What is the difference between Pardot and Marketo? That’s a question I get a lot. In order to answer it, let me first name some similarities between Pardot and Marketo.
Pardot vs Marketo: all that different?
Both are marketing automation platforms aimed at the B2B market (with Marketo having a distinctive B2C component you can buy as an add-on). Both target the upper end of the SME market, with Marketo’s prices being a tier above those used by Pardot. And both platforms (especially now with the acquisition of Marketo by Adobe) are owned by some the largest software companies on the planet.
Salesforce vs Marketo / Adobe
Coming from the B2B marketing automation consultancy world, I’d say the average company using Marketo is bigger than the average company using Pardot. This is both due to positioning, respective feature sets, as well as maturity of the platforms. Marketo is broader in terms of features, is more sophisticated and has been around longer as a stand-alone platform. It’s got a big name in the market and many customers specifically choose Marketo for that reason.
Pardot, on the other hand, has been a part of Salesforce for a while now. Not only is its feature set more limited than Marketo’s, it’s also not nearly as big a brand. Meahwile, Salesforce’s aggressive sales tactics often make use of Pardot (as another product in the Salesforce line-up) as an extra “cherry on top”. I.e. in order to close a deal, Salesforce reps tend to sell the Salesforce CRM and include Pardot “for free” to make the customer feel like he got a good deal.
So, as a consultant, I often ran into customers that kind of “ended up with” Pardot. This inevitably meant that they were much less prepared to actually leverage the tool. Which often led companies to think that marketing automation isn’t all that and a bag of potato chips. I think this is a valid reason for Marketo being a much bigger name in B2B marketing than Salesforce.
The big boys
Meanwhile, both platforms (as mentioned) are backed by big software companies. Marketo’s growth, especially, has been phenomenal (as indicated by the Adobe purchase, at $4.75b over the $1.7b purchase by Vista just two years prior). That’s great if you’re an investor, but usually not so much if you’re a customer.
While there’s plenty of happy Marketo and Pardot users, there’s also an increasing number of them becoming disillusioned with the lack of support or vital platform updates. When growth is the main focus of a company, delivering real value and treating their customers well tends to become less of a necessity, expecting their brands to carry them further.
Growth over customer satisfaction?
This factor: growth over customer satisfaction (which is illustrated by things like having your customers pay extra for live support, and otherwise relegating them to an online knowledge base) is what is leading customers away from the bigger platforms and into the arms of challengers like Net-Results, who focus heavily on providing the support and customer experience that the larger companies are apparently not dedicated to delivering.
The difference between Pardot and Marketo: which one should you pick?
Ultimately, Pardot and Marketo are a lot alike. But they are also very different. Generally speaking, if you’re a power user I’d advise Marketo. If you’re smaller and you can get a good deal, get Pardot. If Salesforce integration is a factor, don’t think Pardot is better than Marketo, it’s not. Both are third-party systems connected through API: Pardot isn’t any more a part of the Salesforce platform than Marketo is, despite the branding.
And if you prefer to have excellent support and an equally solid platform, you should consider the aforementioned Net-Results, that’s aimed squarely at this market, too.