You may have heard a Mark Twain quote that goes something like "Rumors of my death have been grossly exaggerated". Even that quote is an exaggeration-- the actual quote in full, in response to a New York Journal reporter's inquiry if he was seriously ill (or dead) is as follows: ‘I can understand perfectly how the report of my illness got about, I have even heard on good authority that I was dead. James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London, but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness. The report of my death was an exaggeration.’
Well, I can report on good authority that Pardot is alive and well and living at the same address under a new name: Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. Some folks are already shortening this to MCAE or "McKay" if you're saying it.
As a Salesforce Marketing Champion, I was given advance notice of this change some weeks ago, so I've had a chance to digest this information for a while. On the whole, I think it's a good thing. Nominally, Pardot was supposed to be part of the Marketing Cloud "family" already, but nobody really treated it as such. Is the new moniker of "Account Engagement" representative of what Pardot/MACE is today? No, not exactly, although there's been talk of how it works in the context of Account Based Marketing (ABM) for some time, so it's not inconsistent either. Pardot has been slowly moving on platform for years, and the integration gets tighter and tighter with every release-- this is also a good thing, for the simple reason that Marketing and Sales need to be working out of the same platform as much as possible! Those of us in the Champions community are optimistic and view these changes as demonstrative of an increasing commitment to the product.
Is this rename going to cause some problems? No doubt. A non-unique nonspecific name is likely to make it a lot harder to find what you're looking for online or in Salesforce Support. Is the name as "fun" or "unique" as Pardot? No. On the other hand at this point we can simply say that we use Salesforce, and that's a name that more and more people recognize. After all, they hired Matthew McConaughey to do a Superbowl ad.
No matter what Salesforce announces, though, I have a feeling the Pardot name (at least among the consulting community) will remain alive for some time to come. Our goal is to get the correct advice to our audience as expediently as possible. Making sure we're speaking the same language is the first hurdle. My prior experience with renaming of long-established brands is that it takes years to retrain the customer community to cast off the old term and use the new one, in some cases because they simply don't want to. Is Pardot Dead? No way. There's always going to the Pardot way of thinking, especially for those of us that have been around for a while.