Marketo vs Pardot: A marketing automation agency’s opinion

Marketo vs Pardot: A marketing automation agency’s opinion

Marketing automation has been a hot topic for quite some time now and the appeal is fairly clear to see with promises of less manual intervention by marketing, advanced lead nurturing resulting in better qualified leads with prospect further along the buyers journey and more receptive to conversation that ultimately has a higher conversion rate.

So with that in mind, we wanted to use this blog to provide an opinion on two prominent platforms for those considering investing in a marketing automation platform. We are not attempting to do a full feature comparison here, merely share some interesting observations. There are many different marketing automations platforms such as Eloqua, IBM marketing cloud and Hubspot, but in this blog we’ll just be looking at Marketo vs Pardot.

There are several pain points that businesses face when it comes to B2B lead generation:

  • They might struggle to generate high-quality leads that convert into customers.
  • They might have a hard time nurturing leads and keeping them engaged throughout the buyer’s journey.
  • They might waste valuable time and resources on manual tasks and repetitive processes.
  • They might lack visibility into their lead generation efforts, making it difficult to track and measure results.
  • Most businesses use multiple marketing channels to generate leads, but often these channels are not integrated with each other. This makes it difficult to track the effectiveness of each channel and makes it more difficult to nurture leads through the sales funnel.


A marketing automation platform helps businesses overcome these challenges by automating lead generation tasks, integrating multiple marketing channels, and providing detailed reports on lead activity. With a marketing automation platform in place, businesses can focus on their core tasks while still generating high-quality leads at a fraction of the cost.


We’ve written this blog post to help you get to know in detail about Marketo Engage and Pardot – two prominent marketing automation software for B2B lead generation – some interesting features, how they compare against each other and pick one to suit your business the best. As mentioned, this is by no means a full feature comparison, merely our opinion on aspects of these popular platforms.

Marketo Engage

Marketo Engage is a sophisticated marketing automation software by Adobe that allows businesses to generate leads by helping them find and engage with the right customers.


It follows the modern lead generation methodology (ideally beginning from the marketing–sales–business development team) for –

  • 1:1 Targeting or attracting leads
  • Educating customers about the need for the software
  • Multi-channel messaging
  • Engaging leads
  • Moving leads through the sales funnel
  • Nurturing leads and enhancing customer relationships

According to a recent survey, 71.4% of Marketo users experienced significant business growth in 12 months via customer experience automation (CXA).

It offers four paid plans with pricing dependent on the database size –

  • Select – Offers scaling with multiple marketing channels, segmentation, and automation.
  • Prime – Offers full lead and account-based marketing with journey analytics and AI-backed personalisation.
  • Ultimate – Offers powerful automation with premium attribution for advanced marketers.
  • Enterprise – Offers the highest scalability and flexibility for globally distributed teams


SEO and social media applications to maximise website traffic

Marketo Engage helps you to maximise your website traffic with its SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) tool. It helps you understand how your keyword ranking stacks up against your competitors. This is followed by keyword recommendations to improve your website’s ranking. You can also identify inbound link opportunities based on your targeted keywords and competitor’s links.

The social media application or social marketing by Marketo integrates social media with your marketing strategy which accelerates customer acquisition and improves customer engagement score.


It enhances your marketing efforts by –

  • Expanding your campaign outreach with shareable buttons and videos.
  • Tracking the impact of social media activities on conversion rate and revenue growth.
  • Increasing the chances of your marketing campaigns going viral via dynamic referral campaigning, sweepstakes, and social polling.

Personalised content to target and engage the right audience

Marketo’s Audience Hub helps you to integrate first-party behavioural data with social media apps such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc.


Its Digital Ad application helps in:

  • Creating personalised content by leveraging data from social media platforms, thus, enhancing conversion.
  • Improving your paid search ROI by allowing you to capture both online as well as offline (deals closed by sales reps) conversions.
  • Influencing the audiences for Ad campaigns with native integrations for quick marketing, rich insights for lead and account profiles, extended scalability, strong marketing tech stack, and more.
  • Optimising your search Ads for conversions by connecting offline conversion data with Google AdWords.

Personalised content helps you in better-engaging website visitors. This personalisation is customised by leveraging customers’ online behaviour such as – the customer’s current position in the sales funnel, their interests, the issues they’re trying to solve online, etc. This also assists you in:

  • Localising the personalised content based on the demographic data of the customers.
  • Tracking the customers’ browsing behaviour to know which products they are searching for.


No transparent pricing plans

The plans offered by Marketo are quite complex. Unlike Pardot, the prices are not mentioned upfront. Although the combinations offered in the plans are quite potent, these plans go a bit overboard with their respective costs (also, plans do not come with any assured ROIs). You unlock some added features with each tier, but obviously that adds to the overall cost.

Outdated visuals

Despite the Beta rollout of Marketo Sky, the tool remains visually outdated and lacks a simple user interface. The Smart Campaigns need to have a visually catchy interface to look more promising.

Also, the response time while switching between different instances in Marketo is quite slow.


Pardot (renamed as Marketing Cloud Account Engagement) is a B2B marketing automation tool by Salesforce.

It helps simplify the lead generation process (from prospecting to closing deals) with its robust automation of repetitive tasks. It also provides predictive analytics that can help increase conversion rates while reducing costs through its drag-and-drop interface design and built-in reporting capabilities.


It acts like a lead magnet, helping you to attract the maximum number of website visitors with catchy offers and content. With its attractive landing pages and tailored content, it helps in converting your website visitors into qualified prospects.


  • Adds smart forms so that user information can be collected
  • Tracks statistical data of organic and paid searches
  • Improves keyword performance
  • Ensures that your SEO and SEM efforts yield maximum benefit

As per 2020 statistics, Pardot is the 10th most popular site among the top 1 million websites ranking in the marketing automation category. The USA, UK, and Japan use Pardot far more than other countries.

Pardot offers four paid plans:

  • Growth at $1250/month (up to 10k contacts) – Offers marketing automation for fuelling growth,
  • Plus at $2500/month (up to 10k contacts) – Offers deep insights with analytics,
  • Advanced at $4000/month (up to 10k contacts – Offers Advanced marketing automation tools and analytics to support innovation,
  • Premium at $15000/month (up to 75000 contacts) – Offers enterprise-ready features with predictive analytics and support.


High-converting attractive landing pages for heaps of qualified leads

Pardot landing pages offer relevant and actionable content for your website visitors which is more likely to convert them into qualified leads.


Pardot’s robust landing pages provide you with:

  • Strong reporting – You can quickly analyse the required information whether it is in organic landing page completions or campaign reporting.
  • The Engagement Studio – It allows you to add the required triggers to your program as per the customer behaviour helping you to improve the customer experience and drive conversions.
  • Unlimited designs and templates – It empowers you to effortlessly make attractive landing pages with its master template. You can access several custom fonts, button/form behaviour, third-party integrations, and more. It also allows you to control the content region within the template.
  • Multivariate page testing – It helps in tracking the performance of various landing pages, and continue tweaking them as per the results.

Forms and form handlers for lead capturing

Pardot allows you to use Form Wizard to design and manage Pardot forms. This enables you to collect user information and identify the ideal prospects. It diverts prospects to the custom landing page that has an embedded form.


You can:

  • Easily create forms with Pardot’s Form Wizard.
  • Create custom fields in addition to a bunch of default prospect fields in your Pardot account.
  • Eliminate most of the spam prospects with Bot Protection which allows you to turn on reCAPTCHA for landing pages as well as marketing forms.
  • Create attractive functional forms or customise your form code with the layout templates.



Overly expensive

The tool is extremely pricey and its various functionalities are plan-specific. You cannot use certain functions such as API access or A/B testing (for email campaigns) if you aren’t a Premium plan member. Also, the software offers very limited integrations.

Obsolete email builder

The email builder is quite outdated compared to Marketo Engage. Emails need to be coded in HTML sometimes for proper functioning. The access management of images and files is subpar.

Marketo vs Pardot – A marketing automation agency’s verdict

virtualROI is a marketing automation agency, and since 2009 we’ve been helping B2B clients across Europe, The Middle East, and Africa generate and manage high-quality leads.

It is interesting to note that Pardot has about 33753 customers and a 6.91% market share, slightly edging Marketo Engage, which has about 29716 customers and a 6.11% market share.

In our experience, both these tools work well for B2B lead generation. But picking the best for your business might depend on a number of factors such as budget, your specific business needs, key functionality and so on.

If you’re an SMB looking to level up your game with marketing automation software that has an easy-to-use interface, basic to advanced lead generation and management functionalities, and is robust and affordable, then Marketo Engage might be the way to go.

However, if you’re a well-established corporation with less concern about costs and more interested in features like advanced predictive analytics, then Pardot might be your pick.

Speak to us today so we could help resolve your dilemma and lead generation challenges.

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