How to decide between Pardot or Marketing cloud and use them both for universities

If you are a marketer working in an university  or work in marketing departments who use salesforce, one of the common challenges is to decide between Pardot and Marketing cloud. Both of these products are offered by Salesforce and there is a lot of unanswered questions and challenges in deciding which product to choose  and how to make a decision on it. This post would help you to make a decision between the two products and help you to prevent costly mistakes later.

Pros of Marketing Cloud

Marketing cloud previous Exact Target has multiple products with it namely  Advertising , Social, Web, Mobile,Email Studio and Journey builder.  These products help to engage with your customers and prospects across all channels namely web, mobile, social, Ad and Email. Marketing cloud works very well if you are trying to engage your audience in an automated manner sending personalized messages and tracking the conversations and outreach efforts. With the latest predictive intelligence module, you can track possible effective channels which your customers engage and help to measure ROI on your digital campaigns. Journey builder is a great product which would allow you to talk to your students across all channels, look for feedback and send different messages on each channel. It also has great API which allows to import leads and customers directly as data extensions and automate email campaigns using automation studio. It also has a powerful FTP feature which would allow you to directly import files from external source and drive campaigns.

Cons of Marketing Cloud

The product is very robust and has a lot of automation features which makes the tool require some time to setup and make it work. It works very well if you have a technical team who can easily automate campaigns with in built marketing cloud features like data extensions and scripting. The tool has great integration with salesforce which allows to send emails from salesforce and has a lot of tracking reports within marketing cloud. Custom reports would take time to build and still need to be customized to get back to Salesforce.

Pros of Pardot

Pardot has great features for drip campaigns, lead scoring and web , email and social studio integration. The lead scoring module is very powerful and can automatically score your prospective students based on multiple rules which can be configured with point and click. It has very deep integration with Salesforce and will automatically display click through reporting on your leads and contacts in Salesforce easily. The engage product helps to engage with leads by sending them one of emails and tracking the results. The product is very easy to use and shows pardot results on salesforce lead and contact detailed pages easily. Creating campaigns is a breeze and you can easily create rules and assign it to lists which can be integrated with Salesforce. Reporting is powerful and can show overview campaign reports and detailed tracking of email campaigns on different segment of emails.

Cons of Pardot

Pardot has very deep integration with salesforce but it works very well with sales enablement use cases only. Omni channel integration is evolving and it is not that powerful compared to marketing cloud on mobile, social and advertising. The new engage feature is evolving and will make life easy for making rules once it completely developed.

When to use Marketing Cloud

Marketing cloud works very well on the following usecases and scenarios.

  • If your need is to develop long term relationship with your leads and customers and engage them in all channels, Marketing cloud works very well using the modules and send automated campaigns.
  • If you want to engage your leads on each channel based on their response and continue the conversation across each channel with continued messages seamlessly, marketing cloud journey builder product would fit your needs easily.
  • If your customers are mostly B2C , Marketing cloud product works very well and can help to have personalized communication with the customers.
  • If your objective is to drive brand awareness and measure brand influence across all channels, social , mobile , ad and email studio modules fit your needs.
  • If your goal is to enable your sales team quickly with powerful lead scoring, Marketing cloud may not be a good fit.

When to use Pardot

Pardot works very well in the following  usecases and scenarios

  • If most of your customers are B2B and you want to do powerful lead scoring, Pardot lead scoring module works very well.
  • If your goal is to drive marketing qualified leads to your sales team and help them to send personalized email campaigns, Pardot engage works well.
  • If your customers are mostly on web and email only and limited social and Mobile, Pardot would be a good fit.
  • If you want to have long term brand awareness and engage your customer on all channels with continued messaging, Pardot may not be the right products for you.

How to use Pardot and Marketing cloud together.

Most of the businesses and universities continue to use both products and here is how to use them together.

  1. You want to use Pardot to engage with your B2B customers like continued proffesional education departments which deal with organizations which would help in scoring your leads and run campaigns effectively.
  2. If you want to engage with your students on all channels with continued messaging like communicaiton departments , Marketing cloud should be used.
  3. The goal is to use one platform like salesforce and have it integrated with Pardot and marketing cloud and have all touchpoints tracked in Salesforce.


To summarize, here are the key takeaways for you in making the right decision.

  1. If you want to do quick implementations, have lead scoring and communicate with your leads and customers first on email and web, start with Pardot.
  2. If you want to have long term relationship with your students across all channels, have personalized journeys and automate them, use Marketing cloud.
  3. Ensure that the integration is enabled with Salesforce.

I have a checklist which I provide to my clients when they are in the decision process of evaluating both products.  Please feel free to email me directly at at or post below and I will reach out to you to share it.

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Author: buyan47

Hi there! My name is Buyan Thyagarajan. I am a Salesforce consultant specializing in Higher Education, Manufacturing and Marketing Automation. My blogs will help you to maximize your Salesforce CRM investments, prevent problems beforehand and make the right decisions. If you need to talk to me right away, you can email me at or call me at 302-438-4097

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