Pardot vs. Eloqua: which marketing automation software is best in 2020?

salesforce pardot vs eloqua

One of the most important trends in tech right now - and the driving force behind the so-called fourth industrial revolution - is automation. Within this field, marketing is one of the core business functions that can benefit greatly from automation platforms such as Pardot and Eloqua.

Marketing automation is also one of the fastest-growing software-as-a-service (SaaS) sectors, with its global value expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2024. Over half of companies already use it, and many more are planning to integrate marketing automation into their existing processes in the coming years.

Introducing Eloqua and Pardot

Oracle Eloqua and Salesforce Pardot are two of the biggest players in the marketing automation sector, with market shares of 14.63 and 4.48% respectively. Both are part of wider SaaS ecosystems focusing on B2B relationships, and combine advanced features and functions like lead management, social media marketing, email marketing and business intelligence.

While both Pardot and Eloqua may be broadly defined as marketing automation platforms, they each offer a unique set of features designed to meet specific business needs.

Last year, Eloqua was ranked a leader in the field of lead management by the Gartner Magic Quadrant. It’s part of the wider Oracle Marketing Cloud ecosystem, which is one of the most popular marketing platforms in the world, especially for enterprises in need of complex and flexible solutions.

Pardot, by comparison, is deeply integrated with the industry-leading Salesforce ecosystem, which is most known for its customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Both are highly competent tools, helping marketing departments align and automate their campaigns across multiple channels and touchpoints.

Read on for our in-depth comparison of Eloqua vs. Pardot to help you choose the best automation software for your business.

When to choose Pardot

Salesforce Pardot is one of the most feature-rich and powerful marketing automation solutions available. If this is what you're looking for, fantastic - but, just like Eloqua, it will usually be too complex for smaller organizations.

Pardot is primarily geared towards the needs of B2B organizations. In the Salesforce ecosystem, Marketing Cloud is traditionally the best choice for B2C automation and Pardot is the go-to for B2B. However, Pardot offers unprecedented flexibility, albeit at a high price.

Customer support is limited, especially at lower tiers, so you’ll either need to have the necessary expertise in-house or choose a dependable Salesforce partner who can support the deployment and ongoing maintenance of your software.

But if costs and functionality are your top priorities, then Pardot is a great choice for marketing automation.

choosing pardot

When to choose Eloqua

Oracle Eloqua is tailored to the needs of large enterprises looking for a powerful marketing automation solution that supports the rollout of personalized microsites and landing pages.

Like Pardot, Eloqua is primarily targeted towards the B2B market, but there are some cases where it can work for B2C too. Also like Pardot, Eloqua isn't a simple automation tool that you can get started with in five minutes (we recommend HubSpot or ActiveCampaign if that's what you're looking for).

Complexity and flexibility are two of the main reasons why large organizations choose tools like Eloqua, and the starting costs reflect this.

The most important benefit of Eloqua is that it offers a far wider range of customer support options, although this does come at a higher price.

If you want the extra peace of mind, high-level customer support and you want to ease the burden on in-house IT, Eloqua tends to be a better choice than Pardot.

comparing eloqua

Feature comparison

To help you to understand the difference between Pardot vs. Eloqua, here’s a bird’s eye view of what each marketing automation platform has to offer.  

Setup and ease of use

Deploying enterprise-level marketing automation software can be a major undertaking, and so one of your most important considerations is whether you have the in-house expertise to deploy and maintain your new software.

Fortunately, both platforms are cloud-based, which means they’re operated and maintained by their vendors. But you’ll still need to consider integrations and initial setup processes, and your employees will require some additional training, particularly if they’re migrating from a very different system.

While you can typically start using either option within a few weeks of purchasing a license, it can take several months to fully integrate them with your workflows. Eloqua often takes longer to deploy, but with both options, hiring a consultancy firm can get you up and running far quicker.

If you’re already using other Salesforce tools, then onboarding employees with Pardot should be fairly straightforward.

pardot contact management  

Similarly, if your organization already uses some of Oracle’s other products, a lot of features and characteristics of Eloqua will seem familiar.

eloqua lead scoring  

Both platforms are highly complex automation tools, designed to meet a wide variety of needs and automate many routine processes. It’s not likely you’ll ever need to familiarize yourself with all of these features and functions, but both vendors do provide extensive training materials, certifications and active peer-to-peer support communities.  

Automation features

Before you start comparing marketing automation software, you’ll need to review your current situation in-depth to determine your requirements. This assessment should address the weak points in your marketing processes, as well as identifying workflows that are taking too long or are unnecessarily complex.

In terms of functionality, the key areas addressed by Pardot and Eloqua are social media marketing, email marketing, landing pages and lead management.

Pardot provides 36 pre-built template designs and a WYSIWIG email editor. Email content can also be configured dynamically when combined with its powerful lead management and list segmentation features.

Pardot Engagement Studio  

Eloqua provides a similar range of functions, with the added benefit of using the same interface for building landing pages. One unique function of Eloqua is its Hypersites feature, which enables teams to roll out multiple personalized landing pages without needing any involvement from IT.

eloqua marketing automation workflows  

For social media marketing, Pardot allows you to post on several social channels and includes built-in tracking for things like retweets, likes and comments. With the Enterprise or Ultimate edition, you can also scan for prospects on all the major social media channels. Eloqua also lets you manage and track social activities to identify new opportunities.  

Reporting and analytics

Closed-loop reporting is one of the most important functions of marketing automation software, since it lets users see how their efforts are paying off and identify opportunities to boost their campaigns.

Both Pardot and Eloqua provide full overviews of how prospects move through the sales funnel by tracking activities across a multitude of touchpoints. The data collected helps you determine who your most engaged buyers are, how they learned about your brand, and how they responded to a particular marketing campaign.

Both tools also provide A/B testing to help you continually improve the effectiveness of your campaigns based on data-driven insights.

Until recently, Pardot relied on the third-party resource GoodData for reporting and analytics. However, this is now provided by the Salesforce Reporting tool, although integrations exist for several other major analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics.

Pardot now provides built-in ROI and customer lifecycle reporting in a convenient format with customizable charts and graphs.

pardot lifecycle funnel report  

Eloqua achieves this with its Profiler tool, which provides a thorough look into activities and behaviors. Eloqua also includes web-analytics and ROI tracking.  

Collaboration and integration

The ability to connect your tools in a single, cohesive environment is critical to ensure a successful digital transformation and eliminate information silos.

As part of larger software ecosystems, both Oracle and Salesforce provide the complete range of tools most sales and marketing teams need. However, it’s also important that your software plays nicely with your wider tech stack.

Both Pardot and Eloqua feature an API that developers can use to integrate various third-party software. Each tool also offers a wide range of CRM integrations out of the box, although overall Pardot provides many more native integrations than Eloqua. To fill any gaps, both Eloqua and Pardot connect with PieSync to enable two-way syncs between your tools with instant data updates.

Companies already using Salesforce CRM can easily choose either Pardot or Eloqua, although Pardot is likely to give the most seamless experience as it's part of the same software family.

Pricing and scalability

Pardot is more transparent about its pricing, whereas Eloqua does not publish specific pricing information. Both options have three product tiers, each of which is delivered with pricing plans (charged annually), with the total costs based mainly on the number of users.

Pardot’s entry-level package costs $1,250 per month, while its Plus and Advanced packages cost $2,500 and $4,000 per month respectively. Pricing plans include up to 10,000 contacts. The starting user count is one, with each extra user costing $50 per month. To add more contacts, you’ll need to obtain a customized quote.

pardot pricing comparison  

Eloqua’s pricing depends on final cost negotiations with Oracle, so you’ll need to contact the vendor for an accurate quote. However, from publicly available pricing information, rates start at $2,000 per month for the Basic package - however, the starting number of users is 10. In addition, Eloqua doesn’t offer any free demo or refund policy, unlike Pardot.

Comparing customer support

Pardot customers have access to a select team of client advocates for strategy sessions, exclusive office hours, and information on new features. Ongoing technical support is provided either by email or in-app chat, and users will also have unlimited access to the knowledge base and online customer hub. Their support teams have offices in the US, Ireland, UK, Australia and Japan.

Eloqua provides a more exclusive customer support experience in line with its tailored pricing and deployment plans. Every client has access to 24/7 phone and email support, and ongoing monitoring ensures a quick response time to critical issues.

There’s also an option to enroll in the Oracle Cloud Priority Service, which provides access to a dedicated account manager. At the same time, Eloqua users have unlimited access to peer-to-peer support.

Summary: When to choose Eloqua vs. Pardot

Here’s our quick summary of how to decide if Pardot vs. Eloqua is the best marketing automation software for your business:

When to choose EloquaWhen to choose Pardot
You need a powerful marketing automation tool that supports the rollout of microsites and landing pagesYou want a feature-rich marketing automation solution that integrates perfectly with Salesforce
You want a wider range of customer support options and to ease the burden on in-house IT, even if at a costYou have the necessary expertise in-house or a Salesforce implementation partner
You can budget $2,000 per month for the Basic package, which includes up to 10 usersYou can budget $1,250 per month for the entry-level package, with $50 for each extra user per month

Whether you choose Eloqua or Pardot as your marketing automation software, make sure to keep it in sync with the rest of your tech stack to avoid messy contact management.

With PieSync, it's simple to set up two-way syncs that keep your contacts freely moving between apps. You can get started now with a free trial.

About Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle writes for PieSync, the two-way contact sync tool for hundreds of apps. She also works with her clients to make their brand matter with a content-rich marketing strategy.