Marketing Automation - Pardot vs Marketo

Brian Clausen
Brian Clausen used Ask the Experts™
I was wondering if anyone has input on pardot vs marketo as a solution for marketing automation (or on other marketing automation solutions that may be worth consideration).

Our organization is looking for ways to manage segmented marketing campaigns to different user profiles based on their behavior and activity on our site. This solution would complement our Omniture metrics application.
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Scott FellDeveloper & EE Moderator
Fellow 2018
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Nobody else seems to have insight here.  I don't have experience with either of those.

I have used  sieble/oracle for a couple of years and I have made custom crm/lead tracking for small businesses.  On several occasions, I have run just the month demo of hubspot.  Oracle has which is supposed to be a good option as well.

The first time I tried hubspot it was focused on being a CMS.  I tried it again late last year and I was told more people just use their own CMS and place the hubspot code on their pages just like google analtyics.

What I did like about Hubspot was the ability to track all the actions any one person or campaign group did before they finally made it in the funnel and eventually a sale.

The main reasons I never pulled the trigger on hubspot was because it felt like most of what is in the big list of features are things that you can already do without the software.  The reporting was very similar to using advanced Google Analytics.  The main reason however, was you still needed to generate content which was lacking and would never have been generated for the end user I was testing it for.  

I learned more about they used the service from how they interacted with me throughout the process then the actual demo.  At one point they showed me all the times, pages and places I requested a download from hubspot or other sites that used hubspot.   That was eye opening.

Although not intuitive, if you look at some of the advanced features of google analytics there is more then  what people think.  This option is not for everybody.

Google has wildfire  What scares me about Google is you never know how quickly they will trash something just after you are up and running smoothly.

I think people like the idea of everything under one roof and for smaller businesses or users that are more technically inclined,  you can do a little sweat equity and get nearly the same functionality with other tools at a fraction of the cost. For the person that just wants to make it easy for their staff, I can see where it makes sense.

I believe these suites focus on current interactions where you have thousands of prospects and limited number of people to do follow ups and you have to score each possibility to determine who is worth a 10 to 30 minute initial follow up.

What if you think you are a good data sleuth.  You know there are some nuggets hiding and waiting to be found.  What is the actual pattern of a good prospect/customer?  Who is taking advantage of the system?  What if somebody shows up in the funnel and they rank high, but what if they are also the type that figured out they can start, stop and wait for a special offer only to start up again and repeat?  I used to work with a database marketing software called smartFocus that could easily slice and dice and household data from multiple sources like billing, crm, web and demographic data.   Now that product has been baked into an email  marketing SaaS called Campaign Commander from EmailVision.  

One way I used to use smartfocus as a standalone product would be to find people that met specific criteria in data source 1 AND and met criteria in data source 2 but not in data source 3. None of the data sources had linking by a key field.  In the video here at 40 seconds that is what they are doing. Then creating a segment by just drag and drop.   From there that goes right into a campaign.   It was a long time since I last used it.  

Sorry I can't give you insight specifically to those items.


Thanks @padas,  

Eloqua is an interesting option. We will compare it to pardot and marketo.

We have lots of experience with Google Analytics. Our Omniture implementation is strong enough that we would need to customize GA notably in order to get to a comparable point.

Thanks for all of the input.
Scott FellDeveloper & EE Moderator
Fellow 2018
Most Valuable Expert 2013

I deal with smaller businesses for now and this stuff is out of their reach.  In a previous life I used to do all of this the long way when these tools were not yet available.

Good luck.
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Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.

My direct experience with this stuff tends to end at Omniture.  Most of my clients are small/medium non-profits and the budget to place with the really shiny toys isn't there.  

However, you may consider this a second vote for Eloqua although my direct experience with it was limited.  A potential client was using it and brought us in to bid on some other aspects and I ended up getting a crash course in it.

Another place to look would be SalesEngine (formerly Manticore) but that might not be on a par with the others.

Honestly, I think any automation solution can be made to fit the all depends on the level of sweat equity willing to be put in and the quality of the incoming data.
I don't have experience with pardot but our company uses Marketo. We went with Marketo chiefly because of its SalesForce implementation and our desire to develop nurture programs that were more sophisticated than we could do with SalesForce alone.

If you can give me some specific questions I can check with the person who develops our target lists and marketing campaigns.

Here are a few thoughts from my perspective as the web developer who gets pulled in to do templates, landing pages and email html for our more sophisticated emails.

Marketo does let you set up follow up actions based on whether the person opened the email, took the call to action in it, etc. It can also fairly extensively track a person around a website once you know who they are. I believe it can do some tracking as anonymous or guest and then later tie that to an email once they fill out a form. We are not really using that capability yet.

If you are going to use forms on your site to gather the data you will use to segment these people you have two options.

The first is to create the forms and landing pages in Marketo and create a domain name that is actually on the Marketo site (something like From these types of forms the data goes right into Marketo. The pro to this is you can make the forms and landing pages in Marketo and in theory don't have to involve your web team depending on how complicated you make your form pages (ours had to match our website exactly so I got involved). Data goes into Marketo and can then sync to SalesForce and vice versa.

The second option is to create the forms on your site in your code and use Marketo's API to pass the data.

We are currently using the first option but the Marketo API looks fairly similar to the one we use for SalesForce.

For sending out emails, the wysiwyg editor is good for the simpler emails. Very complex layouts you will probably want to do in another program like Dreamweaver and then paste in.

You can make templates in Marketo for emails to  control which areas of the email can be edited by the group sending them. I am still working with the group that sends the emails to find the right balance for email templates between open ones where they can edit the whole thing vs. locked down ones  where they can only change the words and everything about the layout is locked in.

I hope that helps. Good luck with your decision!


Thanks for the feedback.

Our read is that Marketo is probably stronger on the functionality side, particularly around analytics, but that it carries a higher price point. We are trying to determine if the functionality gap is material enough to merit the larger investment.

The feedback on Marketo's native forms option vs API integration is particularly helpful. It seems like both solutions will provide strong functionality around user tracking and managing segmented drip email campaigns. It seems like analytics and ease of form development may be the key distinguishing areas - we will dig into the Marketo forms APIs, as this could be differentiating if we can easily incorporate form capture into our existing site instead of using pardot or magento-hosted forms pages.

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