Top 5 Features: ELOQUA VS PARDOT

David Huml

Not that long ago I wrote an article comparing two big automation platforms: Oracle Eloqua vs. Adobe Marketo Engage. I was inspired by the scenario of switching from one platform to another. At first, you might miss a few beloved features close to your heart. But sooner or later, you end up finding another set of features that reignite your passion, or that at least feel pretty da** cool.

I thought it would be fun to revisit this concept and show you five of my favourite features (and that I have practical experience with) for two different platforms. But this time, it’s a battle between Oracle’s protege and one of Salesforce’s disciples: Eloqua and Pardot go head-to-head. Let’s go.


  1. Reporting
  2. Subscription System
  3. Contact Washing Machine
  4. Sales Tools
  5. Custom Objects


  1. Quick Actions (listed prospects, assets, users)
  2. Salesforce Connector
  3. Form Editor
  4. Completion Actions
  5. Prospect View



Somehow, I missed mentioning such a crucial module in my first post, and I feel a bit guilty. But reporting in Eloqua in fantastic.

Granted, it may be a bit overwhelming at first sight. “Operational Reports”, “Dashboards”, “Insights.” You might ask yourself: What’s the difference? When do use what? What are the limitations?

Eloqua’s fully customizable business intelligence capabilities can feel difficult and intimidating, especially to beginners. However, once you learn the basics and get comfortable around the platform, the Eloqua world is your oyster.

You want a dashboard? You got it. You want an analysis? Here you are. You can have all that and more through one single powerful application. My only complaint would be that before you can do any advanced stuff, you’d need to get yourself an analyzer license.


Having compared multiple platforms, I’ve found that I like Eloqua’s subscription system the most.

At first it seems like there are way too many options, but once you understand the logic behind it you’ll never want to go back. Having three main layers - system level, admin level, user level - allows you, your admin(s), and other user(s) to build segments exactly as you want.

Other systems might have similar features working in very similar ways, but Eloqua takes the cake.


Eloqua has an incredibly powerful cloud application that you can simply install to your instance and use within any program canvas.

The app is amazing because you can essentially do any string operation you can think of. You can trim, apply lowercase/uppercase, and compose strings from multiple fields, not to mention that you can chain and conditionally apply all these operations. One program step and you can have an unlimited amount of these things going for you within your canvas.

And that’s still not all.

You can also use a RegEx-based action that basically lets you create any search/replace pattern you can imagine.

Here are a few of basic examples from Eloqua’s documentation for inspiration. You can also read more about maintaining your data in Eloqua (and other platforms) here


Oracle has several tools that can amplify Eloqua’s presence in your CRM. But I specifically want to mention Eloqua Engage. You can think of Eloqua Engage as a new Outlook client, but on steroids. It can help your sales teams to:

  • Send pre-composed Eloqua emails
  • Easily modify templates
  • See when emails are opened or clicked
  • Utilize field merges to personalize your messages
  • Easily add new contacts to the database (but slow down here; get your data hygiene and compliancy down first!)

And all of that still behaves like regular emails in Eloqua, so you can export “Insight” reports or push email activity to Salesforce.


Whatever you can’t do with a regular data model, you can probably extend with a custom object. It’s possible to either map them to an email address or to generate a unique key for each individual record.

You have endless possibilities.

For one thing, you can store and leverage data to enhance your segmentation pipeline. Want to store list of past orders? Sure. Want to know the owned product per customer? Yup, possible. Want to keep track of unique communication consent? You got it.

And yeah, yeah, I know, I have to mention it; it runs in an ugly, old Eloqua 9 user interface and doing a simple operation takes so many clicks. But otherwise, the feature set you have here is unbeatable. 



This is a feature that is maybe not that prominent. However, coming from someone who started with Eloqua years ago, I have to say I really love this option from Pardot.

Unified UI allows you to select multiple items listed, almost within any page in the platform. You can mass-play with your records (e.g., add/remove them to/from a list, add/remove tags). You can also easily merge duplicate records – a feature I would kill for in other platforms. What’s more, this is not limited only to prospects, but also for example users or assets.

Simple. Effective.


Let’s be honest, this is one of the main selling points of Pardot: easy and tight integration with Salesforce. There are literally four checkboxes in the connector’s settings area to configure, and then you’re all set.

Everything works right as you’d expect.

  • You can handover permissions to your Salesforce admin.
  • It’s easy to focus on mapping your fields and understanding sync triggers.
  • You don’t need to build complicated sync programs or workflows.
  • And more!

While Salesforce is the only CRM platform that Pardot supports, it does eliminate the platform from many companies’ selection processes right away. However, this is a fantastic solution for companies with strong Salesforce processes, as Pardot delegates many responsibilities to the CRM system.


When you launch a native form editor for the first time you might be surprised by how many options you have and how many non-standard features are covered (e.g., reCAPTCHA, “not you” flow, kiosk mode).

So many features come right out-of-the-box, right at your disposal. If you want to implement them in other platforms, you’ll end up having to shop around for custom solutions or add more workload for your own development team.


When you think about it, completion actions are basically just actions triggered by another action that a prospect performs on your tracked pages.

However, what I find useful (and this is coming from a primarily Eloqua user) is that you don’t need to create any specific program in Pardot before the action is attached directly to an asset.

Of course, you can attach completion actions to your forms, and they can be triggered by a form submission. But what I find particularly practical are completion actions on files (e.g., .pdf) or a defined tracked website. You can trigger so many different actions from notifying Salesforce users and increasing scoring to applying a tag and more!


To cap it off, one simple (yet notable) feature: Prospect View.

I’m a big fan of this because Pardot’s prospect view gives you an immediate overview to any given prospect’s current situation. With just a few clicks, all the references you need are at instantly and easily your disposal. While with Eloqua, you’d need to live in a multiple-browser-tab-universe.


Oracle’s Eloqua acts as a fully ‘independent’ marketing database, while Pardot perhaps relies a little too much on its big Salesforce parent. However, if you’re choosing between the two then ultimately your choice depends on how much Salesforce is integrated into your world.

If you don't use or plan on using Salesforce all, then you can cross out Pardot from your list. But if you are, then you should definitely consider using and/or switching to Pardot.

Need help selecting a marketing automation platform, integrating it with a CRM, or perhaps migrating from one system to another?

Or, you simply want to share any other features that you think I’ve missed?

Reach out! I’d be happy to have a conversation about it.  

About the Author

David Huml

Rocking in Eloqua & Marketo instances since 2012.

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