What do you like best?
Pardot's syncing capabilities between itself and Salesforce are excellent - especially since you get to choose exactly what you want synced and when, and which platform you consider to be the source of truth - either Pardot or Salesforce. What's crazy is that you can get down to the field-level - something I really appreciate.
I actually love the way Pardot thinks about scoring and grading - primarily because we're able to adapt it to exactly what we need. We leverage the best combination of data enrichment and Pardot's own features (automation rules!!) to create extremely accurate grades. Many people will bust Pardot for kind of being a dinosaur, but honestly, it's all about how you approach and implement it.
Flexible field configuration. Very easy from an ops perspective to configure exactly what you need.
What do you dislike?
We're a data integrations company, and I can tell you from experience that the Pardot API is *very* limiting. This means the types of data syncing / updates to Pardot we can perform are limited - which means getting the most out of Pardot is tough. Luckily, we're able to bypass most of this through Salesforce.
The automation campaigns do have some room to grow - they're not as smart / adaptable as, say, Mailchimp's automation programs. They've made some strides recently to improve them (i.e. showing you the exact dates the emails will be sent in a nurture campaign), but it's certainly not perfect for drip emails.
Reporting inside of Pardot is by far its worst feature. You'll definitely have to look to Salesforce for this capability (in which case, if it's your source of truth, this makes the most sense).
Lastly, the email builder still doesn't support the future of email - so if you can imagine all of the features that make marketing automation, Pardot won't necessarily have. Emoji support (yes - I said it), dynamic text replacement for "smart" emails (think Customer.io; Dynamic Content isn't quite the same), GIF support...
Recommendations to others considering the product
You won't go wrong with Pardot, but like any marketing technology tool, your priorities will vary:
1. Does your tech stack support this tool?
2. Will your teams adopt it?
3. Does it meet your feature requirements?
4. Does it help you get closer to your goals over alternatives?
And also like any tool, it totally depends on how you implement it and how you use it. Bad marketing is still bad marketing - no matter what you're using.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
When it comes to measuring qualified leads, lead generation, and opportunity pipeline generated by marketing, Pardot is excellent for managing your campaigns, lead flows, and demand generation activities. My marketing team is small, but it was imperative that we had a tool that could pull together the customer and prospect experience from a digital perspective - more than say, a Mailchimp.
Overall, Pardot fits best into our stack and with our team and Marketing's needs.