Whether you work in B2C, B2B, or B2B2C, marketing is marketing, right? Yes and no. While the different types of businesses can share somewhat similar marketing objectives, there are important distinctions-especially when it comes to choosing a marketing automation platform.

At Salesforce, we're often asked: Which solution is right for me...Marketing Cloud, Pardot or both? While the answer is sometimes Marketing Cloud for B2C, Pardot for B2B, and perhaps a combination of the two for B2B2C, it really depends on the needs of the organization.

Let's consider three scenarios with a few real-world examples to illustrate.

1. Marketing Need: Drive Customer Cross-channel Engagement at Scale

Businesses that need to engage in 1-to-1 communications at scale-such as e-commerce businesses, retailers, restaurants, media companies, and financial services firms-often choose Marketing Cloud. Why?

Marketing Cloud is the industry's premier platform for delivering relevant, personalized journeys. It's used by companies of all sizes, and is the solution behind tens of billions of messages sent each year. It enables marketers to define and execute customer journeys at scale using whatever channels are best suited to the task. This can include email, mobile SMS, MMS, and group messaging, web personalization, digital advertising and social.

While Marketing Cloud customers include many B2B and non-profits, its ability to personalize each and every message makes it ideal for B2C organizations like Sony, GE, and News Corps Australia. For example, HauteLook, the member-only shopping website offering flash-sales and limited-time sale events featuring top brands, executes more than 200 unique campaigns a month. Each features highly personalized content-yet behind the scenes, a team of two manages the program. They rely on tools like Predictive Intelligence to collect data from website visitors, and paired with activities like member preferences and purchase history, are able to custom-tailor unique experiences across channels.

2. Marketing Need: Drive Qualified Leads and Pipe to a Sales Team

Marketers who support a sales team now own more of the lead-to-revenue cycle than ever, and are responsible for engaging with buyers throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Meanwhile, the quest for new business development, lead quality, and lead generation is never ending.

To succeed, B2B marketers require technologies that can support cohesive, personalized selling processes and deliver 1-to-1 buying experiences. For thousands of brands, the solution is Pardot.

Pardot allows marketing and sales teams to create, deploy, and manage online campaigns from one central platform. Pardot supports the needs of B2B organizations of every size, ranging from small and mid-sized businesses to divisions of large enterprises. Through tight integration with Sales Cloud, it provides a seamless experience for salespeople within the same environment they're using every day.

Among the top reasons marketers select Pardot are for email marketing, lead generation with landing pages, smart forms, and SEM and SEO analytics, lead management and nurturing, and ROI performance tracking. Kwikboost, which designs and markets mobile device charging stations, is a great example. The company relies on Pardot nurture programs to drive the productivity and effectiveness of its sales team. The nurture program delivers the right content assets throughout the lifecycle, and reps are notified as viewers engage with content. As a result, they've seen a 230% increase in successful contact with leads, and a 130% increase in revenue.

3. Marketing Need: Support a Sales Team and Engage with Consumers at Scale

So where does this leave an organization that needs to do a little (or a lot) of both? Perhaps a clothing company that has a sales team that sells to distributors and retailers but also a direct-to-consumer business. Or a financial services organization that wants to attract fund managers, but also needs to communicate with investors.

You guessed it: Sometimes businesses use both Marketing Cloud and Pardot. Companies like Apartments.com.

Apartments.com needs to engage with both those seeking housing, as well as those who provide it. With Marketing Cloud, they're able to reach prospective renters through channels like email and mobile SMS. For example, if a property a renter has show previous interest in becomes available, they can receive instant alerts. Meanwhile, Pardot enables Apartment.com's sales team to manage and nurture leads from the property managers who supply the company's inventory.

Marketing Cloud, Pardot, or Both?

Which solution is right for you? The answer really depends on what you want to achieve and who you need to reach or support. It could be Marketing Cloud, it could be Pardot, or in some cases, it may be both. Interested in learning more? Check out these trends in digital marketing for insights to guide your strategy.