We tested whether it is beneficial for the accuracy of phylogenetic inference to sample characters that are evolving under different sets of parameters, using both Bayesian MCMC (Markov chain Monte Carlo) and parsimony approaches. We examined differential rates of evolution among characters, differential character‐state frequencies and character‐state space, and differential relative branch lengths among characters. We also compared the relative performance of parsimony and Bayesian analyses by progressively incorporating more of these heterogeneous parameters and progressively increasing the severity of this heterogeneity. Bayesian analyses performed better than parsimony when heterogeneous simulation parameters were incorporated into the substitution model. However, parsimony outperformed Bayesian MCMC when heterogeneous simulation parameters were not incorporated into the Bayesian substitution model. The higher the rate of evolution simulated, the better parsimony performed relative to Bayesian analyses. Bayesian and parsimony analyses converged in their performance as the number of simulated heterogeneous model parameters increased. Up to a point, rate heterogeneity among sites was generally advantageous for phylogenetic inference using both approaches. In contrast, branch‐length heterogeneity was generally disadvantageous for phylogenetic inference using both parsimony and Bayesian approaches. Parsimony was found to be more conservative than Bayesian analyses, in that it resolved fewer incorrect clades.