Salesforce.com Pardot Review—A Deep Dive Comparative Assessment
By Chuck Schaeffer
Pardot is a software publisher of business-to-business (B2B) lead management and marketing automation software products designed for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). The company's flagship product, Prospect Insight, performs lead acquisition, lead scoring, lead nurturing, lead segmentation and performance reporting.
The company was founded in 2006, and has maintained a focused target market and consistent messaging that resonates well with risk-averse marketers—and permitted Pardot to become one of the highest growth marketing automation providers in the marketing automation software industry.
In October 2012, Pardot was acquired by ExactTarget for $95.5M. It was a hefty price for a small marketing software company, but speaks to the continued upside of this growing market. IDC predicts the marketing automation market will grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $4.8 billion in 2015, and Forrester Research estimates that taken together, lead origination and lead nurturing account for 21% of the overall B2B marketing budget — the largest component of marketing spend.
Key to Pardot messaging is a self-proclaimed "No-Hassle Marketing Automation" pledge. SMBs are normally acquiring marketing automation for the first time. Implementing the combination of new and improved sales and marketing processes, new volumes of content and collateral required for nurture campaigns, and new marketing automation software technology brings inherent risk—which can result in far more damage to a small and midsize business (and the career of its internal champion) than a larger enterprise which can more easily absorb mistakes along the way.
To mitigate this risk for its customer target market, Pardot's pledge speaks directly to the objectives and concerns of the SMB risk averse buyer, and more so, is backed up with minimal contract requirements, complimentary setup, an accelerated implementation and time to value capability, and a relatively low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Despite the company's smaller size and brand recognition, Pardot continues to achieve very impressive growth (fueled from hundreds of new customer acquisitions each quarter) and in fact, the company has doubled its revenue growth annually for the prior two years, expanded internationally with joint ventures Pardot Europe and Pardot Nordic, and achieved a solid reputation in a burgeoning industry that still jockeys for market share traction and knows few leaders. Now as part of ExactTarget, the Pardot solution aspires to become part of a broader solution that accommodates both B2B and B2C markets and penetrates a global market.
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