Comparing Your Email Marketing Options: Marketing Cloud vs Pardot vs Mailchimp vs Salesforce Only Option

Top Email Marketing Platforms (Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Pardot, MailChimp, Salesforce Only)

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:

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 an 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 other social media like scheduling a Facebook or Twitter post to go out at the same time you send an email blast.
  4. Engage with people via text message.
  5. Sync your Contacts into Facebook, Twitter, and Google AdWords and set up 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 automation 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 e-commerce 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.

Salesforce Only Option

Using just Salesforce without any extra email marketing or marketing automation platform you can do some email marketing and marketing automation. If you need to send a minimal amount of daily emails out or just want to set up a simple schedule of emails with specific templates based on criteria and you don’t really need to see and use data about email opens and click-through rates, then it is certainly possible to build email marketing processes in Salesforce without any other platform.  But it takes a bit more work. Here is a high-level breakdown of the capabilities and limitations of using just Salesforce for email marketing:

  1. You can send a limited amount of mass email from Salesforce for any mass email. 5000 per day.
  2. In order to schedule an email to be sent, you must use process builder and base the schedule off changes to a record and using a date/time field.
  3. Email Opens can only be tracked if using the mass email feature in Salesforce under Leads/Contacts. This feature will not work with emails sent from workflows/process builder.
  4. You cannot track click-through rates for your emails. You can track this statistic though using Google Analytics, but won’t be specifically tied to a person.
  5. Using our Email Open Tracker app, you can automate and report better on email opens.
  6. You can configure a drip campaign, drip program, or marketing automation by using Process Builder or Workflows. You can set up a series of emails to be sent on a schedule and based on conditions.
  7. Emails sent via workflow/process builder cannot track email opens.
  8. Bounced emails are recorded in Salesforce and can be used. You need to build automation or reports to use this information in their respective filters.
  9. There is not a standard unsubscribe function with Salesforce when sending emails. You can send emails without an unsubscribe link for alerts but if you are doing email marketing this is required. You can build an Unsubscribe Form fairly easily using Form Assembly and link to that.
  10. Salesforce doesn’t have any great email template builder but you can build your email template elsewhere, convert it into HTML, and then paste that into email templates.
  11. There is no tool to check your email template compatibility in different browsers. You can test elsewhere or test manually.

Looking to Implement Email Marketing with Salesforce? Let’s Connect


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Brion Schweers is a Senior Vice President of Product Management at Salesforce, currently managing the Revenue Cloud Solution Excellence team. During the past 30 years, Brion has assisted enterprises around the world in transforming their business by focusing on their Product-to-Cash processes. Prior to joining Salesforce Brion was VP & GM, CPQ at Apttus, VP, Sales & Success at A5 Consulting, served on the OAUG ConfigSIG Board and spent 15 years at Oracle in various roles related to their CX and CPQ products. Brion is also the executive Sponsor of Vetforce – Carolinas and is actively involved in the Salesforce Military program where he mentors Veterans and their spouses with actionable, personalized career advice.

Joseph Truhe, Board Member

Joseph Truhe has over 20 years of investing experience. Prior to joining Jefferson Capital in 2013 Joseph was a Portfolio Manager with Whitney Bank in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he oversaw the company’s Trust accounts and served as the Energy sector analyst for the Hancock Horizon Funds. Prior to Whitney, Joseph worked as an analyst and member of the investment committee at HFR Asset Management, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund platform in Chicago, Illinois. There, Joseph reviewed and maintained investment discretion over the firm’s Event Driven and Asia-focused hedge fund allocations. He was also responsible for the expansion of the firm’s Asia-focused fund offerings.  Joseph holds a BA in Economics from Yale University.

Steve Swartzman, Board Member

Steve Swartzman is a Principal and co-founder of CPC. Previously, as a co-founder of C3 Capital, he helped originate and manage over 35 investments, including national brands such as American Apparel, Traeger Grills, and Grunt Style. Steve’s chief focus remains consumer brands and e-commerce enablement businesses, and he currently serves on the boards of Grunt Style, Accel Clinical Research, Spoke Custom Products, Warne Scope Mounts, and New World Natural Brands.

Prior to C3, Steve structured and managed subordinated debt investments at KC Venture Group, and he spent 7 years as a Vice President with Citibank in New York, managing client relationships for emerging markets clients and structuring over $1 billion in complex trade financings. He is a past President of the Midwest chapter of the Small Business Investment Alliance, and he serves on the board of the International Center for Music at Park University in Kansas City.

Steve received a MBA from Columbia Business School and an AB in History and Literature from Harvard College.

He resides in Kansas City, where he was raised, with his wife Evelina and two sons, Harrison and Zandy. When he’s not working, his favorite activities are fishing, golfing, and eating.

Charles Scripps, Board Member

Chad has over ten years of experience investing in dynamic, growing businesses in diverse industries and geographies. His private equity experience includes HIG Capital, which has over $12B in capital under management, and AEA Investors, which manages over $3B of invested and committed capital. While at HIG and AEA, Chad led diligence, structuring, and financial analysis of potential and existing investments, and completed transactions in the industrial products and consumer services industries. Chad also has experience investing in the public equity markets, most notably as a Managing Director at Fox Point Capital, a $1B fund seeded by Julian Robertson of Tiger Management. He invested across a number of industries, including industrials, financials, technology, and consumer products, and led Fox Point’s international research. Prior to focusing his career on investing, Chad was a management consultant at McKinsey and Company, solving strategic problems for the world’s leading companies. Chad earned an MBA with Honors in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BS with Distinction in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Lester F. Alexander II, Board Member

Les Alexander is a partner with Jefferson Capital Partners where he provides mezzanine and equity capital for growth and buyout transactions. Mr. Alexander is a member of the firm’s investment committee and serves on the board of directors of several portfolio companies where he is actively involved in strategic planning and corporate governance. Prior to joining Jefferson Capital, he worked at Advantage Capital Partners where he completed several portfolio company investments and served on the investment committee. Before becoming a private equity investor, Mr. Alexander served as president of Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc., a leading fire truck and emergency vehicle manufacturer. At Ferrara, he was responsible for managing a workforce of 450 employees producing over 300 vehicles annually for its domestic and international customers. As an investment banker for 15 years with such firms as Howard Weil, Southcoast Capital, and J.C. Bradford & Co., Mr. Alexander completed over 50 public offerings of debt and equity securities, private placements, and merger and acquisition transactions totaling more than $7 billion for public and private companies in a variety of industries. Mr. Alexander is an adjunct professor at Tulane University and Loyola University where he teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in investment banking, private equity & venture capital, advanced financial management, investments, and entrepreneurship. He is also the board president for Benjamin Franklin High School, a public charter school in New Orleans. Mr. Alexander is the former Chairman Finance of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and served on the global Board of Directors. He is a founder of the Louisiana chapter of ACG and was a recipient of the ACG global Meritorious Service Award and the Louisiana chapter’s Outstanding Service Award. Mr. Alexander received his bachelor of science in Commerce from the University of Virginia in 1989 and his MBA from the University of North Carolina in 1993.

Patrick F. Healy, Board Member

Based in Kansas City, Mr. Healy is a co-founder of C3 Capital. He has been an active private equity investor since 1985 and was a co-founder of C3 Holdings in 1994. Prior to this time, he sponsored and structured equity investments in real estate. He gained extensive workout and restructuring experience as chair of the creditor’s committee of a $1 billion bankruptcy and from being called upon to rescue a publicly-traded company from a major fraud. Mr. Healy was a senior tax partner at Mayer Hoffman McCann, a regional CPA firm, for eleven years. He received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Kansas.

Chris Waters, VP of Strategic Sales

As Vice President of Strategic Sales, Chris guides and influences all strategic sales activities at A5 , starting in presales activities, successful sales methodology, sales process, and continued revenue generation and expansion opportunities. Furthermore, he will provide oversight in strategic sales function for the company and develop strategic sales plans that will promote growth in sales and customer satisfaction. Chris has proven his commitment to sales leadership and organizational success through field leadership as National Sales Manager at Deluxe Corporation, Field Sales Manager within the Social / Analytics Cloud at Oracle, US Regional Manager for CPQ Major Accounts at Oracle and now as Vice President on Sr. Leadership Team at A5.

Keith Fox, GM Salesforce Canada

Keith Fox is a software and consulting veteran for the past 34 years. Keith started his career at EDS which was followed by 4-year stint offshore in Bermuda. Keith then returned to Canada where he held a number of progressive sales and technical positions with software companies such as Sybase, BEA, and Oracle. After his stint with Oracle, Keith founded Cloudware Connections, a premier Salesforce consulting partner. 11 years down the line, Cloudware was acquired by A5, and Keith joined as GM for Canada.

Tarun Sharma, Vice President Delivery

Tarun Sharma is Vice President Delivery at A5 and is responsible for customer success, project operations, recruitment, resource utilization, and sales operations functions for Oracle practice. As a business and technology leader Tarun helps businesses develop solution strategies to streamline the sales process and improve customer relations to drive revenues, profits, and build brand loyalty. Tarun has led customers through digital transformation journeys. He has commanded strategic and tactical initiatives to shorten sales cycles, increase deal values and productivity, improve brand awareness and help organizations become easier to do business with. He has helped customers modernize their sales enablement tools and present a single source of information to support an omni-channel sales approach. This includes global roll-out for multiple business units included multi-currency and multi-language. Tarun graduated from Texas A&M University with a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering.

Adam Rosenfield, VP of Salesforce Practice

As Vice President of A5’s consulting practice – Adam is responsible for both strategic alliances with partners and expanded sales growth through the entire portfolio of A5 services. With over 20 years of Sr. level management consulting expertise – Adam has worn multiple hats in his career including practice development, sales, and client advisory. He has sold & delivered countless enterprise transformational initiatives creating a measurable competitive advantage for his customers. In addition to various technical software certifications, Adam holds an undergraduate and master’s degree in Accounting & Information Technology from the University of Texas at Austin and resides in El Paso Texas with his wife and 3 children.

PJ Alfrejd, CFO

As the CFO, PJ is responsible for all things financial at A5. With over 20 years of experience in financial leadership positions, PJ has worn all the hats required of a growing tech business. His extensive knowledge of the consulting industry, experience with M&A, and strength in operational finance is another catalyst to take A5 to the next level in its growth trajectory. PJ is a CPA with a BS in Accounting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has held various finance leadership positions at Exodus/Savvis (acquired by Centurylink), Neohapsis (acquired by Cisco), and mFoundry (acquired by FIS).

Vinay Kruttiventi, President & CEO / Chairman of the Board

As the CEO of A5, Vinay plays an active role in all aspects of day-to-day business operations. He is also actively involved in establishing a strategy and vision for the company. As a true customer advocate with Salesforce and Oracle product development, Vinay is actively engaged in various industry user/special interest groups. Since founding the company in 2004, Vinay has grown the business into a leading Salesforce, and Oracle partner focused on multi-cloud transformations.

Vinay has successfully implemented and architected CPQ solutions and multi-cloud complex transformation projects for various Fortune 500 companies since 1996. He has a strong authority over industry, process, and technology in Configure-Price-Quote and ERP applications. Vinay graduated from Osmania University with a Bachelor of Engineering degree and JNTU (Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University) with a Master in Technology degree.