Higher Education – Using both Pardot and Marketing Cloud

Have you ever asked yourself “When should I use Pardot, and when should I use the Marketing Cloud?”  It’s a great question, because while either can be used independently, combining both Pardot and Marketing Cloud creates a very strong solution for both inbound and outbound marketing.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of choosing between Pardot or Marketing Cloud, but focusing on the specific needs can determine which solution will best accomplish the goals, and at times this may include both Pardot and Marketing Cloud.

While both Pardot and Marketing Cloud complement every stage of the prospect and customer funnel, the following image shows an overlay representation of the combined capabilities.  For example, at the top of the funnel where content, inbound, and demand marketing take place, Pardot can be very granular with visitor and prospect data, action every step, and if necessary, engage the right program manager or outreach department in real time.  Toward the middle and lower end of the funnel where lifecycle marketing and ongoing communications are focused, Marketing Cloud can span across marketing channels and run complex automations to facilitate any ongoing business communication requirement.


Pardot and Marketing Cloud Stage Funnel

Determining a Marketing Strategy

One of the first questions to ask is what is the overall marketing strategy?  A lot of this will depend on the school, unit, and goals that have been established as part of the strategic plan or vision.  For example, an admissions department with a shortage in qualified grad school applicants may be very focused on inbound marketing to drive the best candidates, whereas the undergraduate admissions team may be flooded with applicants and are simply trying to facilitate the admissions process.  This could be two units within a single enrollment management organization or two completely separate units within a single school.  Both have different inbound and outbound marketing goals.

Student life, advisors, and faculty/staff typically don’t need inbound marketing, and advancement may shy away from inbound marketing as well, but a 17% alumni participation rate versus an 80% alumni participation rate can shift the strategy completely.  At what point have long lost alumni gone completely cold?  How well are recent grads participating? All questions that can shift the focus toward an inbound strategy vs an outbound one.

Given the higher education landscape and the constant need to do more with less, it’s typical that a single marketing and communications group may be facilitating all the needs across the units.  For example, the central marketing group may be responsible for generating leads for admissions while at the same time, managing the many other communications needs at the university.  This is where it makes sense to explore both solutions.

Drivers for Pardot

Pardot’s greatest strength is lead conversion.  Pardot drives anonymous visitors to identify and become part of the funnel and nurtures them to fruition.  It tracks content, campaign performance, metrics, and ROI easily.  If the term inbound marketing, lead generation, scoring, or demand generation come up, Pardot should be part of the conversation.

For units that already have a captive and engaged audience, such as student life, human resources, or advising, Pardot is not typically considered.

Many units across campus that are focused on obtaining new leads can best leverage Pardot’s ability to quickly automate actions based on any activity.  For example, in continuing studies or continuing education where program interest may shift quickly, Pardot will be quick to discover this and grade and score the leads product interest accordingly. This can drive a host of new interactions, be it through Pardot or the Marketing Cloud.

Basically, whenever that granular, actionable, real-time insight is needed on an individual, Pardot is incredibly helpful.  In addition to shepherding leads through the funnel, Pardot can provide continued insight into customer behavior allowing organizations to be good stewards, perhaps in advancement with alumni or institutional research with corporate sponsors.

pardot_activity_trackingPardot Activity Tracking

Drivers for Marketing Cloud

Marketing Cloud is a true digital marketing platform.  I can’t think of a single unit on campus that wouldn’t benefit from having the Marketing Cloud.  The scalable, robust, omni-channel capabilities along with an extendable list of add-on applications put Marketing Cloud front and center for marketing and communication teams.

Earlier I mentioned student life or advising.  Where business process automation around any event or activity is a concern, Marketing Cloud excels at repeatable, scalable communications.  The robust content building tools are very strong and lifecycle communications across any channel, such as web, mobile SMS, mobile push, social advertising, and geofencing can make a big difference in communication plans. Marketing cloud is also extensible in terms of building out custom actions for driving unique API calls out to other systems as part of customer Journeys

Drivers for both Pardot and Marketing Cloud

Questions & Answers

(click on question to see answer)

Q: Is using both Pardot and Marketing Cloud costly to maintain and configure?
A: I’ve seen units on campus configure both in an an afternoon, and Salesforce.org provides a substantial discount to non-profit customers. Consulting partners also offer starter packs helping users get started quickly. I recommend looking at the big picture and determine if a phased approach makes the most sense.
Q: Would it be simpler to have one product handle all my inbound and outbound marketing needs?
A: With over 5,000 marketing solutions out there, complementing the “marketing stack” is no easy task. Institutions prefer a best of breed approach and don’t like being confined to a box. Salesforce complements inbound, outbound, and social marketing well with an integrated solution in the cloud. Social marketers, communications teams, and business development can all realize the value in the complete solution.
Q: Is Pardot for B2B and Marketing Cloud for B2C?
A: Not really. The B2B mantra centers around longer, drawn out sales cycles, not far from what we see in higher ed. Some programs have cycles that last many years. While B2C originates toward impulse buys such as retail, or perhaps continuing ed. The entire cycle can be covered in either Pardot and Marketing Cloud, and shouldn’t be delineated as such.
Q: Is there a lot of overlap in Pardot and Marketing Cloud? I mean, they both send e-mails and build forms, right?
A: Not necessarily, it is how they do these things that make them different. The dynamic and progressive profiling in Pardot is perfect for bringing in new leads. The scripting capability in marketing cloud allows incredible power for pulling content from outside sources and leveraging multiple channels.
Q: How does CRM play into Pardot and Marketing Cloud? Should I be thinking about CRM?
A: The broader your marketing efforts go, the more CRM becomes more important. Sure you can work leads out of Pardot or blast e-mails out of Marketing Cloud without a CRM, but why? Salesforce CRM creates a 360 degree view of the constituent to help with decision making and drive better marketing decisions with both your on-line and off-line campaigns.
Q: My users have a lot of systems to deal with, how is this solution simple for them?
A: There is a lot of flexibility here. For example, recruiting teams in admissions can use Pardot and central marketing can use the Marketing Cloud. For units that have combined marketing teams, Pardot can do the intelligence gathering and Marketing Cloud can send all the communications. It simply depends on how broad or narrow the organization is setup.

End users can accomplish most marketing tasks right in the Salesforce CRM, such as sending to a campaign, a list of contacts, or a report, eliminating the need to interact with the marketing solutions directly.

* The views expressed on this site are of the original authors or contributors and do not reflect those of Salesforce.org, its affiliates, or its clients.

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    Brent Wege

    A lot of customers will ask, “When should I use Pardot, and when should I use the Marketing Cloud?” It’s a great question, because while either can be used independently, combining both Pardot and Marketing Cloud creates a very strong…
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