), rely on marketing cloud experts to get it done right.

TLDR; Pardot vs. Marketing Cloud

To wrap it up, we’ve been on a high-level journey through the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot platforms. Ultimately, deciding if you should use Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Pardot for your business depends on two key considerations: If you're looking to purchase something in a one-off transaction or are ready to invest in a longer engagement.

In most cases, Salesforce Account Engagement is ideal for larger customers and those who seek long term relationships with their customers, while Pardot is perfectly suited for smaller companies that need marketing automation to generate leads with transactional purchases. Now that you’ve got the full scoop on these two heavyweight systems, the choice is yours. Good luck!


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