As someone who’s switched from Pardot to Marketo and back to Pardot, I can confidently say Marketo is so far ahead of Pardot it’s embarrassing. Proof: Marketo’s Salesforce integration is superior even though SFDC owns Pardot. Come on!
That said, there are plenty of great things Pardot offers. It’s much easier for marketers to use than Marketo. Even the most incompetent employee can’t manage to hose your database with it. There isn’t much damage that can’t be undone with a simple automation.
But for every advantage Pardot has over Marketo, there are several basic functionalities it lacks.
Robust automation rules
There are relatively straightforward automations that can be created in minutes in Marketo that just aren’t possible in Pardot.
In Pardot, I’m limited to 100 automation rules. That may seem like a lot but not if you consider what I was previously doing with Marketo. You can easily wipe out a third of your automation allotment with data cleansing rules alone.
For instance, if I wanted to standardize U.S. state names in the database, I have to create 50 Pardot automation rules. That’s half my automations! Not to mention how ridiculously laborious creating them all this is.
This kind of thing is important because importing state names with the wrong format can cause sync errors between Pardot and SFDC. The last thing you need is quality leads slipping through the cracks.
In Marketo, this could be accomplished with a single smart campaign.
Building lists on the fly
In Marketo, you can choose who receives a communication from within a smart campaign. It only takes a minute to select who to include and who to suppress and preview the audience size.
Let’s say I want to include anyone who attended a particular event but suppress everyone who works at one company. Not only must I create two separate lists, I’m stuck waiting for Pardot to generate them.
It takes anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes to receive an email notification about the list being complete.
Excessive list creation
What if I’m asked to resend an email to anyone who didn’t open the previous one? That takes about 15 seconds to configure in a Marketo campaign. In Pardot? I have to:
- Go to the sent email’s report
- Find the unique HTML opens
- Add those emails to a static list
- Wait to be notified by email that they’ve been added (unless it’s a really short list; I’m talking dozens)
- Include the new list in the suppression section of the email send
- Add those emails to a static list
This is by no means bleeding-edge technology on Marketo’s part. It’s been a feature for as long as I can remember.
Duplicating an email for reuse in engagement streams and 1:1 communications for sales is easy enough but it creates so much extra work. If you update one email template, it’s easy to forget the other versions. In Marketo, I can send the same email over and over again as long as it’s in an approved state.
Email sends by timezone
If your internal testing indicates that your audience is most likely to engage with your emails at 11:30 AM on Tuesdays, you should make sure it’s sent out around the same time globally.
To do this in Pardot, you must have different lists for each timezone. There are 38 different time zones in the world. Some of the offsets are only 30 minutes.
If you’re really hellbent on getting an email out at 11:30, you’d need to create 38 dynamic lists. That’s not an easy task because timezone isn’t a standard field in Pardot. You’d have to make rules for each timezone and make sure none of them overlap.
Then to send out the email, you’d have to either:
- Duplicate the email 38 times to send it out to each individual dynamic list
- Create a 38-step engagement stream for a single email blast
Both of those options are pretty unreasonable. I’m not even sure which one I’d pick.
In Marketo, this would all be accomplished by checking a single box! It would probably save me a whole day’s work. Sending out an international email shouldn’t be a nearly 80-step ordeal.
Not even on the roadmap!
By the way, a thread created 7 years ago in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community about this is still active. It was updated a year ago to let everyone know that nothing has been done about it.
With Pardot, you can send operational emails via list sends. This ignores unsubscribe and do not email records. Operational emails should only be sent when absolutely necessary.
While sending them as email blasts is no problem, there’s no way to automate it.
There are also reasons to use operational emails when onboarding new customers. Someone may unsubscribe before they’re a customer and then not even realize they’re not getting important emails that are part of an engagement stream.
Autoresponder emails sent after form submissions are sent to unsubscribed addresses. For engagement streams, Pardot obnoxiously says: ” Emails from Engagement Programs cannot be sent as Operational… but you can vote for this feature to be added in the Trailblazer Community.”
That post is 3 years old. No sign of it being included on the roadmap. Like most of the popular Trailblazer threads, Salesforce Pardot gets roasted heavily in the comments.
I don’t get it
I know change at massive companies like Salesforce can be glacial. They’re developing on top of existing code that can cause a lot of problems if features aren’t added pragmatically.
The progress is just so slow that I don’t understand how Pardot maintains its market share. My guess is that the userbase isn’t screaming loud enough for these kinds of enhancements. Enhancement isn’t even the right word. It’s somewhere between enhancements and bug fixes.
Is it worth switching platforms?