Marketing Cloud or Pardot: Main differences and which to choose

Featured image mc vs pardot

Marketing Cloud or Pardot, what is each platform? Both have many things in common, as they are Marketing Automation platforms and belong to Salesforce. The two tools share many functionalities in common, such as email automation, lead nurturing, social media marketing, CRM integration, etc. However, these two Salesforce tools are not the same, and if you’re already working with Salesforce CRM you’ll want to know which one is ideal for expanding your business into the world of marketing automation.

In this post, we will cover the main differences between the two tools and discover what makes each tool unique. In addition, we will help you decide which one is the best option for your type of business. If you are not yet familiar with these Marketing Automation platforms, find out more about them in Is Pardot the best Marketing Automation tool for B2B? and What is Marketing Cloud? Salesforce’s Digital Marketing Hub.

Marketing Cloud or Pardot What is the difference?

Marketing Cloud or Pardot are two Marketing Automation platforms with quite a few differences. Each platform addresses a different market niche and covers different needs in many cases. The main difference is the following:

  • Marketing Cloud is oriented to B2C business while Pardot is positioned as a B2B platform.

Regardless of the orientation of your business, there are some notable differences when it comes to deciding which tool to choose between Cloud Marketing or Pardot. Some of them are:

  • There is a big difference in terms of the sales cycle and its impact on database management. Pardot targets smaller databases of up to 500,000 contacts, although these databases are usually made up of fewer contacts each contact has a higher sales volume. On the contrary, Marketing Cloud can be directed to databases of more than 500.000 contacts, but in this case, there is a higher number of contacts and each contact has a lower sales volume.
  • Pardot is mainly an email marketing platform while Marketing Cloud has other functionalities besides email marketing such as Advertising Studio or Mobile Studio.
  • Pardot allows a greater alignment of the marketing and sales teams in B2B businesses with a detailed segmentation that favors the establishment of lead nurturing programs.
  • Marketing Cloud is excellent for “one to one” communications through different communication channels.
  • Finally, one of the main differences is the integration of the tool with others. Pardot is aimed at users who prefer a pure integration with the Salesforce Sales Cloud, while Marketing Cloud requires more complex integration with Salesforce or other CRM.

mc vs pardot

Despite these main differences, neither one platform competes with the other, nor is it better or worse. However, each one has an ideal audience and therefore the use cases are quite different. The same applies to the B2B or B2C orientation of these tools, as there is no universal rule that dictates that B2B-oriented companies can benefit from the Marketing Cloud or Pardot. Rather, depending on the company, the digital channels it uses to carry out marketing actions, the size of its database, and what needs to be achieved with the automation tool, Marketing Cloud or Pardot may be appropriate.

Marketing Cloud – Mobile Studio y Social Studio

Marketing cloud menu

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud is made up of several modules that one by one cover a particular area of digital marketing This is why we have the following modules:

  • Email Studio: email marketing platform own Marketing Cloud. It is one of the most powerful platforms on the market and allows you to manage the creation, planning, and sending of emails to large databases from your own IP.
  • Mobile Studio: allows you to connect with customers through SMS, push notifications, and chat applications. It also incorporates the necessary technology to carry out Geofencing or proximity marketing actions.
  • Social Studio: connects CRM, customer service, and marketing data to generate personalized experiences and communications through social channels. It offers Social Listening and Social Media Management functionalities in order to manage publications through the Marketing Cloud.
  • Advertising Studio: allows the generation of campaigns and omnichannel customer journeys by working with the CRM databases with the most powerful digital channels on the market (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, and Youtube).
  • Journey Builder: this module is where the communication flows with the client are created and programmed. Journey Builder uses all the Marketing Cloud modules and could be said to act as the nucleus or brain of Cloud Marketing to offer the best possible customer experience.

The main difference between Marketing Cloud and Pardot is the inclusion of the Mobile Studio and Social Studio modules, which are more relevant in the work of B2C companies, allowing the sending of one-to-one communications in several channels. Social Media Marketing is mainly enhanced by the inclusion of these two modules, which is essential for multinational companies that target end-users through Social Networks.

If you are curious to find out more about Marketing Cloud, visit the following post: What is Marketing Cloud?

Pardot – Ideal for Lead Management and Nurturing in the medium term

Pardot menu

Mainly if your company has a long sales cycle, you close business through a Sales team (contrary to what happens in retail or e-commerce), or simply your products or services have a high price and your database is mainly focused on potential customers, Pardot should be your Marketing Automation solution.

When we enter Pardot this may seem like another part of the Marketing Cloud, but in reality it is not. Regardless of the main menus, the fundamental difference that we find with respect to Marketing Cloud is that Pardot is an excellent tool to enhance lead nurturing.

But why is Pardot ideal for Lead Nurturing? This is because Pardot although it has great similarities in the part of email automation with Marketing Cloud, it also has a functionality that allows users to create highly personalized drip marketing campaigns that use the users’ behavior on the web and their different actions to set triggers that help lead nurturing and perform programmed actions automatically.

On the other hand, supporting this main statement, Pardot has a lead assignment system through intelligent scoring and grading. This means that every time a score is added to our leads through different scoring rules, we can program and perform different automated actions through triggers. We can also set up automatic notifications when leads are active on our website, a feature not available in the Marketing Cloud.

If you are curious to discover more about Pardot, please visit the following post in which we explain in-depth the main features and functionalities of Pardot: Is Pardot the best Marketing Automation tool for B2B?

Other aspects to take into account when choosing Marketing Cloud or Pardot

Despite the different characteristics and functionalities of each tool, if you are a more advanced user and have a wide knowledge of Marketing Automation, you will be interested in knowing more about what it allows and what it does not allow, Marketing Cloud or Pardot. As aspects to take into account, we can find the following:

Landing Pages

Landing pages are essential when you want to collect information to attract new leads to the marketing and sales function.

Both Marketing Cloud and Pardot allow the creation of landing pages through different templates (Pardot offers fewer options of templates). If we look at terms like the landing page being optimized for other devices, in Marketing Cloud we are sure that they are optimized for mobile. On the other hand, Pardot requires you to create and maintain your landing pages with your own CSS style so that they are optimized for mobile. Another aspect to take into account is the possibility of programming the landing pages to save and publish since Marketing Cloud allows you to save and program the publication of your landing pages at a future date but Pardot does not allow this functionality. Something useful if you are waiting to include some documents, whitepaper, or link in the last moments. Likewise, on both platforms, we can hide the landing pages from the search engines so that they are not indexed until they are ready to be published.

Lead Nurturing

If your main focus is Lead Nurturing, as we mentioned before Pardot is the ideal platform. This is because it is able to increase the speed of the sales cycle by 30% according to the Salesforce Customer Relationship study.

Instead, the Marketing Cloud focuses on offering a range of related marketing activities that provide significant engagement with customers but do not support the sales cycle and that are less conducive to lead nurturing.

Email Campaigns

Email Marketing campaigns are fundamental in both Marketing Cloud and Pardot and one could say that it is the basis of communications in both platforms. Both platforms are really intuitive and you won’t need to have any knowledge of HTML when it comes to email layout (although it’s always advisable to have previous knowledge to help you build your emails correctly).

However, the main difference between Marketing Cloud and Pardot in this section comes from the preview of emails. Marketing Cloud offers a desktop and mobile view when creating your campaigns, while Pardot requires extra time to render and offer a preview of the email as it uses Litmus to offer this preview on various devices.

Overall, the Marketing Cloud offers greater flexibility when creating your email campaigns by allowing you to use all of the content that resides in Salesforce to create and customize elements such as email subject, sender name, etc.

Social Sharing

As for Social Sharing, Pardot offers limited functions such as sharing basic posts on Social Networks such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, while Marketing Cloud makes use of its Social Studio module to be able to do social listening, connect with users and launch updates through the different Social Networks in a more complete way. So we could say that Marketing Cloud acts as a real Social Media Manager while Pardot stays as a simple tool to update content on Social Networks.

Extensive Integration with Salesforce

In terms of ease of integration with Salesforce, Pardot is miles ahead of the Marketing Cloud, as its seamless integration with the Sales Cloud shows all data correctly synchronized between Salesforce CRM and Pardot, avoiding duplicate data. In addition, when creating emails, forms, or landing pages with Pardot, records previously used in Salesforce can be used in Pardot to create custom fields.

In short, when to use Marketing Cloud or Pardot?

When to use Marketing Cloud or Pardot

As we have said before, it is not possible to know for sure when to use the Marketing Cloud or Pardot, but there are use cases and frequently asked questions that are easy to answer as the answer is quite clear. Some of these questions are:

  • Does your business have a B2C business orientation? → Use Marketing Cloud.
  • Does your business have a B2B business orientation? → Use Pardot.
  • Is your business e-commerce driven? → Uses Marketing Cloud.
  • Is your sales process highly influenced by sales representatives? → Use Pardot.

These questions are fairly obvious, but they are usually the first questions asked by people making the decision to include a Marketing Automation platform in their business or not.
If we go into more detail, we can see some frequent use cases that are immediately associated with Marketing Cloud or Pardot. Therefore, we have the following use cases:

  • A company needs to extract and integrate data from various external sources such as SAP or Oracle for example. → In this case it is convenient to use the Marketing Cloud due to its flexibility and complex integration with other external tools.
  • A company needs to integrate a communication strategy based on the combined sending of SMS, push notifications and emails. → In this case it is most convenient to use Marketing Cloud, in particular we will benefit from the possibilities offered by the platform through the Mobile Studio module, explained above.
  • A company decides to integrate its native advertising platform with the Marketing Automation platform. → In this case, the Marketing Cloud is the ideal platform, since with its Advertising Studio module it is capable of generating campaigns through various digital channels.
  • A company established in several countries and with several business units decides to implement a Marketing Automation tool to help automate the marketing processes →. In this case we have a tie between Marketing Cloud and Pardot, since when working with several business units and countries, we can work through several folders or with several profiles. It is worth mentioning that Marketing Cloud starts with an advantage in this section, allowing us to align different folders belonging to business units or countries with different lists of subscribers, data extensions, and databases, making management easier.
  • A company that previously worked with Salesforce CRM and that identified its sales processes through opportunities decided to implement a Marketing Automation platform to speed up communication with its potential clients, among other things. → In this case it is convenient to use Pardot as it offers more possibilities with respect to Lead Nurturing programs and its Lead Management functionalities are more complete.

Obviously, this is not a universal theory, and cases arise where, for example, even if a company whose business system is purely B2B, it prefers to use the Marketing Cloud due to the services it offers in terms of Social Media Marketing and more complex and extensive configuration possibilities. Another case may be that of having a CRM platform other than Salesforce and needing to carry out a complex integration with one of these two Marketing Automation platforms, in which case the most favorable option would be Marketing Cloud again.

Regardless of the case your business is going through, the most important thing when choosing Marketing Cloud or Pardot is to contact professionals specialized in those platforms. At ShowerThinking we are specialists in developing, together with your company, programs for the automation of marketing campaigns. If you need help or training in Cloud Marketing or Pardot we have the right team that can help you, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

Checkbox and radio button style

Feature image checkbox and radio button style
Making forms in Pardot not boring is easy by adding CSS code. Let’s see how to customize the checkboxes and radio buttons on our Pardot forms.

Before we start, let’s remember…Pardot css Form
How do we add custom CSS to our forms?

Go to the left side menu: MARKETING / FORMS / LAYOUT TEMPLATES and select the design to add the form styles, once selected we give you EDIT LAYOUT TEMPLATE, and paste the CSS over the existing code in the Form tab, and save.

Remembering this, we start with the styles for the checkboxes.

How to style the checkboxes

One of the disadvantages of using Pardot forms is the inability to modify the HTML structure of the form, so we have to take advantage of standard Pardot HTML to design the checkboxes.


As we see in the HTML code, all checkboxes are wrapped in a paragraph tag, with the class pd-checkbox. This is how we will name it in the CSS.


The default checkbox will be hidden and the :before selector will be used to design the new checkbox, with the desired styles.

(.pd-checkbox : before)

The check icons inside the boxes will be loaded from FontAwesome, so you have to insert the library link to view the icons. The link is inserted inside the head in the HTML structure.

See the Pen
link de y CSS, checkbox
by Showerthinking (@Showerthinking)
on CodePen.


The checkboxes will look like this once the CSS has been added to the form in Pardot.

See the Pen
Checkbox personalizadas para Pardot
by Showerthinking (@Showerthinking)
on CodePen.

As you can see, also within the CSS we have called the FontAwesome library. @import url(‘’) Adding the library loads the verification icons. In the CSS styles, in ‘content’ you put the fontAwesome class of the desired icon.

Radio buttons How do we style it?

The radio buttons are quite similar to the checkboxes, but with a little extra CSS to make them look like a radio button. Just like the checkboxes, we’ll take advantage of the HTML provided by Pardot, so all we have to do to customize them is add CSS.


As we can see, all the radio buttons in Pardot are wrapped in a paragraph label, with the class pd-radio. This is how we will name it in the CSS.

See the Pen
El HTML de los botones de radio en pardot por defecto
by Showerthinking (@Showerthinking)
on CodePen.


Like the CSS for the checkboxes, the FontAwesome library will load to display the radio button check icon, while the default radio button will be hidden.

See the Pen
Css, botones de radio
by Showerthinking (@Showerthinking)
on CodePen.

Forms in Pardot: Form Handlers vs iFrame Form

Fetured image Forms Pardot Forms Handlers vs iFrame

Forms have become one of the most important elements for many companies’ marketing teams, because of their ability to capture information from visitors to their websites and turn them into prospects. Choosing the type of form to use depending on the situation is sometimes not an easy task. For this reason, we will analyze the main differences that Pardot offers us, between Pardot Forms or “iFrames” and Form handlers, and which one of these two best suits your needs.

The main difference between an iFrame and a Form Handler is that the latter allows you to integrate forms from third parties, external to Pardot, that is if you had a form before using Pardot, and you need to integrate it into Pardot, through the “Form Handlers” you can do it. This option is not available with iFrames.


Below are five things to consider when choosing a Form Handler over an iFrame or Pardot Form.

  1. Form handlers allow us full control over the look of our forms, as you can design the outside of Pardot and the range of possibilities is greater.
  2. Publish the application data in more than one database, i.e. once a visitor fills in the form and becomes a prospect, this information will go into our Pardot database and the original database, prior to the use of Pardot.
  3. If you need to map out a Login form, which includes information like financial data, or passwords
  4. Integrate Pardot with your existing forms
  5. Use the “third party data” form tool.

However, if you find yourself in a different situation, where none of the above scenarios fit your needs, it is because you probably need an iFrame.


iFrames, unlike Form Handlers, are forms that we create and manage entirely from Pardot, once created we can easily integrate them into our website, copying the HTML code. iFrames are the most used by most people.

Some of the advantages of choosing an IFrame instead of a Form Handler

  • Progressive profiles: iFrames allow us to dynamically change or hide fields about the information you already have from the client, which translates into smaller forms and therefore more options for them to be filled in.
  • Integrated robot protection: All Pardot forms have a honeypot and a conditional CAPTCHA. The good news is that neither you nor the prospects will know if you want it there. If you think it is necessary to add an extra layer of security you can add a ReCaptcha with its corresponding checkbox.
  • Iframe visits and data error: Using an iFrame, gives us more information about how you are responding to the form. If for example, you have an unusually high error rate, Pardot recommends you to be less strict with the information you request in the fields or reduce the number of fields.
  • Using IFrames in Pardot Landings: Once you create an iFrame you can easily add it to a landing created in Pardot. Remember that if a prospect completes a form in a landing made in Pardot, the information will be found in the reporting part of the landing pages instead of the forms.
  • Automate based on form views: Thanks to the information that Pardot offers us about visits, we can automate based on the data obtained. In this way, if a prospect has visited our form we can create a notice and have it reach us in the form of a notification, or we can label it as well.
  • Display the “Thank you page” after the form is completed: If you want to have full control over the “thank you” message generated after the form is completed, then you will want to host these forms at Pardot, this will allow you to make changes to the message quickly and easily.


I hope that at this point you will be able to distinguish the main differences between Form Handlers and iFrames, and that you will be able to assess which of the two best suits your needs. The following is a summary of the main characteristics of each form.




Avoiding Duplicity of Data in Pardot Check Circle Regular Check Circle Regular
Validate email addresses Check Circle Regular Check Circle Regular
Provides the option of progressive profiling Check Circle Regular
Provides protection against bots Check Circle Regular
Provides the option of progressive profiling Check Circle Regular
Integrates with third party forms Check Circle Regular
Maintains the current flow of candidates Check Circle Regular
Integrates with Salesforce web candidate forms Check Circle Regular
Supports custom interface modification Check Circle Regular
Provides data on form views and error data Check Circle Regular
Provide field level change audits for potential customers Check Circle Regular Check Circle Regular
Integrates with Pardot home pages Check Circle Regular
Adding Automation Rules based on form visits Check Circle Regular
Adding Automation Rules to completed forms Check Circle Regular Check Circle Regular
Send auto reply emails from Pardot Check Circle Regular Check Circle Regular
Redirect to a correct action page Check Circle Regular Check Circle Regular
Shows the content of Pardot’s thanks after a form has been sent Check Circle Regular

How to integrate the Gravity Forms plugin with Pardot

Salesforce pardot the gravity forms
Gravity Forms is one of the easiest tools to create advanced forms for your WordPress website and with some customization can be integrated with Pardot. Let’s see in steps how to integrate Gravity Forms using Pardot Form Handlers.

1. Create your Form Handler 

The first step is to create the Form Handler. I won’t go into detail about how to set up the Gravity form, but if you are new to this WordPress add-on take a look at the plugin’s documentation.

2. Create your Form handler in Pardot

In Pardot, go to the side menu: MARKETING/FORMHANDLERS and create a new form handler. We name the form, select its corresponding campaign and configure it as follows:

  • Kiosk/Data Entry Mode: Do not cookie browser as submitted prospect. BOX DEACTIVATED
  • Enable data forwarding to the success location. CHECKBOX ACTIVATED
  • Disable Visitor Activity throttling and send auto-responder emails after every submission. DISABLE BOX
  • Success Location* Success Location should be your thank you page.
  • Error Location* The error location must be your referral URL.

Form handler Pardot

3. Add the fields

Form field

The next step is to add the form fields. I recommend that only one email address is required.

The validation of the other required fields will be done through the Gravity Forms plugin.

4. Configuration in Gravity Forms

In your wordpress go to the Gravity Forms plug-in and click on SETTINGS/ CONFIRMATIONS and ADD NEW. Copy the URL of the pardot form and paste it into the REDIRECT URL box of the Gravity Forms plug-in in your WordPress, as in the example below:

Now comes the most complex part, for the data of the Gravity Form to be synchronized with Pardot, the fields need to be mapped.

Select Pass Field Data Via Query String and a text area will appear. This is where we enter the names of the fields created in Pardot’s form.

The syntax would be as follows:

 pardot-field-name ={Gravity Form Field Name} &pardot-field-name ={Gravity Form Field Name}etc


Name form fields

You can find the names of the form fields in
pardot, by editing the form and scrolling down
to Form Fields.







Gravity Form you can find the field names (FORM FIELDS) by selecting the arrow next to the text box. As shown below.

Now we configure the

Condicional logic

This is what the correct configuration looks like as a whole.

Result Gravity Form

Last but not least, try out your form and make sure the data goes into Pardot.

Salesforce Pardot Email Specialist Certification

Pardot Specialist Exam

Being up to date in the world of CRM today means being on the cutting edge of Salesforce, a CRM application platform that allows us to connect with our customers in a different way.

Within Salesforce we find different applications depending on the department that will be using it. This time I’m going to talk to you about Pardot, a platform that offers powerful marketing automation to help the marketing and sales teams find and nurture our best prospects and close more deals. If you want to get started with Pardot, I recommend that you read the post Pardot, the B2B automation tool. Moreover, it is a tool that will allow us to control 100% how many users we are leaving a cookie with, how many have entered the system thanks to our marketing actions, how many are ready to buy from us and we pass them on to sales to manage them, how many have received an offer from the sales team or how many opportunities we have won and it even allows us to generate recruitment and loyalty journeys, etc. In short, it allows us to activate, measure and share with our teams all our “Inbound Marketing” from recruitment, to turning prospects into brand ambassadors, to loyalty.

Now that we know what it is and we are interested in knowing more, we will have to get certified on this platform to get the most out of it and bring value to our company. That’s why in this post I’m going to talk to you about how to take the Pardot Email Specialist exam and try to solve all your doubts, as I already told you in this post about Salesforce Certifications.

Currently there are 2 types of exams, Pardot Consultant and Pardot Email Specialist.

The Pardot Email Specialist certification focuses on gaining a broad knowledge of the tools and features within the Pardot platform and is geared towards the end users. In contrast, the Consultant certification focuses more on implementation. This time I will focus on talking to you about Email Specialist.

Who is this certification for?

The Salesforce Pardot Email Specialist credential is geared toward individuals who want to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in designing and building marketing campaigns within Pardot. 

The first thing we will have to do is know the Exam Guide to know what the content and agenda are.

Likewise, the following online resources are some recommendations that I believe will help guide you as you prepare and facilitate the study:

About the Pardot Email Specialist exam

You will wonder what the exam consists of. So that you have a general idea of ​​the structure and requirements they request:

  • Content: 60 multiple choice / multiple choice questions
  • Time allotted to complete the exam: 90 minutes
  • Passing score: 72% or what is the same 43 correct answers
  • Language: English
  • Registration fee: USD 200, plus applicable taxes as required by local law
  • Recovery fee USD 100, plus applicable taxes as required by local law
  • Delivery Options – Proctored exam delivered on-site at a test center or in an online proctored environment.
  • References: Before I started organizing my exam and the plan that I was going to take for the weeks leading up to certification, I had no prior experience using Pardot. Fortunately, all the material we need to pass the exam is available online for free.
  • Prerequisite : Not required.

Exam outline

Now that we know what they are going to ask us, where do we start?

First of all, to begin we must visit the home page of the exams . Here you will find the basic information about the exam, the registration form and, of course, the study guide. You will also have access to support modules that reflect the points of the study guide, each section includes E-Learning modules, knowledge base articles (supporting information) and videos (mini videos to support learning). The E-learning modules are definitely a prerequisite for taking the exam and cover almost everything, the videos and knowledge base articles are great for clearing up any doubts we may not have understood. I would also recommend writing notes while watching the videos to refer to later.

In addition to the large amount of material we have, Pardot offers us an environment for frequently asked questions. 

This guide is a summary of the exam with topics to be covered and the weight of each topic. The higher the weight, the more questions will generally be asked about the topic

  • Visitors and Prospects: 8%
  • Administration: 11%
  • Pardot Forms, Form Controller, and Landing Pages: 20%
  • Client Management: 24%
  • Email Marketing: 20%
  • Engagement study: 17%

Study guide

You already know what are the topics that are going to be covered in the exam, so so that you have in a more detailed way point by point what they are going to ask you, I make your life easier with this complete guide of all the content you will need.







Question example

You may be curious to know what kind of questions they can ask you, as I already mentioned above, the exam is done in English.

What is the primary reason for using a form handler?

a) To take advantage of progressive profiling

b) To use enable Captcha on the form

c) To integrate Pardot with a pre-existing website form.

d) To include custom CSS styling

Correct answer: C

You have been asked to create a form that gathers information from prospects. This information should be available in Pardot as well as a custom build community site. How would you achieve this? [Choose one answer]

a) Create a Pardot form and via completion actions submit the details to the community site.

b) Create a website form that submits the details to the community site and integrate it with a Pardot form handler.

c) Create a Pardot form and via an automation rule submit the details to the community site.

d) Create a website form that integrates with a Pardot form handler, details are submitted to the community site using Pardot API.

Correct answer: B


If you want me to give you some tips to prepare for the big day, I will tell you that we may have doubts and we are nervous when we encounter difficulties but:

  • Don’t be put off by not knowing what or how the Pardot platform works.
  • When you take a test, a good trick is to first try to eliminate the answers that we consider incorrect to make sure that we are sure of our answer.
  • Complete all Pardot related modules while taking notes to help you memorize and learn.
  • Read their posts on the Salesforce blog to stay up-to-date.

Other credentials

Very good! You have already certified in Pardot Email Specialist, now what? I would recommend that you continue certifying in the different credentials that Salesforce offers us and that I consider are important to start with:

Marketing Cloud Specialist

Salesforce Administrator



Is Pardot the best Marketing Automation tool for B2B?

the best

Is Pardot the best tool for your project?

There’s no doubt that Salesforce has a very interesting Marketing Automation solution that stands out for its complete integration with Salesforce CRM. Now it remains to be seen if Pardot fits into your project.

As a preview and before going into the depth of the analysis, you have to know that Pardot becomes more efficient the lower you work in your conversion funnel and it’s a particularly useful tool in projects where you want to get the most out of the data (customer loyalty actions, reactivations, cross-selling,…).

What is Pardot?

Pardot is a Marketing Automation tool that is part of the Salesforce technology suite, a solution that is part of the Sales Cloud, since it is focused on digitizing B2B business processes. Sometimes it is also offered within the Marketing Cloud, both approaches are equally valid. At ShowerThinking we like to talk about Pardot as a Salesforce CRM plug-in.

Looking back on its history, Pardot was founded in 2007 in Atalanta and in its beginnings allowed integration with a variety of CRMs, including Salesforce. In 2012, Exact Target purchased Pardot, which months later was acquired for a whopping $2.5 billion by Salesforce, Marc Benioff’s company. Exact Target was renamed Marketing Cloud. Over the past few years, Salesforce has invested heavily in improving Pardot, focusing on native integration with the lightining platform.

What has Salesforce done with Pardot since then?

I will shorten the story by indicating that:

Already in 2014, Pardot became the Marketing Automation platform with the highest growth in the sector, tripling the number of clients acquired from other suppliers such as Hubspot or Marketo. All according to the figures provided by Datanyze.

Not only is it seamlessly integrated with Salesforce, but a process of remodeling and optimization is underway, but its integration with Salesforce is making Pardot even more powerful than it was. I was at the annual Pardot event at Dreamforce last November. Danielle Grau and Nathan Maphet (Pardot’s Senior Product Managers) spoke and made it very clear: They want to make Pardot the best Marketing Automation tool.

anual event

Photo by Danielle Grau at Dreamforce 2018, San Francisco

Understanding Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a technology that automates, collects data and makes marketing and sales processes more efficient. They are evolved email marketing platforms that incorporate web activity tracking technologies, digital asset creation, process automation and communications. The beginnings of Marketing Automation date back to 2005, but it was not until 2012 that it began to be incorporated in an agile way into the business world. Currently there are dozens of solutions on the market, below we show you how to select the best solution.

Main business objectives of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation tools are focused on optimizing conversion rates, expanding sales reach and improving customer knowledge.


Conversion: Data allows for personalization and customization improves conversion.

Business Expansion: Expand the reach of the sales force without increasing commercial resources.

Customer knowledge: Predict customer behavior and needs

Digital marketing strategies based on marketing automation

The marketing automation tools are focused on working on 3 major strategic areas of digital marketing: Inbound Marketing, Account Based Marketing (ABM) and CRM Marketing.


Inbound Marketing: the combination of content marketing, attraction marketing and marketing automation allows working on a methodology that focuses on attracting, converting, selling and making customers fall in love.

Account Based Marketing (ABM): working on the potential of CRM, relationship marketing and professional social networks such as LinkedIn, ABM is the strategy that best suits B2B markets and where Pardot stands out from its competitors.

CRM Marketing: data is the “gold” of the 21st century and CRM is the “data lake” of the clients. Marketing automation allows to exploit and get the maximum performance from the knowledge of the clients through cross-selling, up-selling, mgm (member get member) , commercial reactivation, renewals or relationship marketing actions.

Choosing a Marketing Automation tool

Which Marketing Automation tools can we choose for a project? Marketo, Salesforce Pardot, Marketing Cloud, Hubspot, Eloqua, IBM, Adobe, Sharpspring are some of the tools available in the market. There are multiple possibilities as we can see in the following image of ChiefMartech. As you can see, not only is there a huge range of possibilities to choose from, but the number of tools is increasing every year.

campaign lead

If in your company you are thinking of implementing a Marketing Automation tool, do you identify with any of these three scenarios?

ScenarioResponsible Department
Are there Marketing Automation tools in other business units or group companies/departments?Purchasing/Financial Department
Is there an existing agreement with the tool’s provider?Financial Department
Does it comply with data protection laws? Where is the data hosted?Marketing / Legal Department
What kind of access security do you maintain: What happens if an employee leaves the company?IT / HR Department
Are the features you offer appropriate for the campaigns we are going to carry out?Marketing Department
How will you manage the sales cycle of the captured leads/opportunities?Sales Department
Do you need to integrate with other databases, web or company systems?IT Department
Can we operate it ourselves or do you need the support of an agency/partner?Marketing Department
What costs do you have per volume of contacts/communications/features if we grow?Financial / Marketing Department
Does it replace any existing system?IT Department
What kind of connection do you maintain with the CRM?CRM/IT Department
How will I track advertising/media campaigns?Marketing / Recruitment/Media Department
What is the perspective and evolution of the provider and the tool? What do we expect to be its evolution?Marketing Department / IT

The complete customer experience from start to finish and its conversion into value by the company must be the final objective of every marketing department and no excuses, intermediate steps or shortcuts are valid. And to bet on Pardot is to bet on scalability, innovation and ROI.

You may be thinking that a lot of questions but little answers… It is not easy to answer, most of the solutions in the market cover most of the needs, think that in the end some are copied from others. What I can advise you is that if your CRM is Salesforce, your business model is b2b or you are working on an inbound marketing strategy, Pardot is one of the best options.

The complete integration of your Marketing Automation tools with your CRM is essential.

We at ShowerThinking only work with systems that truly integrate marketing, sales and analytical processes. Salesforce is one of the few alternatives where your recruitment process is integrated with your sales teams and measurable results can be obtained from start to finish. It’s true that there are more alternatives (I certainly don’t underestimate them). Everyone has to make a bet, since you can’t be a specialist in everything.

pardot conector

That’s why I’m going to tell you more about Salesforce’s Marketing Automation tool: Pardot (note: in English you’ll see that it’s pronounced with an accent, although in Spain it’s usually marked with an a). I’ll also tell you about the new changes brought by the new version of Spring 2019 (Pardot Spring 2019), including the Spanish interface (finally!).

Critical features of Pardot

Pardot has a great amount of functionalities. I am not going to tell you all of them because it is not the purpose of this article. Instead, I’m going to focus on testing:

  • The most relevant aspects.
  • The areas in improvement phase.
  • The new Engagement Studio.
  • Pardot Einstein

Lead Generation: Evolved project generation:

Creating landing pages and subscription forms has to be a fast, intuitive and customizable process. Pardot not only does not fall behind, but includes many other features such as progressive profiling, which allows you to collect new lead data in each successive interaction, simplified lead management and integration with the sales process.

progressive profiling

Lead management: automatización, scoring and nurturing

If you are familiar with lead management, you will know how important it is that the entire process of scoring, grading, tracking and nurturing can be configured with automated flows, ensuring that the right lead reaches the salesperson at the right time.

Pardot has managed to make lead management extremely simple.

scoring pardot

Social Media Marketing

Considering my knowledge of social networks, I have a certain predilection for Marketing Automation tools that integrate with them and allow a complete management from a single control panel.

Pardot is one of those few tools that allows you to manage all your Social Media channels from its own interface and does it spectacularly well.

Pardot Einstein: Artificial intelligence in lead capture

One of the features that was already known beforehand is the appearance in this new version of the artificial intelligence functionalities provided by Einstein. Salesforce is extending Einstein’s functionalities throughout its service platform. Einstein Behaviour Scoring allows us to identify leads with a higher value depending on the behaviour of the rest of the data in our instance. Do not expect that they can be customized and configured in this first version, but at least it is an interesting step to take into account.

Einstein Campaign insights offers us information that the system considers relevant about how the campaigns that are being executed on Pardot are working.

One point to take into account is that we must carry out a correct structure and planning of campaigns in order to take advantage of all these features.

Measuring results and ROI

One of the big problems in the world of digital marketing -and marketing in general- has been to measure ROI, which has been a constant cause of discussions between marketing and sales.

Thanks to Pardot’s analyses, the marketing team can finally discover the real return that is being obtained with the published campaigns and contents. A key factor to consider is using Pardot’s salesforce campaigns and performing full traceability of sales processes.

lifecycle pardot

For content marketing lovers, the Spring19 version will also feature Engagement metrics on the contents of our marketing program. By the way, Pardot also integrates seamlessly with Google Adwords to measure the ROI of SEM campaigns. This is one more in the growing list of integrations with external services.

First class email marketing

Creating email campaigns with Pardot is not only a very intuitive exercise, but its automation, customization capabilities and, above all, optimization tools make it a first class tool. Really the great potential that you have to analyze is the possibility of personalizing content based on all the data that you have in Salesforce about your clients or leads.

email marketing

Salesforce-Pardot setup assistant

What if our marketing automation tool and CRM were to be integrated automatically? It may not be far off, but it’s the direction in which Salesforce is moving. It’s getting easier and easier to set up and synchronize data.

And with Pardot’s lightning-fast interface, it’s getting easier to operate the tool within Salesforce without having to change environments.

Marketing and sales alignment

Unlike other email marketing and marketing automation tools, Pardot manages to perfectly bring together and synchronize the marketing and sales departments.

Nothing else could be expected from the market-leading CRM marketing automation platform.

Pardot takes Sales Enablement to another dimension.

Tracking of lead activity, real-time alerts or the ability for sales to send pre-designed marketing campaigns to their clients are just a few examples of its major advantages.

The areas of improvement that have been corrected

Visual Interface

For a while, Pardot’s interface received some criticism. It was not intuitive enough, considering its multiple functionalities. Salesforce has not only corrected this problem, but has probably transformed Pardot’s interface into one of the most visual and understandable panels on the market.

Limited integrations

The number of integrations with third party applications is constantly growing. But don’t forget that your integration with Salesforce is seamless-something that’s only within the reach of this CRM’s darling.

Price of entry

Pardot is not a tool for small businesses. That is indisputable.

This advanced software is designed for those SMEs and large companies that have a high turnover, especially if they work in the B2B sector.

And then came Engagement Studio

The recently launched Engagement Studio is a new dimension of lead management and nurturing. Thanks to this visual platform, the marketing team can build, test and optimize flows – called Engagement Programs – in order to ensure the highest possible accuracy in obtaining qualified leads.

The Engagement Programs allow for the sending of personalized emails, based on the behavior of the customer in real time and the scoring they have. The result, of course, is that conversion rates soar.

engagement studio

In conclusion

We are in a particularly interesting moment in which Marketing departments need to know more and more about technology. With the implementation of a Marketing Automation tool, we will optimize the customer experience as well as improve the internal efficiency of the company.

The continuous improvements, the launch of new modules and features, and the seamless integration with Salesforce CRM are clear signs of what’s to come. At the agency, we believe that Salesforce is one of the few alternatives where your recruitment process is integrated with your sales teams and where measurable results can be achieved from start to finish.

Finally, we have to answer the question with which we started the article, of which I want to give you my personal opinion: depending on the focus of your marketing project you should make your decision. If your marketing project requires sending personalized information to potential customers, almost any tool can serve that purpose.

If your project requires a good coordination with sales teams, lead management, opportunity management, in this case Pardot starts to differentiate itself positively from the competition.

In those projects where you want to take full advantage of your contact database, customer loyalty projects, reactivation, etc., Pardot and its integration with Salesforce becomes a practically unique tool.

There’s no doubt that Salesforce has made a strong commitment to making Pardot the perfect Marketing Automation tool, it remains to be seen if it’s useful in your project.