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Creepy marketing: Pardot vs. Marketing Cloud

10.29.15 By: Kirsten Kippen

EDIT: There's an updated version of our marketing automation comparison between Pardot and Marketing Cloud. You can read it here.


With Halloween right around the corner it seems only right to put in a word for creepy marketing, our fond description for the incredible power of marketing automation solutions that sometimes feel intrusive, but which ultimately help companies and organizations better serve their audiences. For example, check out Hubspot's email unsubscribe response video. It hilariously addresses customer behavior in a way that makes you feel heard (and maybe even regret updating your subscription preferences). 

You know you’ve slipped over to the dark-slash-inspired side when your brain switches from thinking “Augh! Why is Ikea sending me another shopping cart reminder about that squirrel pillow I’m obsessing about?” to “Wow, Ikea’s making this so easy for me...I want that squirrel pillow and here it is with one-click orderability in my inbox!”

If you’re a marketing or communications professional, it’s not a big jump to start considering how your nonprofit or small business could use marketing automation for good. After all, if the big box stores can do it, surely there’s amazing possibilities when used for social impact, right?

Salesforce’s two leading solutions in the “creepy marketing” category are Pardot and Marketing Cloud, and they’re really different. In honor of Halloween, here are some tips to help you compare them. These slides were shared at the Dreamforce presentation Maximize Your Marketing Solutions: When to Use Pardot, ExactTarget, or Both.

For starters, it’s important to understand that Pardot is part of the Salesforce Sales Cloud, whereas the Marketing Cloud is separate and encompasses ExactTarget, Social Studio, and  

We created a newsletter to help Pardot users expand their knowledge on (and love for) Pardot. Sign up for your dose of marketing automation goodness here.

Both can push data through to the Sales cloud but have pretty different functionality:

The heart of the decision depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If your primary goal is to nurture leads in order to pass them off at a certain “qualification point” to a specific person or team, Pardot is your tool. If your main goal is 1-to-1 engagement with a lot of social media emphasis, Marketing Cloud is likely more appropriate.

Since Pardot is part of the Sales Cloud, it can be easier to adopt and the features (including tracking and custom redirects, automation rules, and prospect activity views) are more than enough for most small to medium businesses and nonprofits. Pardot is best for the small-medium sized company or nonprofit that has decent lead/prospect volume, and wants to increase conversions through lead scoring, profiling, and nurturing.

Marketing Cloud is best if you have more than 100,000 email subscribers, and has some great features around list management and SMS/text message integration. However, it requires substantial support to implement, is a lot more expensive than Pardot, and requires your strategy to be airtight (otherwise you will never be able to make the most of all those creepy tools). Marketing Cloud is best for the large organization that has a solid communication and segmentation strategy in place and wishes to take this across multiple channels to get a 360 degree view of constituents.

You will be hearing much more about both solutions in the coming months, as more and more organization recognize the power of creepy marketing to nurture their contacts.

Perhaps someday Salesforce will create a Halloween-themed creepy marketing digital haunted house for us, with data on your leads popping up as they walk through an old-fashioned corn maze which leads you down different nurturing paths as you open or click emails…

Until then let’s agree that creepy marketing is actually pretty cool when put in the right hands. Want to know more? Check out our Marketing Automation Comparison Report. 


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