Marketing automation isn’t simply a trend or a tool; most would argue it’s the future of digital marketing. In fact, a recent study by Emailmonday found that on average 51% of companies are currently using marketing automation. Further evidence of marketing automation’s staying power is the fact that the industry is expected to be worth $5.5 billion in 2019, according to Markets and Markets research.
Now that the marketing world is fully on board with automation, which platform should you choose?
When determining what marketing automation platform to use, you’ll find there is no shortage of contenders. Two of the trailblazers and most popular are Hubspot and Marketo. While both software products offer similar functionality and features and each has a strong base of loyal fans, there are differences.
In this post, we’ll breakdown what each platform offers along with additional alternatives to Hubspot and Marketo.
Hubspot vs. Marketo: Overview
In the battle of Hubspot vs. Marketo, you’ll need a thorough understanding of each company’s capabilities to make the best decision for your marketing efforts. For comparison’s sake, Hubspot has a market share of 15.89% while Marketo is at 2.04%, according to Datanyze.
The real differences, however, start with functionality and pricing.
What is Hubspot?
Hubspot is designed to deliver a true all-in-one inbound marketing platform. Hubspot, known for its pioneering efforts on inbound marketing, lets users log into one system and go to work. Within Hubspot, there are three hubs: marketing, sales, and service. With each of these hubs, you’ll be able to market, sell, and serve.
Hubspot can be the engine behind all your digital marketing including the content management system for your website, a CRM for all your data, an email marketing provider, a social media scheduler, and more. It can also help you manage the entire lifecycle of a prospect from their first encounter with your brand to becoming a loyal customer.
Additionally, Hubspot offers a free version of its platform. You don’t get all the bells and whistles, but it might be a good way to start without having a lot of up-front costs. Once you get into more features and users, the price does increase but overall it is considered less expensive than Marketo, as you can expect to pay at least $895 a month for the basics and up to $3,195 for the Elite package.
What is Marketo?
Marketo was created as a solution for large enterprises, specifically those handling mass amounts of data and more complex marketing processes.
This is especially true for any business that has robust email campaigns that have various triggers or drips. Marketo is also known for its advanced analytics. It’s also a mobile app, another feature of Marketo that lets users stay connected even on the go.
Marketo’s platform covers these areas of marketing:
- Lead management
- Email marketing
- Consumer marketing
- Customer base marketing
- Mobile marketing
Within these five modules, you’ll be able to run everything related to digital marketing. As noted, the base price is $895 per month and increases with the number of users, features, and contacts.
Hubspot and Marketo: What Are the Drawbacks?
One of the biggest drawbacks to Hubspot is that it’s not always ideal for larger enterprises that still execute a lot of outbound marketing. Hubspot doesn’t allow these companies to integrate their outbound efforts to get an accurate view of their marketing mix.
Another issue is that you won’t be able to use A/B testing, which is critical in improving the performance of digital campaigns, without upgrading to a PRO package. A PRO package starts at $2,400 a month so it may be cost-prohibitive for smaller companies.
Other drawbacks of Hubspot include its CRM functionality. You won’t have the same capabilities as top CRMs like Salesforce or Oracle Engagement Cloud, simply because the CRM part of the software is such a small factor. It’s hard to dedupe contacts in bulk. You’ll have to export a list of unsubscribes and bounces from the email marketing tab then manually dedupe.
Marketo, unlike Hubspot, is a bit more difficult to pick up unless you have a lot of experience in tech. Marketo finds its groove with larger companies that have dedicated IT staff to help with the implementation.
Hubspot vs Marketo: The User Experience
One thing that many people say about Hubspot is that the user experience was designed for marketers by marketers. While Marketo also has an excellent user interface with intuitive dashboards and navigation, it’s trickier to get around than the simplicity of Hubspot.
Hubspot, however, offers more of a step-by-step process so that non-technical experts can start moving on day one. Hubspot is very focused on UX and has invested a tremendous amount of time into research to continue to improve the platform. This dedication to UX is supported by the fact that has UX researchers on staff at the company.
Marketo’s UX is focused more on larger enterprises where certain users within an organization, rely on specific areas of the platform. For enterprises that need deep analytics and workflows, Marketo may be the better product.
Choosing the right marketing automation platform really comes down to the specific needs of your business and user preferences.
Hubspot Support and TrainingBefore investing in any type of software, you’ll want to know about the support and training each company offers. Both companies offer strong support communities, but Hubspot does more with its Academy. There are thousands of tutorials and documents here, all ready for the inbound marketer.
The resources don’t just advise users how to set up campaigns, they offer insights on how to create a successful strategy. Hubspot also offers phone support, which is free along with email and live chat support within the portal. Additionally, Hubspot offers certifications in inbound marketing and related topics.
Marketo Support (Or Lack Thereof)
Marketo offers support as well, but users haven’t always been complimentary of this, complaining about long waits and not being able to find the answers needed. There is limited support with a standard plan; premium plans have unlimited support.
Marketo does offer plenty of resources on its site as well, including offering its own training courses referred to as Marketo University.
What are the CRM Options?
While Hubspot does have its own CRM, you can also integrate Salesforce. Any other CRM requires custom integration, which could take time and be very costly. Marketo can integrate with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, NetSuite, Oracle, and SAP Cloud for Sales. Thus, you have much more flexibility with Marketo.
Comparing Content Management Platform Features
One of the most critical features of marketing automation is how it works as a content management system (CMS). Hubspot’s CMS can be used to build your entire website with drop and drag functionality, but you don’t have to use it as your CMS if you prefer something like WordPress. You can still use the Hubspot CMS to develop landing pages and blog posts then integrate them with your site.
Marketo, however, does not have CMS capabilities. You can use it to build landing pages, but it does not have native tools for website creation or blogging. You’ll have to build your website in another platform then integrate it with Marketo.
Social Media Marketing Integrations
Hubspot does allow users to create and schedule posts for most social media channels. You can even post LinkedIn updates for individuals, not just company pages. Using the platform helps marketers understand the impact of their social media activity as the metrics can be part of your dashboard.
Marketo comes up a little short, and because most large enterprises use Marketo, they often employ another social media marketing tool to schedule, publish, and engage on social media. It doesn’t have the sophisticated monitoring and reporting that tools made just for social media has, so if social is a big focus for your brand, Marketo isn’t going to give you the experience you require.
Measuring the Data: Analytics and Reporting
Everything you do in marketing needs to be measured; otherwise, you won’t have valuable data that tells you what is working and what is not. Hubspot and Marketo have analytics functionality to track your performance and discern valuable information about prospects and customers. As noted, Marketo does shine in this area.
Hubspot does provide detailed analytics about every tactic you use, but Marketo goes further with predictive analytics and modeling from CRM data and demographics.
Hubspot does allow you to build custom reports so you can zero in on the things that matter most to your brand. This can help you see your return on investment when it comes to marketing efforts based on sales data.
Hubspot and Marketo: Who Comes Out on Top?
In the head-to-head challenge of Hubspot vs. Marketo, the decision you make really depends on where your focus is, how large your user base is, and how technically adept your users are. Hubspot is super easy to use, while Marketo has more of a learning curb. There are both pros and cons to each marketing automation platform. Of course, you may find you’d like an alternative to both of these and go with one of their competitors. Marketing automation will continue to evolve as will Hubspot and Marketo. The most important thing is recognizing what features you will truly use and choose the product that emphasizes those.
What are the Alternatives to Hubspot and Marketo?
Within the industry, it’s pretty clear that Hubspot and Marketo are the leaders; however, that doesn’t mean they are the only marketing automation platforms available. If Hubspot and Marketo don’t seem to meet your needs or budget, there are alternatives. If you are going to seek other platforms, you should be sure that they have the basics available in Hubspot and Marketo, including:
- Landing page creation
- Lead capture forms
- Email marketing
- Lead nurturing
- Social media management
- SEO optimization tools
Now, Hubspot and Marketo have these features and more, but you may not need all the things these platforms offer. Here are some alternatives for consideration:
ActiveCampaignActiveCampaign is affordable yet still has a lot of features. It began as an email marketing platform and has expanded to include marketing automation as well as CRM features. What ActiveCampaign does best is its automation campaigns, which not only allows you to automate emails but also sales and productivity. You may enjoy the pipeline features, which automates deals to different stages based on triggers.
The basic plan starts at just $15 a month, and you can have up to 1,000 contacts for only $70 a month.
Act-On is very similar to Hubspot. It delivers everything needed for a smooth automation program with lead management and scoring to email marketing to landing pages. It does not offer website or blog hosting, but it easily integrates with other CMS platforms.
With its breadth of offerings and the ability to have many users for a decent price, it’s a good option for medium to larger companies.
Ontraport defines itself as a business automation platform, yet it certainly meets the need for marketing automation. It’s popular with online businesses because of its e-commerce features, including order forms, subscriptions, coupons, and more. It also has CRM and more traditional marketing automation functionality including email marketing, landing pages, forms, and reporting.
Have questions about marketing automation? Contact us and we’ll be glad to help.