Marketo or Pardot—Which is a Better Fit?

This is the first article in our Pardot-or-Marketo series:

Marketo or Pardot Part 2 – How to Break Down the Complex Process
Marketo or Pardot Part 3 – How to Manage Data for Long-Lasting Success
Marketo or Pardot Part 4 – Learn A Whole New Language

Is Marketo better than Pardot? Or is Pardot better than Marketo? It depends.

In this PiPointer, Digital Pi’s Luke Wakefield discusses categories to consider when deciding between Pardot and Marketo Engage. He reviews when Pardot is a fit, when it’s time to consider migrating, and some pro tips to help you make that decision and successfully implement your strategy. Watch the video and read the full transcript below, if you’re thinking of migration you don’t want to miss a minute of this PiPointer!

Marketo vs Pardot Fit Chart

This chart breaks down some of the discussions from the interview to help you gauge whether Marketo or Pardot fits you best based on our experiences. What do you think?




Overall– A great fit for small to mid-sized business focused on straightforward email marketing and automation needs– B2B with a heavy focus on tech companies. Sweet spot is companies with a focus on B2B for scoring, nurturing, journey management and orchestration across channels
Ideal Fit– Budget conscious small to mid-sized organizations– Mid-sized to large organizations or smaller companies with scale in mind
Setup– Easier to get up and running– Requires some business process definition to ensure smooth rollout
Investment– Lower initial investment– Higher upfront costs including licensing and people resources
Strengths– Easy to get up and running with execution of email campaigns
– Ease of licensing. Single contract for Salesforce and Pardot
– Pardot is designed with ease of use and user-friendliness in mind
– Engagement studio interface
– Scale and flexibility
– Excellent features around lead lifecycle and delivering the right content to the right person at the right time
– Support for global teams with partitions/workspaces
– Solid integration with Salesforce to bring marketing intelligence to the Sales team
– Global forms and data collection bring major efficiencies
Room for Improvement– Scalable and productivity features like ability to clone, global forms, etc
– Building of lists/segmentation not as robust
– Not designed for massive B2C email volume
– Requires resources and alignment to drive success, otherwise solution can become a glorified email tool
– Not designed for massive B2C email volume
Download the Marketo or Pardot Fit Considerations Guide for more.

Jeff Coveney: Today, we’re here with Luke Wakefield. We’re talking migration, specifically Pardot to Marketo. Welcome today, Luke.

Luke Wakefield: Thanks, Jeff. How are you?

Jeff Coveney: I’m doing great. Well, we see Pardot a lot out in the marketplace, a lot of companies using it. It’s a great fit for some organizations. Where have you seen in working with some of our clients where it is a great fit?
Luke Wakefield: Yes, Pardot works well. Organizations that were executing email campaigns is one of your main use cases. So, it’s an easier product to get up and started. You can use it right away as far as executing those campaigns. The setup process isn’t as extensive as it is within Marketo. The cost of Pardot is also less, so that can also be a deciding factor in the decision-making process.

And just some of the functionalities within Pardot, you can recycle prospects in Pardot. They don’t count against your database limit and then when they reengage, they’re brought in. So, there definitely are some things within Pardot that helps for some of the smaller companies or companies that are doing fairly simplistic types of email execution.

Jeff Coveney: Why would a company move over from Pardot over to Marketo?
Luke Wakefield: Yeah. I would say scalability. That’s probably the first kind of principle that comes to my mind, to save a lot of time for marketers who are consistently creating programs. So, as your quantity and those types of execution methods are starting to increase, Marketo really helps with that type of scaling. So, it’s the structure itself, it’s more elaborate, allows for more customization and it’s really built for kind of global businesses as you roll the tool out to different regions, different needs, different languages, processes.

Jeff Coveney: And you’ve worked with a number of companies that have made that switch over from Pardot to Marketo. What’s a good example of something you’ve seen in companies where they’ve had success with Marketo but they might not have had that success on the Pardot side?
Luke Wakefield: Yeah, I really think it’s kind of your scale of how many campaigns you’re executing. So, there’s a lot of things that are just a little bit easier, a little bit more efficient. So, within Marketo for example, you have your programs and you also have program tokens within there. So, program tokens are values that you can set on a program level that cascade down to all of your assets.

So, in your email, say you’re doing a webinar and you have a webinar time that’s on all of your invite emails, all of your landing pages, your autoresponder, your invites, those types of things, you only have to set that particular time in one place, and then that value will push to all of your different assets within the program. So, that type of thing, when you’re talking about hundreds, thousands of different programs that you’re executing, to have just program tokens alone is going to save you time as you’re creating each one of those.

Luke Wakefield: So, another example would be forms. So, in Marketo, we use what you would call a “Global form.” So, you only have to create one singular form for any particular tactics that you’re doing. So, back to the webinar example, if you do one webinar every week for a year, you would only have to create one singular form for all 52 of your landing pages for each individual webinar. So, you’d have your 52 landing pages for each webinar where you would populate that content, but you’d only have to have one singular form, and that saves you time.

In Pardot, I would have to create a new form for every single landing page and it just took that much more time. So, with that single form, it saves you time on the creation and it also just saves you a little bit of a headache when it comes to data processing because you’re keeping that consistent and standardized and the setup process just… It just becomes a little bit more simple.

Jeff Coveney: Luke, you talk about scalability. Let’s talk about just one thing that you can do in Marketo that’s a little bit different than in Pardot. In Marketo, you have some special things you can do with lists where you get that information in real-time. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Luke Wakefield: Yeah. Within Marketo, you have your smart list compared to a Pardot dynamic list. In Marketo, it’s really convenient. If you change any of your filters for your audience segment, you can click on the people tab and you get those results in real-time. In Pardot, your dynamic lists, you can populate them in a very similar way, but when you actually need to see how many people qualify, that takes a few minutes because it sends you kind of an email notification when your list is done populating. So, just that processing and that efficiency, it saves you a lot of time when you’re modifying any of your segments or your audience for a targeted campaign.

Jeff Coveney: And when a company is considering moving over from Pardot to Marketo, any other recommendations or considerations they should have when they make that switch?
Luke Wakefield: Yeah. I would say just if you’re a growing business, a larger international business, those types of things, Marketo has a more enterprise-level functionality. It allows you to customize on a global scale, translate languages, and just rolling it out to each different region. Marketo, it organizes in a fashion that just scales better. So, I know I’ve used scalability a lot, but that’s just really, really one of the bigger things that I’ve seen our clients be successful with it is when they have larger teams and those types of things, Marketo just seems to work better for them.

Jeff Coveney: Great. Well, thanks for joining today, Luke. We’ll see everyone on the next episode.

Want to learn more about marketing automation platform migrations?

Check out the Anatomy of a Migration webinar available on-demand.

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At Digital Pi, we use technology to connect revenue to marketing efforts. We fuse marketing strategies, processes, data and applications to make marketing technology solutions work for clients' businesses.

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