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Salesforce vs. Marketo: feature and pricing comparison

Balancing scale and personalization is the great struggle of modern marketing. You want to reach as many customers as possible, but you also know that making each interaction personal is the gateway to conversion. So, how do you strike a balance? The answer lies in your ability to easily and intuitively leverage your customer data. 

A marketing automation platform (MAP) is the tool you need to do just that. The right MAP empowers you to create and automate data-driven, personalized campaigns—at scale. 

Let’s compare Marketo vs. Salesforce Marketing Cloud, two well-known MAPs. Then, we’ll explore how they stack up against Journeys.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

Salesforce started in 1999 as a CRM and has since expanded to support numerous marketing and sales functions in an attempt to become a one-stop shop for lead generation and management. That approach is a double-edged sword: it puts everything in one place but limits the flexibility of your martech stack.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud specializes in cross-channel transactional purchases for both B2C and B2B businesses and those with shorter sales cycles. Where many MAPs started with email at their core, Salesforce Marketing Cloud focused on cross-channel communication instead. 

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is broken into three feature sets:

  • Personalization (content personalization, segmentation, testing, reporting, and AI recommendations)
  • Engagement (email marketing, content creation, analytics)
  • Account engagement (lead nurture and scoring, dashboards, and campaign reporting)

Top Salesforce Marketing Cloud features:  

  • Drag-and-drop Journey Builder
  • Cross-channel messaging and analytics 
  • No-code and HTML email builder options
  • Einstein AI for segmentation and scoring 
  • Extensive API connector library and universal connector
  • Forms and landing pages
  • Integration with Data Cloud for Marketing (the Salesforce CDP)

What is Marketo Engage?

Marketo Engage is a MAP focused on account-based marketing, including lead management, content personalization, and lead scoring and nurturing. Adobe purchased Marketo in 2018, integrating it closely with Marketo Measure (their enterprise marketing attribution tool), Adobe Real-Time CDP (their customer data platform), and Adobe Experience Cloud (their CRM). Like Salesforce, Adobe endeavors to create a single ecosystem for marketing and sales teams. While this makes integrating within the Adobe suite easy, building a martech stack that leverages other tools to serve your specific business needs is more complicated and rigid.

Marketo primarily offers solutions for midsize to enterprise B2B organizations with large databases and heavy lead-generation needs. Marketo has four base pricing packages, but all pricing is custom, scaling with audience size and add-on features.

Top Marketo Engage features:   

  • Multi-channel messaging
  • Multi-touch attribution
  • Multivariate email testing
  • AI predictive content with Adobe Sensei
  • Content personalization and predictive content
  • Enterprise CRM integrations
  • Lead tracking and ranking
  • Integration with Adobe Real-Time CDP

Salesforce vs. Marketo: a deep dive into key features

Salesforce and Marketo are both “legacy” platforms. They’ve been around for a long time, have high brand-name recognition, and have created entire ecosystems of tools engineered to work together. Yet, both tools require a steep learning curve, need support from marketing ops or engineering teams, and have interfaces many customers find cumbersome. 

While the platforms have many of the same broad features, they diverge in how they approach several functionalities.

Key feature #1: Multi-channel messaging

Both Marketo and Salesforce support email and SMS natively with their platforms.

Salesforce also includes integrated in-app messaging, push notifications, advertising, and third-party messaging, with various options based on pricing tier. Extensive integrations are available on their App Exchange (usually at an additional cost), including WhatsApp, social media channels, advertising, third-party messaging, and even offline marketing activities (like direct mail). 

Unlike Salesforce, Marketo was initially designed as an email-first platform, and additional channels have been added over the years. While SMS is now native to the platform, push and in-app are only available at an add-on cost. Marketo also features native data integrations with Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Key feature #2: Personalization

Personalization is a critical component of any MAP. Both Salesforce and Marketo provide personalization capabilities in very different ways.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Personalization (formerly known as Interaction Studio) is a core feature of the MAP. It enables brands to collect data and build customer profiles using real-time segmentation and Salesforce’s machine-learning algorithm, Einstein Recipes (at higher pricing tiers). You can create customized content based on customer behaviors like cross-sells or promotions. You can also use personalization strings in emails and messages to tailor content based on data points like a customer’s name, location, etc.

Marketo’s personalization consists of tokens (their version of personalization strings), email scripts, and dynamic content blocks. Tokens let you use attribute data—like customer name, location, or company name in your messaging. Email scripting is an advanced feature for developers to insert logic, loops, and variables into marketing templates. Dynamic content blocks allow you to customize how a specific segment sees an email or landing page (i.e., one segment will see one version of a content block, and another will see a different version based on specified criteria). Marketo also offers limited real-time personalization to some customers.

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Key feature #3: Campaign automation

In a comparison of Marketo vs. Salesforce Marketing Cloud, one of the most apparent differences lies in campaign automation. 

Creating campaigns in Salesforce is intuitive, thanks to a visual interface. It uses its Journey Builder feature for single-send messages, transactional communications, and multi-step customer journeys. This visual, drag-and-drop workflow builder allows you to create cross-channel triggered or drip campaigns of different types and sizes—all in a single view. You can set goals and track multi-touch campaigns across email, mobile, social, SMS, and more channels. 

Marketo’s marketing automation approach uses content streams within its Engagement Programs feature. Leads are added to streams at a set cadence and moved among them using transitional rules. These rules can be as broad or specific as needed using lists, filters, or lead activities. Unlike Salesforce, Marketo doesn’t have a visual workflow builder. Furthermore, Marketo’s Engagement Programs are focused primarily on email, with cross-channel capabilities limited by tier and add-on purchases.

Key feature #4: Triggered campaigns

The ability to trigger campaigns based on customer behaviors is one of the most essential components of a MAP. It’s possible to do so with both Salesforce and Marketo, though you’ll likely encounter some friction.

Salesforce-triggered campaigns are managed in the platform’s Journey Builder but generally require an API event and configuration. That provides flexibility but requires some coding—a potential barrier to marketing teams who need to move quickly without engineering resources. That said, brands integrating Salesforce Sales Cloud with Marketing Cloud can more easily set up custom triggers without developer support. 

Marketo’s triggered campaigns, on the other hand, are handled primarily using Marketo’s Smart Campaigns feature. Smart Campaigns allow you to define automation logic for your marketing programs. Campaigns are flexible and can be built using internal criteria, webhooks, or external APIs. That said, Smart Campaigns can be rather complicated to set up and manage—and with no visual workflow builder, many people find it difficult to orchestrate multiple campaigns at once.

Key feature #5: Analytics

Salesforce and Marketo approach analytics and data differently. 

For example, Salesforce offers a variety of flexible data and analytics features. The platform comes with Intelligence Reports and Analytics Builder (and you can purchase Intelligence Reports Advanced to create dashboards, access cross-channel intelligence, and query granular data). While Salesforce can help you surface deep insights, it often requires add-ons and developer resources.

Marketo’s analytics consist of custom reporting and attribution modeling. This includes email and performance insights, business intelligence reporting, and advanced journey analytics. While Marketo offers personal and group reports, there are few data visualizations, and overall reporting is limited by the platform’s Smart List design. For an additional cost, deeper data dives are possible by integrating with a separate analytics tool, such as Adobe Analytics. 

Key feature #6: CRM integrations

The ecosystem approach taken by both Salesforce and Marketo introduces limitations when integrating with external CRMs. 

Overall, Salesforce has designed an ecosystem where its primary products integrate most effectively with each other. As a result, Salesforce Marketing Cloud naturally integrates most closely with Salesforce’s native CRM. Using a CRM outside the ecosystem is generally more difficult. 

Marketo also has constraints for CRM integrations as it caters primarily to enterprise CRM solutions. It’s ideally suited to work with the Adobe Experience Cloud CRM and has native integrations with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce. All other integrations occur through custom fields, imports/exports, or APIs. 

Key feature #7: Customer data

Marketo and Salesforce both take distinctive approaches to structuring and modeling customer data.

Salesforce’s original product, now called Sales Cloud, focused entirely on managing sales data. That through-line is visible even in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud MAP. Built as almost a blank slate, Salesforce offers a flexible (but resource-intensive) data model where users can easily create tables and data objects. Of course, there are limitations on the number of contacts, API calls, and custom data objects available based on the pricing tier. 

Activating customer data is more powerful when you combine a MAP with a CDP, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud is specifically designed to integrate with the ecosystem’s Data Cloud CDP. Yet, pricing starts at $108,000 annually (on top of the costs associated with Marketing Cloud licenses). You can also set up a custom integration if you want to use a different CDP.

Marketo offers a more limited but structured approach to data management. All contacts in an audience are classified as leads housed in a single lead database table. This makes managing simple data easier since you always reference the same central data set. However, it can cause problems when data needs to be grouped more granularly. Like Salesforce, Marketo limits contacts, API calls, and custom data objects dependent on pricing tier. Marketo’s native integration with the Adobe Real-Time CDP is the most seamless way to activate customer data; you can also use another CDP with Marketo through a custom integration. 

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Salesforce vs. Marketo: a deep dive into pricing

It’s challenging to compare Marketo and Salesforce pricing because both products have complicated pricing packages. The closest we can get is to look at the visible pricing tiers (Marketo does not list its pricing publically) and what’s included versus what’s considered an add-on.

Salesforce pricing 

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is packaged as three separate products under the larger Marketing Cloud umbrella, with several pricing tiers within each product. This pricing model can make it challenging to line up your unique needs with the right plan, but it allows you to choose the features you want to pay for. Customer support is priced entirely in separate packages and not included in any MAP subscription prices.

  • Marketing Cloud Personalization: This is Salesforce’s core Marketing Cloud product. There are two tiers: Growth, which starts at $108,000 annually, and Premium, which starts at $300,000 annually. This package includes website personalization, segmentation, A/B/N testing, and content recommendations. The Premium tier also includes AI-driven actions and mobile app data and personalization. 
  • Marketing Cloud Engagement: As Salesforce’s email marketing engine, the Engagement product includes core email functionality and comes in three tiers. The Pro tier is $1,250 monthly and includes basic email marketing, reporting, and testing. The second tier, Corporate, is $4,200 monthly and adds on Salesforce’s Journey Builder, mobile messaging, Einstein AI, and in-message personalization tools. Finally, you’ll need to request a quote for Enterprise pricing, which primarily features real-time big data segmentation and multiple-business management.
  • Marketing Cloud Account Engagement: This is Salesforce’s marketing automation feature set, including lead nurture, scoring, and campaign building. All four tiers start with a base number of contacts and scale as your database grows. The first tier, Growth, provides baseline lead management and personalization tools, starting at $1,250 monthly. The Plus tier starts at $2,750 a month and includes more advanced automation, analytics, and qualification. The Advanced tier starts at $4,400 a month and introduces Einstein AI and Sandboxes. Finally, the Premium tier starts at $15,000 and includes up to 75,000 contacts plus the full feature suite.

Marketo pricing 

Marketo’s pricing is less complicated than Salesforce’s, with only four total tiers—but you have to talk to a sales rep to see actual dollar amounts. Unlike Salesforce, which tiers its pricing on feature sets, Marketo bases pricing on both features and usage, including the number of marketing contacts, API calls, segments, and reports. Each tier adds additional features and increases usage caps. 

  • Growth: This plan includes up to 50,000 marketing contacts, onboarding, consulting services, and a resource library. Attribution and ROI dashboards are an additional cost.
  • Select: This tier includes everything in Growth, plus access to attribution, AI tools, and the ability to create up to 10 custom data objects.
  • Prime: At this pricing plan, you get everything included in Select, plus predictive audiences, journey analytics, and targeted account management. You can also add advanced performance analytics.
  • Ultimate: The Ultimate tier includes the full suite of Marketo Engage features, as well as a discounted rate on Marketo Measure for behavioral and ad data.

Unlike Salesforce, where all functionality is included in a particular plan, Marketo offers several single-feature add-ons at an additional charge. These include sales tools, multi-touch attribution, web personalization, advanced journey analytics, and sandboxes. Journeys: an alternative to Salesforce and Marketo

Journeys is your engine for targeted, data-driven messaging automation. It’s flexible, intuitive, and scalable.

Built for cross-channel marketing, Journeys enables you to deliver personalized customer experiences across email, SMS, push notifications and in-app messages. With a powerful segmentation engine and tools to harness your data, you’re equipped to create hyper-personalized experiences that boost conversions.  

Plus, Journeys magnifies the power of your data by pairing with the CDP, Data Pipelines—and the Data Pipelines Starter plan is free. This gives you a best-in-class ecosystem to make the most of all your data, but you’re not locked in; Journeys makes it easy to build a martech stack that best suits your strategy.

Top Journeys features:  

  • Robust multi-channel messaging campaigns for email, SMS, push, and in-app
  • A user-friendly, centralized visual workflow builder with branching, segmentation, A/B testing, and triggered campaign capabilities 
  • Both a no-code email builder and native HTML coding with Parcel
  • Flexible data management with intuitive data models, custom objects, and native data warehouse syncing
  • Powerful personalization and segmentation, including unlimited attributes and sophisticated triggers
  • Straightforward pricing designed to scale with your business
  • Best-in-class customer support
  • Ad Audience Sync for paid ad targeting using first-party data
  • Integrated CDP at no extra cost

Multi-channel messaging

Journeys is designed for complete omnichannel messaging across all pricing tiers—no add-ons required. The platform holistically supports both email and mobile messaging channels. Plus, you can connect to advertising networks to leverage your customer data for ad targeting. 

While Marketo and Salesforce also support multiple messaging channels, they’re not available on all pricing tiers. Marketo requires add-on purchases for in-app messaging and push notifications, and Salesforce only offers mobile channels on their two highest Marketing Cloud Engagement tiers. 

Salesforce vs Marketo: Multi-channel messaging with


Journeys makes it easy to put all your customer data to use, so you can personalize your messaging based on attributes, behaviors, and business data—no matter which pricing plan you’re on. You can build dynamic content into messages, create segments based on any criteria, and tap into the power of more data with custom objects.  

Salesforce and Marketo also offer many personalization options, but each has limitations. Salesforce’s personalization functionality relies heavily on its built-in AI tools, which are only available at higher pricing tiers. Marketo’s personalization tools are extensive but introduce operational complexity and come with limitations on data usage. 

Campaign automation

Journeys makes even the most sophisticated campaigns simple to create and manage with an intuitive visual workflow builder. You can easily set up multiple branches, include multiple message types, set time delays, incorporate webhooks, integrate testing conditions, and more. 

Brands using Salesforce Marketing Cloud Engagement on their higher two tiers can access a similar visual workflow tool. However, the triggers and actions available are more limited. Marketo’s campaign streams are built quite differently and can be more difficult for marketers to use, with a steeper learning curve. And their transition rules are limited compared to Journeys’ highly customizable sandbox.

Salesforce vs Marketo:'s Visual Workflow Builder

Triggered campaigns

Salesforce and Journeys offer a similar structure for triggered campaigns—integrating the experience into the core workflow builders. But unlike Salesforce, Journeys provides built-in campaign triggers based on attributes, events, objects, webhooks, and more. Salesforce-triggered campaigns can only be created around an API event.

Marketo’s Smart Campaigns can be an effective tool for triggered campaigns because of their flexibility, but building these campaigns is more complicated. They can’t be scheduled for recurrences and can get convoluted quickly when using more than one trigger or managing multiple campaigns. 


Journeys gives you real-time metrics on the key performance indicators you need to measure success, with an intuitive dashboard view and detailed reporting. 

At a glance, you can monitor the performance of individual messages and entire campaigns, A/B tests, and segment membership. Plus, you can dive deeper with reports that compare campaigns across your entire workspace and refine your analysis with targeted reporting definitions. Connecting Journeys to other analytics tools in your tech stack is also easy. 

Both Salesforce and Marketo also have robust reporting, though access to the most complex analytics will cost you. Salesforce offers their most advanced reporting tools at their higher pricing tiers, and separate Intelligence Reports Advanced comes at an additional cost. Marketo’s reporting is a little more limited in scope, but its capacity can be expanded through integrations with Adobe Analytics.

CRM integrations

Journeys is intentionally designed to be CRM-agnostic. That means you can integrate our tool with the best CRM for your business. You aren’t boxed into a single ecosystem or enterprise solution. Integrating your chosen CRM is simple, with a large selection of native integration options via webhooks and APIs. 

Both Marketo and Salesforce make CRM integrations more convoluted if you’re not integrating with their native or chosen enterprise tools. Salesforce primarily integrates with Salesforce Sales Cloud, and Marketo integrates with Salesforce, Adobe Experience Cloud, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. 

Customer data

All Journeys plans include the free Data Pipelines Starter plan. This makes harnessing your data even more effective with deep insights, 1 million monthly API calls, unlimited sources, and unlimited destinations. Plus, we’ll never charge extra for usage or storage, so you’ll always have immediate access to anything that happens in your Journeys account. 

Salesforce offers a flexible, if complex, data model, while Marketo’s model is more limited by their product design. Salesforce allows you to synchronize data sources within their sales or service clouds or collect and use data through API calls, with daily API calls limited based on pricing tier. Marketo also limits data sync and daily API calls based on your package. Both MAPs extend their customer data capabilities through integrations with CDPs in their ecosystem at a significant additional cost.

Salesforce vs Marketo: Data Pipelines


The pricing structures for both Salesforce and Marketo are very complicated. Even the lowest tiers cater primarily to enterprise-level budgets, which limits scalability for both growing companies and large organizations alike. Salesforce has broken up their Salesforce Marketing Cloud product into smaller products you have to purchase additionally—whether that’s a benefit depends on whether the feature set of each product aligns with your actual needs. Marketo gates its pricing behind a sales interaction, and many of its features are only available as add-ons. 

Journeys makes pricing transparent and inclusive so it’s easy to forecast your budget and align your business needs with the right plan. The platform is also priced with scalability in mind—a structure that serves growth-stage companies and enterprise organizations equally well. All the tools you need for personalized messaging across all channels are included in every pricing tier, and every plan includes access to Data Pipelines for free.

Our three pricing tiers are: 

  • Essentials: Our first tier starts at $100/month and includes 5,000 profiles, 1 million emails/month, unlimited in-app, SMS, and push, 500 object profiles, and two object types. This plan is designed with growing companies in mind.
  • Premium: Starting at $1,000 monthly, the Premium tier includes custom profile and email volumes, 5,000 object profiles, 10 object types, 90-day onboarding support, and HIPAA compliance. This tier is usually the best fit for high-growth companies.
  • Enterprise: This plan focuses on large enterprises scaling their marketing efforts. Pricing is customized based on profile and email volume to fit your business needs. It comes with priority technical support and a dedicated customer support manager.

How to choose between Marketo, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Journeys

Choosing the right MAP for your business means understanding both your current needs and where you’re headed in the future. You need the features that support what you’re doing now, along with the flexibility to evolve and scale your messaging strategy.

The following questions could help you consider your choices:

  •  How well will your new MAP integrate with your current tech stack? How much flexibility does the MAP provide to integrate new tools in the future? 
  • What messaging channels do you use now? How will your strategy evolve to take advantage of additional channels?
  • Are you running personalized and event-triggered campaigns? How much flexibility and volume do you need to manage and iterate on them effectively?
  • How complex are your workflows, and how do you like to visualize and manage them? How could your strategy be improved with more sophisticated workflows?
  • Are you making full use of all your customer and business data? How does data need to be managed for your marketing efforts to be successful?

While both Salesforce and Marketo provide various features for data-driven personalization and automation, they’re also rigid and come with a high barrier to entry. Name brand recognition and one-stop-shop ecosystems can sound appealing, but brands of all sizes may find that these legacy MAPs just aren’t up to date with the needs of modern-day marketers.  

Journeys was designed for maximum flexibility and control—with an intuitive interface that makes it easy to execute intricate messaging strategies. You don’t need developer resources to take advantage of all the platform can do, but you also have the freedom to delve into coding if you so desire.

More powerful, scalable, data-driven customer experiences are just a step away. See how Journeys can transform your messaging automation campaigns with a personalized walk-through and demo.

Ready to dive right in? Give Journeys a try now with a 14-day free trial.