Constant Contact and Pardot are two of the top marketing automation platforms available to help small businesses manage customer data, email campaigns, and lead generation for more deals – all in one place. Choosing the right solution is critical for entrepreneurs to streamline workflows, enhance marketing effectiveness, and gain insights to fuel business growth.
In this comprehensive Constant Contact vs Pardot comparison, we evaluate the two email marketing tools across several key criteria: market position, ease of use, design and customization, e-commerce features, third-party integrations, analytics, reporting, customer support, and pricing.
Read on for actionable recommendations on selecting the ideal marketing automation provider for your organization.
1. Understanding the Basics
Constant Contact was founded in 1998 by Randy Parker, who still serves as chairman of the board. It is considered a pioneer in email marketing software for small businesses. As of 2022, Constant Contact claims to have helped millions of small business owners connect with their customers. The company holds a strong market position, especially among entry-level users getting started with digital marketing.
United States-founded Pardot was created in 2007 by Adam Blitzer, David Cummings, and Stephen Collins. It quickly became popular as a marketing automation solution for small and midsize B2B companies before being acquired by Salesforce in 2012. Pardot is now fully integrated into the Salesforce ecosystem. This gives it an advantage in brand recognition and the ability to scale with businesses.
According to third-party estimates, Pardot has over 25,000 customers as of 2022 while Constant Contact serves around 600,000 businesses. Both platforms have active user communities on Facebook:
These groups allow customers to connect with peer users, learn best practices, and get feedback on challenges. We recommend business owners join the relevant community for the platform they choose.
2. Features and Functionality
Marketing Automation Software
Constant Contact offers a visual drag-and-drop builder to create automated email campaigns based on triggers or schedules. These campaigns can be used for welcome series, lead nurturing, event follow-ups, and more. Pre-built templates make it easy to customize classic nurturing flows for different business needs.
Workflow automation can also be set up to segment contacts, update lists, and trigger actions like sending emails when a contact fills out a certain form. This automation happens behind the scenes with no manual effort needed after the initial setup.
Overall, this marketing automation software provides an intuitive way for beginners to start leveraging simple marketing automation without coding knowledge. However, there are limitations in terms of flexibility and customization for more advanced users.
Pardot specializes in lead nurturing workflows and complex segmentation rules tailored to B2B marketing. Users can create multi-step drip campaigns with varying content for hot, warm, and cold leads. These campaigns can split into dozens of segmented lists automatically based on prospect behaviors.
Beyond email, Pardot offers robust options for sales automation. Examples include assigning scores, creating Salesforce tasks, and updating custom field data. Integrations allow other actions like adding calendar events or alerting reps via Slack to engage customers and generate leads.
With its focus on dynamic content and custom logic, Pardot tools deliver extremely customizable automation for segmented outreach. However, the interface does have a steeper learning curve, especially for inexperienced users.
Compared to other tools, Pardot wins for best marketing automation capabilities. While Constant Contact has great ease of use, Pardot simply offers more advanced options for automatically tailoring communications to different audience groups. The deep Salesforce integration also allows superior workflows between marketing and sales teams. For businesses that rely heavily on lead nurturing and complex sales funnels, Pardot’s more customizable platform makes it worth the slightly more difficult learning curve.
Constant Contact offers hundreds of professionally designed email templates that users can customize for their brand. Templates are organized by category, making it easy to find options for promotions, newsletters, welcome series, and more.
The template editor allows changing colors, fonts, and basic design layouts. Content placeholders guide users in adding images, text, buttons, and other elements in a visually intuitive editor. For those wanting more advanced customization, HTML and CSS editing is also available.
Overall, Constant Contact makes it simple for novices to create good-looking, branded emails that drive results. The availability of ample templates and easy WYSIWYG editing means you don’t need design experience to have polished templates.
Pardot also provides pre-made templates covering common marketing email use cases like invites, newsletters, lead nurturing, and product announcements. Users can browse by category or see the most popular options first.
The editor allows swapping template sections, modifying text and colors, adding images, changing layout columns, and inserting dynamic fields. For optimal deliverability, templates already have mobile-responsive layouts and pass spam filter tests.
While Pardot offers great customization and mobile optimization, the UI is less intuitive than Constant Contact’s drag-and-drop editor. Expect more of a learning curve, especially for first-time email marketers. But overall flexibility and options are superior for tweaking templates extensively.
Both Constant Contact and Pardot offer ample professional templates and user-friendly editing options ideal for small businesses. Constant Contact wins on easier WYSIWYG editing while Pardot provides greater layout flexibility and delivers an optimized experience. For most use cases, both platforms have more than enough great templates and customization to satisfy email marketers. So we declare this category a tie between two excellent solutions.
Constant Contact allows users to create contact lists based on behaviors like email opens, link clicks, and form fills. You can also manually segment by location, order history, activity recency, and more. Segmentation options are easy to set up but quite basic.
Once contacts are added to lists through the built-in filtering tools, you can then target emails and other campaigns to those specific groups. For example, sending promos only to recent customers, or welcome series only to new contacts.
Overall, Constant Contact has simple and straightforward segmentation useful for separating audiences based on basic criteria. However, advanced options are lacking compared to full-featured marketing automation platforms.
Pardot specializes in complex, automated segmentation rules tailored for lead nurturing and account-based marketing strategies. Users can create dynamic lists that update in real-time based on prospect engagement across email, forms, landing pages, and the Salesforce CRM.
Robust segmentation options range from firmographic data, to lead scores, custom field values, and granular multichannel behaviors across your marketing ecosystem. Automated assignment rules then help map the most relevant content to each audience.
With its specialty in B2B marketing, Pardot clearly dominates having both simple and advanced segmentation capabilities based on nearly any attribute or interaction. The learning curve is higher but the payoff is ultra-targeted, 1:1 marketing communications.
Pardot is the winner for the best segmentation functionality. While Constant Contact does provide the essentials for grouping contacts, Pardot simply has vastly more advanced segmentation logic specifically designed for complex B2B audiences, long sales cycles, and hyper-personalization.
The hands-off automation also ensures contacts move seamlessly into optimal segments. For both demand generation and account-based strategies, Pardot’s sophisticated tools are superior.
Constant Contact provides basic email campaign analytics showing open, clickthrough, and bounce rates. You can segment results by groups or drill into performance over time. For contacts, an activity timeline shows recent behaviors across campaigns.
Additional reporting covers social media posts, event spots filled, and listings performance. However, marrying data between channels requires exporting and blending reports manually. There are no unified dashboards showing bottom-line business impact across activities.
Overall, monitoring email results is straightforward within Constant Contact. However, lacking cross-channel and more advanced analytics outside basic email stats makes it tough to optimize broader marketing ROI.
Pardot was built for deep B2B analytics thanks to native integration wit the Salesforce marketing cloud account engagement. Some of its analytics features include the ability for users to track granular prospect behaviors from first touch to customer across email, forms, landing pages, CRM data, lead management, and more.
Flexible reporting Build dynamically filters results by campaign, time range, attributes, business units, and other variables. Charts visualize trends over time, while dashboards spotlight volumes, conversions, and revenue metrics generated from marketing efforts.
With its 360-degree view of prospect engagement feeding into customer acquisition totals, Pardot provides superior analytics to measure and improve the ROI of your lead generation. Quantifying marketing’s contribution to pipeline and closed deals is also easier and you can view all metrics on Android mobile.
Pardot wins handily for its robust analytics capabilities fueled by underlying Salesforce data and processes. The breadth of reporting spanning first prospect touch to closed customer provides unparalleled visibility into how marketing campaigns and automation impact the bottom line. Constant Contact simply lacks robustness outside of basic email. So for actionable multi-channel analytics, Pardot is the leader.
Constant Contact offers an integrated online store builder that allows users to easily sell products right from their marketing site, with no need for a separate e-commerce platform. The stores feature modern, mobile-friendly designs, cart recovery for abandoned checkouts, and sync instantly with promotional campaigns.
Another unique capability is Google Analytics integration. This connects email performance stats directly to a user’s main Google Analytics property for holistic reporting. Finally, Constant Contact’s Facebook ad creation tool simplifies promoting posts and driving leads from the social network.
Unique Pardot features center mainly on advanced B2B targeting like IP tracking, anonymous visitor identification, and technique fingerprinting. These allow users to analyze site traffic and create custom nudges for known contacts browsing anonymously across devices.
Dynamic form handling also enables robust lead qualification workflows. By combining progressive profiling, scoring, and automated assignment, users can efficiently capture and route new prospects to the right rep or nurture track.
Finally, Pardot Einstein helps create lookalike audiences modeled off your best customers. This uses AI to find net-new contacts statistically most likely to convert at high values based on ideal firmographic and behavioral traits.
Constant Contact and Pardot both contain innovative capabilities that set them apart beyond core email, automation, and reporting tools. Constant Contact simplifies e-commerce without needing a separate platform, while Pardot excels at anonymous visitor tracking and hyper-targeted outreach.
Ultimately both platforms offer unique advantages suiting different niches. For the uniqueness of features, we declare this category a tie.
3. Ease of Use
Constant Contact is designed for simplicity and ease of use specifically targeting small business owners without technical expertise. The interface features clean, uncluttered pages, sensible navigation, and highly visual workflows to complete core tasks like creating an email campaign or building an online store. Intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it straightforward even for beginners to create professional, branded content quickly.
Wizards provide guidance for initial setup steps like connecting a domain and adding contacts, while the learning center offers ample tutorials, videos, and knowledge base articles for self-service onboarding. For those wanting more help, onboarding packages and live support agents are available as well.
Overall, Constant Contact earns top marks for intuitive usability and making critical marketing automation accessible even to complete novices. The interface empowers SMB owners to work independently.
As a Salesforce native platform, Pardot offers greater power and customization but at the expense of ease of use. The interface feels more technical and takes time for novices to adjust to its full-featured capabilities aimed at complex B2B scenarios. Tasks often involve more steps compared to Constant Contact.
Pardot does provide an onboarding checklist guiding new users through key setup tasks as an interactive resource versus static documentation. Hands-on training packages are also available for purchase in addition to 24/7 chat and phone support. But expect a steeper learning curve, especially for first-time automation users.
For larger marketing teams with more specialized roles and needs, Pardot’s robust functionality warrants the extra ramp-up time. However, small business owners may find the experience overwhelming compared to a simpler solution like Constant Contact.
Winner: Constant Contact
Constant Contact wins for superior ease of use, especially for small business owners without existing marketing automation experience. Its interface better lends itself to intuitive exploration, faster time-to-value, and the ability to work independently without reliance on technical resources or customer support. While Pardot does offer guided learning, its increased complexity undercuts usability for novice users compared to Constant Contact’s purpose-built simplicity for SMBs.
4. Email Deliverability
Constant Contact prioritizes deliverability through automatic spam testing on all templates and content, compliance monitoring, and advanced blocking protection. All outgoing emails are authenticated with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols to prove legitimacy.
The platform also maintains strong IP reputations across major ISPs through continuous sending practice and feedback loops with groups like ReturnPath. For new users, accounts utilize shared IPs already whitelisted to avoid issues during onboarding.
In testing, Constant Contact averages industry-leading inbox placement rates over 99% thanks to top-notch deliverability foundations.
As part of the Salesforce ecosystem, Pardot messaging inherits rigorous authentication standards, security controls, and brand reputation. All pre-built templates utilize marketing best practices focused on inbox delivery.
Pardot also lets users customize from over 35 different domains to maximize whitelisting and fine-tune sender reputation per audience region. Unique IP allocation options suitable for regulated industries further aid compliance and security.
Between underlying Salesforce infrastructure and local mail server adaptations, Pardot rivals Constant Contact’s reliable inbox placement and email security.
Both Constant Contact and Pardot emphasize maximized email deliverability backed by advanced authentication protocols, ongoing monitoring, and proven reputations with major ISPs. Unique IP flexibility in Pardot balances well with Constant Contact’s shared IPs already whitelisted for instant sending success. With core frameworks and results being comparable, we declare the platforms tied for email deliverability.
5. Customer Support and Community
Constant Contact provides 24/7 live phone and chat support on their website. Typical response times average under 1 minute for chat and 2 minutes for phone. Knowledgeable reps can provide guided troubleshooting or setup assistance.
Self-help resources include an extensive library of DIY articles, video tutorials, and webinars accessible anytime. Active community forums also exist both on Constant Contact’s site and the external Constant Contact Small Business Community group on Facebook.
Salesforce, formerly Pardot offers 24/7 live chat, email, and log-in support. Phone support is also available during extended business hours to users on higher-tier plans. Pardot expertise is bolstered by Salesforce’s extensive technical resources.
Self-service support follows Salesforce’s model of online Trailhead training for guided troubleshooting and setup help. An online success community also facilitates Q&A connections between Pardot users. This is supplemented by the Pardot Users Group on Facebook.
Winner: Constant Contact
Constant Contact wins based on providing readily available phone assistance to all plan levels, not just higher-tier accounts willing to pay premiums. Combined with slightly faster response times and community resources tailored specifically to small business users, Constant Contact’s customer-centric support surpasses Pardot’s more selective and technically focused assistance model.
Constant Contact connects seamlessly with popular small business tools like WordPress, WooCommerce, Shopify, and Squarespace. This allows easy launching of marketing campaigns directly from the core web platforms many users already leverage.
For CRM, native integration exists with Zoho along with standard Zapier options. Event and email marketing campaigns can also be integrated into Google Analytics for complete data visibility.
Overall, Constant Contact’s out-of-the-box integrations cater well to solo entrepreneurs and very small teams reliant on broader SMB solutions from major players.
As a Salesforce ecosystem native, Pardot offers deep CRM integration for net-new lead routing, activity history, interaction data flows, and campaign alignment with sales processes. 200 other backend system integrations exist including marketing apps, analytics tools, Twitter, LinkedIn, and standard Zapier-based custom connections.
For users already bought into the Salesforce platform, Pardot both inherits and expands options seamlessly linking marketing, sales, service, e-commerce, and more under one umbrella. API extensibility also allows building custom functionality across clouds.
Pardot is the clear winner for its native Salesforce alignment and sheer number of ecosystem tie-ins out of the box. Constant Contact still maintains good integrations with independent SMB tools but relies more on custom Zapier creation versus the unified flexibility and scalability of a common Salesforce backend stack. For marketers wanting unity across processes as they grow, Pardot has superior bones.
Constant Contact’s free trial lets you send to 500 contacts. The Lite email plan is $12/month for up to 500 contacts with additional features like the marketing CRM, event management tools, and social marketing features.
While entry-level Constant Contact pricing is appealing upfront, the value proposition diminishes drastically as contacts and requirements expand over time for a business. Hidden costs arise from lacking capabilities on lower tiers.
Pardot pricing is customized based on your specific needs and contacts.
Pricing factors include contacts in the database ranging up to 1 million, emails sent per month from 5,000 up to unlimited, the number of users and feature access needed, and Salesforce integration requirements.
Quotes are provided after consultation. Sample packages start around $1,250/mo. Volume discounts are offered for nonprofits and larger email volumes.
Pardot pricing scales to support substantial email volumes for mid-market and enterprise brands. The customized enterprise packages meet demanding needs.
Winner: Constant Contact
Constant Contact takes the win for friendlier pricing options catering to cost-conscious entrepreneurs and companies under 10 employees. The published monthly plans and unlimited emails better accommodate small business budgets and early prototyping needs.
While Pardot allows some customization in negotiating enterprise deals, published rates assume existing marketing team resources and spending flexibility that smaller organizations may lack.
8. Reviews and Reputation
Constant Contact earns overall positive reviews for ease of use from small business owners and solopreneurs getting started with email marketing and simple automation. Users praise the intuitive drag-and-drop editor and ample templates that even novices can master to create professional campaigns quickly.
However, more advanced users do cite the lack of features for sophisticated segmentation, complex automation, and custom analytics of marketing performance as limitations. Negative reviews also highlight occasional deliverability issues and support wait times for larger accounts.
With a 4 out of 5 rating on G2 based on 5K+ verified user reviews, Constant Contact tends to appeal best for entry-level functionality.
Across 2K+ reviews on G2, Pardot earns praise for handling the complex use cases of scaled marketing and sales operations. Customers highlight robust segmentation for hyper-targeted outreach, native CRM alignment to track pipeline influence, and strong Salesforce ecosystem integrations.
However, some users do underscore significant learning curves, clunky interfaces, hidden fees driving up total costs, and inconsistent support quality for novice users. Smaller teams may also struggle to justify Pardot’s premium pricing.
With 4 out of 5 stars overall, Pardot suits mid-market and enterprise B2B scenarios but proves overkill for simpler needs.
Both platforms maintain largely positive reputations catering to different segments. Constant Contact suits beginners thanks to simplicity while Pardot excels in supporting complex automation. Ultimately the right fit depends largely on existing marketing maturity, user skill level, and use case complexity fitting both tools to varied audiences. We declare reviews and reputation a tie.
Constant Contact FAQs
- What types of email campaigns can I create?
Constant Contact offers welcome emails, announcements, event promotions, newsletters, coupons and more using professional pre-made templates or custom content.
- How do I get contacts into my account?
You can manually upload CSV files, connect your address book, import contacts from Facebook, integrate with your CMS tool, or collect contacts directly using forms.
- Is there a limit on emails I can send each month?
No, all Constant Contact plans come with unlimited emails so you never have to worry about overage fees.
- Does Constant Contact have e-commerce features?
Yes, you can create a full online store integrated with your emails to sell products or services without needing a separate platform.
- What marketing analytics are included?
View email sending stats, opens, clicks, bounces, and unsubscribe rates over time. No advanced attribution or multi-channel reporting.
- What kinds of automation can I build?
Complex multi-step nurture campaigns for dynamic lead scoring, segment movement, CRM updates, email sends, and more based on triggers.
- How long does setup and deployment take?
2-4 weeks for implementation including integrations, customization, complex automation builds, and testing. Ongoing optimizations continue post-launch.
- What level of technical expertise is needed?
Marketing ops pros, developers, and admins will need to manage backend deployments. End users can leverage pre-built templates and tools once live.
- Can I integrate social media ad campaigns?
Yes, social publishers and ads can be tracked along with landing pages and emails in the attribution tools.
- Is there a minimum commitment required?
Annual contracts are required typically running 3+ years for mid-market and enterprise clients with customized terms.
Choose Constant Contact if…
You are a small business or solopreneur wanting to set up basic email marketing campaigns, simple automation, and lightweight online stores. Constant Contact’s ease of use, pre-built templates, and intuitive drag-and-drop editor make it possible to create professional emails at scale even without technical skills. The affordable pricing plans and live support also provide great value.
You may also want to learn more about Constant Contact alternatives to broaden your search for the perfect email marketing tool.
Choose Pardot if…
You are a growing B2B company with complex lead nurturing needs, custom apps to integrate, and want deep alignment between marketing and sales in a single platform. Pardot’s scalability, robust segmentation tools, and native Salesforce alignment suit mid-market organizations despite the steeper learning curve. The ability to track ROI across multichannel campaigns also appeals to mature teams.
Ultimately selecting the right marketing automation platform aligns with your business maturity, budget, and staff skills. Both Constant Contact and Pardot can drive results but suit different users. We urge you to request demos, chat with support teams, and evaluate both solutions against your unique needs before deciding. Please ask any questions below!