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Pardot Dynamic Lists vs. Automation Rules

Pardot Dynamic Lists vs. Automation Rules

Pardot B2B Marketing for Salesforce is an extremely powerful tool. You can link thousands of prospects and leads to your CRM and engage with them in all sorts of ways. However, with great power comes great… confusion? Specifically, how do you know which automation tool to use for each situation?

Pardot features a couple of primary tools to use for your segmentation and automation: completion actions, segmentation rules, dynamic lists, and automation rules. In this article, we are going to be looking at two of these, dynamic lists and automation rules. When combined, these two tools form the backbone of your automated marketing efforts.

What is the difference between dynamic lists and automation rules?

Are you saying, well duh, one is a list and the other is a rule? You aren’t wrong, but the thing is, dynamic lists are defined by rules, and automation rules can be used to create lists. So the lines aren’t as clear as they may seem.

In short, a dynamic list is a list of prospects that automatically updates itself, both adding and removing members, based upon the rules you specify. Automation rules can certainly be used to add prospects to a static list, but they can also be used for many other options, such as assigning prospects to a particular sales rep/team.

Both dynamic lists and automation rules run continuously, matching and working with any prospect who matches their criteria.

The short answer is, you should use a dynamic list when you are creating a list that will likely be changing regularly. Such as members who have yet to watch a video, or who have an upcoming renewal date. By using a dynamic list, not only will your prospects be added the moment they qualify, but they will be removed when they no longer are needed.

With automation rules, the best practice is when you have a rule, that will run continuously and be based on multiple criteria.

Use Cases

Dynamic List

ABC Coolers is looking to send a reminder email to each of their customers who have a subscription renewal coming up. This could be done via either a dynamic list or automation rule, however, the dynamic lists are the best practice, since we will be looking to create a list that is continuously changing. While the automation could be written to give similar results, the dynamic lists will yield better transparency, tracking and reporting options. As well as being cleaner in the system.

To do this, we would create a program in the Engagement Studio, specifying the email to be sent, a start and end point. Then we simply specify our new dynamic list as the recipient. Thus, whenever someone is added to that list, the engagement program fires, sending of the email. What’s more, the program to be set so that members can enter an unlimited amount of times so that every time a renewal is pending, your list will update and send those critical emails.

Automation Rules

For automation rules, better uses will be when a list is not needed. ABC Coolers is again looking to automate their process. This time, they want to achieve a couple of results:

  • When prospects view a landing page but don’t take completely the form, they want a follow-up email to be sent.
    • To do this, they would use a completion action attached to that landing page to designate if the form was completed. Then, the automation rule is simply “send an email if the page was viewed AND the tag does not equal completed”.
  • When prospects haven’t been active in a while, ABC wants to slowly reduce their Pardot Score, so that only active leads will be pushed toward sales
    • This automation rule would be based on any field that tracks how many X days since the prospect has been active, and then reduces the score.
    • For every greater power, multiple rules could be built, with incremental dates, such as 15 days with no action, 30 days with no action, 60 days with no action, and at each of these markers, the score is reduced. Oh, and just to make sure the score doesn’t go too low, you can also specify that it only applies to prospects with a score above zero!

So, hopefully, this quick dive into the use cases for Automation Rules and Dynamic Lists has given you a couple more ideas into how you can use Pardot to better manage your B2B marketing efforts.


-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team



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Tip of the Week – Use Pardot’s Engagement Studio for Better Marketing Automation

Tip of the Week – Use Pardot’s Engagement Studio for Better Marketing Automation

While the Engagement Studio is not new to Pardot, having been released in 2016, it is increasingly taking the place of Automation Rules in Pardot. Salesforce describes Engagement Studio as “the nerve center, the IQ, the brain behind the marketing automation” and as the next generation tech for marketing. Engagement Studio provides an end-to-end view of marketing campaigns, powerful reports, analytics and automation tools!

Engagement Studio enables:

  • A Guided Buying Process – Always on campaigns and guided processes give prospects a more relevant and personalized buying journey.
  • Easy Campaign Creation – Everything you need to build top notch Marketing Campaigns. Landing pages, automated rules, actions, triggers and more!
  • Buyer Experience Testing – You can now test and experience the marketing path you create for your potential buyers.
  • Improved reporting – Success metrics give you greater visibility, understanding, and insights.

Click here to learn more about Engagement Studio

-Ryan and the CMB Team