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How to decide which marketing automation tool to use?


Setting the step to start with marketing automation is a big one. You will probably need some guidance with it. On the long run, you will need a partner; for the technical implementation or the training of your marketing team.

But today? You can already gain some nice insights by yourself, by reading this article on how to choose between Pardot or Marketing Cloud.

Marketing automation has definitely become a buzz word over the last years. Creating a 360° view on your prospect, personalizing your content and creating flows over different channels is like a dream for every marketeer.

However, once you start reading some blogs about getting started with marketing automation, you’ll probably come across concerns like these:

  • How to make a choice between all these different marketing automation tools?
  • How do we know we are ready for marketing automation?
  • We don’t have any data on our prospects, how to set up segmentation?
  • Our company doesn’t have any knowledge in-house, what do we do?

Choosing a tool is one of the biggest decisions.When you’re already working with Salesforce, it’s a no-brainer that you will be looking at Salesforce products for marketing automation too. But here’s the thing, Salesforce offers two marketing automation tools: Marketing Cloud & Pardot. Which one fits you best?

There are three questions you can ask yourself which will already give you an indication on which tool would be best for your company.


1. B2B or B2C business?


The biggest difference of Pardot & Marketing Cloud is the focus on a type of business. Pardot has specialized in B2B while Marketing Cloud focuses more on B2C. This means that the typical characteristics of this kind of business will be supported more in that one tool.

Pardot offers tools to support:

  • Long sales cycles
  • Bigger purchase deals
  • Lead management
  • Sales alignment
  • Lead nurturing

Marketing Cloud offers tools to support:

  • Shorter sales cycles: quickly react to emotional buyers
  • Smaller purchase deals
  • Complex segmentation & personalization
  • Focus on cross channel lifecycle marketing

Not all companies have a clear direction in this – take for example the B2B2C market. A further analysis is needed to determine where they need to focus most on in their communication & touchpoints and which functionalities they need for that.


2. What are the touchpoints with my prospects?


Doing marketing automation, means you will have a streamlined communication over multiple channels. Offline marketing, digital marketing, email marketing, website tracking, etc.

Pardot should be used if you only have a few channels needed, namely email & website. Social media channels are rather limited, because you don’t need it with B2B. The Focus will be put on “lead nurturing” by setting up advanced nurturing campaigns in Engagement Studio and create a lead qualification process. This will help you tackle the challenges of keeping your prospects engaged to finally make the purchase and aligning sales and marketing to work together on an opportunity.

On the other hand, Marketing Cloud is all about the multi-channel approach. Think about retail or FMCG. Customers are on all kinds of platform present and they want a streamlined approach. With the right ad on the next social media platform they visit, you can convince them to quickly make the buy. Therefore, Marketing Cloud offers several different “studios” who all have their own channel to focus on: Web, Mobile, Social, Email, etc.


3. Do we have a dedicated marketing team in-house, or willing to partner up with a marketing agency?


Last but not least, think ahead. Who will create and configure all of these nurturing campaigns, email templates, ads,..? Even tough both tools are user friendly, they both need some experience to work with them.

Typically, Pardot is a little less complex to use then Marketing Cloud and can be managed by a small marketing team in-house after a Pardot Training. Of course, this job can also be done by a Pardot partner. Even more, inspiration session on how to set up new campaigns or a regular health check on the org can definitely lift your practices to the next level.

As Marketing Cloud tends to be a little bit more complex to use and requires more technical skills, a bigger marketing team is needed. This team will need to have technical skills as well as experience with the tool itself. We see that these companies often take an experienced consultant in-house to help them out.

As you can see, many factors to consider to make the choice. Get to know your business, your marketing goals and your approach to your ideal prospects.

Need somebody with some user-experience to give you some tailored advice? Let us know, we’ll schedule a call!

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