Pardot vs Marketo: Which Marketing Automation Software is the Winner?


You probably hear the phrase “work smarter, not harder” five times a day — but have you taken it to heart? Are you really working smarter? That’s the core of marketing automation software, but not all marketing automation platforms are created equal.

When comparing Pardot vs Marketo, we must consider that these are two of the most popular platforms out there for marketing automation, and it’s not hard to see why. But how do the two measure up against each other?

Compare Pardot and Marketo Against your Needs

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Advantages and Disadvantages

Pardot marketing automation software makes it simple for marketers to improve lead generation results and align marketing and sales team goals. Pardot integrates with Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) solution, allowing businesses to easily find and leverage critical marketing data through a single, centralized platform.

Marketo is a cloud-based marketing platform for all types of organizations that helps marketing teams boost their digital marketing efforts. The platform’s features are broken into applications that are focused on various techniques of digital marketing.

Both are popular and proven in the field, but perform some features better than others. Here’s our breakdown of Marketo vs Pardot:

Customer Retention

Seamless contact management features help you keep track of your clients and improve customer retention

Pardot offers effective drip campaigns to help users retain their customers by educating them about Pardot’s tips and tricks. This helps place the clients on a best practices drip nurturing track and gradually introduces them to advanced nuances of your brand offerings. By keeping the clients engaged with the product, they will be more likely to convert. Unfortunately, the templates for these newsletter and email blasts are fairly limited, and users often have to build them from scratch.

Pardot also has advanced lead nurturing functionality that can adapt to different audiences. This feature automatically sends email blasts based on a variety of triggers including time and interactions. Users can nurture valuable leads by sending them to their best sales agents. Pardot utilizes a combined lead grading and scoring model to enhance lead quality.

Marketo easily builds automated campaigns to engage prospects in a personalized way, without any help from the IT department. Users can build and scale cross-channel, automated campaigns to personalize a lead’s experience and convert them into a customer. Lead nurturing includes batch and real-time triggered emails, automatic segmentation as lead behavior changes and mobile marketing abilities to reach customers wherever they are.

Marketo is designed to be scalable and user-friendly — the email builder uses a WYSIWYG editor with a visual interface that makes it easy for everyone from beginners to pros to use. Leads are nurtured and retained through personalized ads based on data Marketo collects around relevant customer profile information including product interest, past purchases, overall engagement and level of buying intent.

Marketo wins for a more personalized approach to email marketing and the easy-to-use interface users report loving on this marketing automation experience.

Marketo rates better than Pardot for customer retention in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Capture Leads

The landing page builder from Pardot lets marketers build landing pages without a developer. Pardot can track anonymous visitors from these landing pages to help convert them into prospects. Users can generate marketing campaigns with all the prospect’s information already forwarded into salesforce CRM. Pardot has built-in editors that use drag-and-drop features to make building landing pages, custom forms and social posts efficient and effective.

Pardot can integrate with Google AdWords to track a campaign’s return on investment (ROI) and analyze keyword performance. Social profiling is simplified by tracking all the interactions prospects have with social campaigns. It allows users to deliver the personalized nurturing experience today’s buyers expect. This marketing automation platform will change the content sent out based on prospect engagement and automatically segment leads for more efficient targeting.

Marketo helps users find and engage the right customers. Users can easily attract and engage with potential customers right from the start of their customer journey through tactics like search marketing, landing pages, web personalization, forms, social media and behavior tracking. This system is designed to help leads learn what they want to know about your products by offering a module including search marketing, landing pages, web personalization, forms, social media and behavior tracking capabilities.

Marketo offers progressive profiling and lead forms to gather consistent customer data. Users have multiple programs and marketing activities to choose from that influence deals and help capture leads. Some users report that the built-in landing pages are too rigid or impersonal and could be improved.

Pardot packs a bigger punch when it comes to lead capturing with its customizable landing pages and auto-synching customer data.

Pardot rates better than Marketo for capturing leads in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Marketing Campaigns

Marketo’s interactive dashboards let users track and execute marketing campaigns.

Pardot helps users set up, deploy and handle online marketing campaigns to boost their company’s revenue. Pardot allows users to manage all marketing campaigns, inbound and outbound, in one place. Then, users can review the strategies that worked and the ones that did not. This marketing automation application lives up to its name with automation of important but repetitive tasks like lead assignment. Users can organize their operation with complex, multi-part rules via Pardot’s easy visual builder and create dynamic lists for better ad targeting.

Pardot also makes managing email campaigns easier for marketers. An intuitive editor helps users build visually-pleasing emails. Automation and personalization settings allow marketers to set it and forget it. Marketing messages can be automatically sent to contacts and modified based on contact engagement.

Compare Pardot and Marketo Against your Needs

Marketo helps marketers master the art and science of digital marketing. Using Marketo’s marketing automation module, users can set up automated campaigns in a matter of minutes. Marketers can set up campaigns that deliver streams of relevant content that start the instant a new email address is captured and continue throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

Marketo supports batch and real-time triggered emails that can be activated by behaviors like web visits, form completions, social shares or even social media check-ins. It also comes with a visual drag and drop interface which is very easy to use and does not require users to possess HTML skills to create professional email templates. On top of that, email marketing is relatively easy to do, as users can send emails based on actions, timing, or a series of steps that are pre-defined.

Pardot beats Marketo with its comprehensive all-in-one interface, seamless integration with other CRMs and versatile capabilities.

Pardot rates better than Marketo for marketing campaigns in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.


Pardot helps marketing and sales teams collaborate by getting them to work closely. This solution offers real-time notifications via desktop, email or mobile to the sales team when the prospect fills in a form online so  they can take the process forward immediately. Pardot also connects to GoToMeeting and Eventbrite for event marketing. The App Exchange feature lets users connect videos, ads and other communications directly to the platform.

Marketo enables marketing and sales to collaborate on their customer conversations at every stage of the revenue cycle, promoting focus on only high-quality leads to increase ROI. Members of sales and marketing teams can get automatic alerts when behaviors or demographics change with the built-in Audience Hub feature. Users have access to a marketplace of other compatible add-ons via LaunchPoint, but they are typically paid add-ons.

Because Pardot is a Salesforce application, it offers a wide and robust range of collaboration and integration options that set it far ahead of Marketo.

Pardot rates better than Marketo for collaboration features in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Sales Lead Conversion

Pardot’s marketing automation offers sales teams tools for prospect tracking and analytics for obtaining key information about potential leads. Users can take the manual labor out of lead management by putting their most common marketing and sales tasks on autopilot.

With automated lead qualification and nurturing, users can free up sales to focus on what really matters: bringing in new business. With this system, leads can be graded, allowing the sales team to focus on potential conversions. The lead deck lets users guide prospects onto their service pages with a single click.

Marketo helps convert more prospects into customers by triggering a sales call or relevant offer at exactly the right time. Revenue captured from clients can then be attributed to the marketing campaign responsible for attracting them. This software empowers buyers and puts them in control of their own discovery process. It helps attract top-of-funnel traffic through inbound and outbound programs and converts leads with landing pages and progressive forms.

Pardot wins this category for offering the same lead tracking capabilities as Marketo with additional filtering functionality.

Pardot rates better than Marketo for sales lead conversion in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Customizable Qualifiers

Pardot can automatically score and grade leads based on past response and reaction to a campaign. A rule could then be created that directs highest-scored leads to an organization’s sales team for immediate contact. This lets users identify their best leads before their competition and prioritizes sales outreach efforts at a glance.

Marketo’s unique Engagement Score is a proprietary metric that outputs a single number to gives marketers a faster method of measuring content performance. Users can develop and qualify potential buyers well before they’re passed to sales with relevant, uniquely personalized nurturing campaigns and robust scoring capabilities.

Pardot wins for this feature as it not only lets users sort and contact leads based on their quality but also compiles and directs that information to the sales team without manual input.

Pardot rates better than Marketo for customizable qualifiers in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Who Won?

While the Pardot vs Marketo race was close, overall, Pardot scores better that Marketo in most categories with SelectHub’s analyst team. To find out which marketing automation software is the right fit for your company, check out this comprehensive comparison report.

Do you use either of these marketing automation platforms? Do you prefer one we didn’t mention? What two systems would you like us to compare next? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

Bergen AdairPardot vs Marketo: Which Marketing Automation Software is the Winner?


Join the conversation
  • Nikhil - January 23, 2020 reply

    Looks like report is just trying to compare tools for the very basic of tasks. Pardot wins solely because it is a Salesforce product and not on its own merit.

  • ANAND - July 21, 2020 reply

    What kind of a crappy comparison is this? Pardot offers A,B , Marketo offers C,D. Hence Pardot is better. Even the features dont have detail – “Pardot wins for this feature as it not only lets users sort and contact leads based on their quality but also compiles and directs that information to the sales team without manual input.” this looks like a feature Marketo has out of the box.

    Zachary Totah

    Zachary Totah - September 9, 2020 reply

    Hi Anand, our research team is looking into this.

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