In this article we take a look at what we think are the top options for email marketing and marketing automation in the Salesforce ecosystem.  We will also discuss just using Salesforce for email marketing needs as an option.

All three platforms below allow you to do the following things:

  1. Send emails
  2. Track website activity
  3. Build forms
  4. Build landing pages
  5. Email statistics: open rate, click through
  6. Drip programs, journey builder, automation events through email only
  7. A/B testing for emails
  8. Personalize content on your website based on the visitor

Here is a quick comparison:

Most Expensive
Fully customizable with custom code giving you the most options for customizing your marketing process out of all the options.

Middle Price Point
User friendly with good features that meet most business needs and a unique lead scoring feature.

Least Expensive
New to the marketing automation world, but user friendly, modern features, and continue to evolve and add on. Not owned by Salesforce.

Limited in what you can do and not an email marketing platform but certainly you can do a lot with just Salesforce.

Marketing Cloud

Marketing Cloud by Salesforce is probably the most advanced email marketing and marketing automation solution. Salesforce bought ExactTarget and made it Marketing Cloud then has continued to buy other companies that do specific marketing related features to add it to the Marketing Cloud platform. Marketing Cloud is a advanced system where you can write code to meet complex business requirements. This means you usually need a good Marketing Cloud Consultant by your side. It is like Salesforce in the way that you can configure Salesforce to do anything.

  1. Marketing Cloud covers all your usual email marketing and marketing automation needs.
  2. Engage with people on Facebook and Twitter. Bringing those conversations into Salesforce and being able to reply in Salesforce.
  3. Manage publishing of other social media like scheduling a Facebook or Twitter post to go out at the same time you send en email blast.
  4. Engage with people via text message.
  5. Sync your Contacts into Facebook, Twitter, and Google AdWords and setup a campaign to display ads directly to your synced Contacts. Great for targeting and paying for only your audience. This feature is known as Advertising Studio.
  6. Crawl the internet websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to see who is talking about your brand and what they are saying. Good for researching how people feel about your brand or doing market research on what people are talking about by looking at keywords that are related to your industry.


Pardot is a very user friendly email marketing platform and looks great in the UI.  The feature set is more limited which also means it is less complicated to use. If Pardot meets your needs it would be our recommendation.

  1. Has all the usual features for email marketing and marketing automation.
  2. The salesforce integration is great.  Pardot is owned by Salesforce.
  3. You need to be careful about syncing your whole Salesforce database if you have a limited number of subscribers. Salesforce starts you at 10K and you pay extra for more.  Typically we recommend syncing all contacts and leads from Salesforce to Pardot, but if you have budget constraints or don’t need to have everyone in Pardot you can optionally be selective about which contacts to sync.
  4. A unique feature of Pardot is to set scoring based on the engagement of a prospect and use the score in your automations and campaigns.  Typically this lead scoring feature is used to gauge engagement of a lead until it is considered qualified and then synced to Salesforce to then be contacted.
  5. Website activity tracking is the best of the group.
  6. Social Posting: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Allows to schedule a post and then view details after it has been posted to social media (clicks, unique clicks, retweets, replies, comments, likes).
  7. Pardot forms are limited in their function.  They are designed to capture new leads/contacts and aren’t designed for having existing contacts fill out multiple forms over time as each form will overwrite the data about that prospect.  Form Assembly is a better solution if there is a need for that and it can still send form data back to Pardot.


MailChimp is very user friendly and a lot cheaper than Pardot and Marketing Cloud.  A lot of small businesses use MailChimp. Recently, they added marketing automation features to their platform which makes it possible to compare with the other options listed here.  Previously they were just considered for email marketing only.

  1. Salesforce integration is good.
  2. They are not owned by Salesforce.
  3. The marketing automation features are new and have a lot of good abilities but have some limitations depending on the use case.
  4. They have a lot of integrations with other platforms like eCommerce platforms.
  5. They have the best email template builder.
  6. Unlike Pardot, MailChimp does have a lot of other features for connecting to other channels such as Facebook for audience targeting and Instagram ads.

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