Preparing to Use Your Pardot Palette

12/18/2018 by Amy Bucciferro
Approaching a marketing or communication initiative when you have a robust tool like Pardot involves deciding what elements of the platform are best for the job, so how can you prepare yourself to make these decisions?

Initial Enablement

However you got started with Pardot, be it with an implementation partner like Arkus, working directly with Salesforce via an accelerator, or jumping in on your own, hopefully one of the first things you did was a good bit of foundational training on at least the main features of the platform. These features make up the toolkit you have at your disposal when executing on any given initiative on the platform. You will likely have covered things like how to manage templates, send a List Email, use Engagement Studio, Dynamic Lists, Automation and Segmentation Rules, Custom Redirects, Forms and Landing Pages, and more. And if you need a refresher, there are plenty of resources out there, such as Trailhead (search “Pardot”) and Salesforce Help.

A solid introduction to the features of the platform is the best way to get the most out of Pardot. Unlike some tools where something is configured a certain way for you to simply execute on the same process over and over, a typical user of Pardot will continually be coming up with specific needs that require utilizing an intersection of the tools available in the platform to accomplish.

For example, say you send out an email newsletter to a Public List on a regular basis--great, you can replicate this over and over--but then you want to target a set of constituents with slightly different messaging depending on their status with your organization, while still respecting their subscription preferences… now we have to think through the best way to execute this, and, oh my, there may be more than one solution. The more you use the system, the more adept you will become at navigating this process. None of these tools are difficult to use; it’s all about familiarity and practice.

Thinking Through a Use Case

So how do you approach this process of deciding what Pardot tools to use to get any given job done? I like to practice thinking through a use case or two with our clients to help get used to this creative role as Pardot Marketer, because for some it can feel like a very new way of interfacing with a technology platform. Really, it’s similar to how one would approach a marketing strategy in general.

The best place to start is to map out exactly what you want to accomplish. A literal or virtual whiteboard will do the trick. Think about the Who, What, When, and Why, that Why being, typically, what the desired outcome is for the communication (most often overlooked is making sure you include a mechanism to measure success.) Once this is visually in front of you, it is much easier to dissect the tools you will need to get the job done.

It’s rare with Pardot that there is just one feature you are going to use. I see a lot of people trying to do every little step within an Engagement Program, for example, when really we need some other tools to feed into the steps that are happening within that program for the program to do the work of driving and measuring action. There is a good article in the documentation on choosing the appropriate segmentation tool to keep handy as a reference. As a principle, I suggest choosing the simplest tool possible for the job--overcomplicating things just makes it harder to manage and adjust. I always write out a list of the elements I am going to use to think through the execution before I actually build it. That would look something like:

Super Awesome Marketing Plan
  • Static List “ABC” to hold xyz
  • Dynamic list “DEF”
    • Member of AMB
    • Score above ###
  • Automation Rule “GHI”
    • Criteria
      • Fills out form “JKL”
      • Custom field value ###
  • Action
    • Add to list ABC
  • Engagement Program……
    • Fed by….
  • Email templates
    • 1
    • 2

This might seem like a lot of up-front work, but it becomes second nature and is very much worth it to avoid unintended consequences and also have a running reference of all the ‘stuff’ you have going on in Pardot, provided you keep these plans in a nice, clean, shared place. The other benefit is once you’ve written this all out, actually putting it together in Pardot goes surprisingly fast.

Ongoing Learning

Even as all of the above becomes second nature, there’s opportunity to keep growing your skills. For one thing, the platform continues to evolve with each release of Salesforce, as well as other changes in between. Be sure you are keeping up with updates to the platform. Often times these are actually announced in Pardot, in popups you have to actively ignore, so no excuses! Other less critical items will come through release notes. There are also great resources in the community to help you continue to improve your skills and learn from other users, such as local User Groups, independent blogs, and virtual groups on the Trailblazer Community (search “Pardot”) and Power of Us Hub.

Super proud of something you’ve ‘painted’ with Pardot? Have tips for thinking through what tools to use for other users?  Comment below, in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community, or directly on Twitter @ifitfloats.

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