Choosing the right tech for your business is no small (or easy) feat.
It's certainly a decision that needs thorough research and a great understanding of your business goals, strategy and direction.
If you know what these are, it will be an easier decision to make. You're looking for a tool to help you achieve just that.
So the question becomes; what tools get you there?
In doing my research for this piece, I wanted to unpack what kind of questions business owners, executives and CTOs ask when embarking on tech purchases. This is what my research uncovered:
- What does it cost?
- What are the key feature differences?
- What can it integrate with?
- What is the user experience (UX) like?
- What reporting features are there?
In this blog, we unpack HubSpot vs Marketo according to the 5 key elements mentioned above.
But, before we get started let’s differentiate between the two giants:
What is HubSpot?
To understand HubSpot, what it is and what it can do, we first need to understand what the inbound methodology is.
Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences that are tailored to them, and their needs. - HubSpot
Inbound ‘is based on building meaningful, lasting relationships with your prospects and customers through valuable content and experiences, and empowering people to reach their goals at any stage in their journey with you.’ - HubSpot
HubSpot then is a cloud-based CRM that was built to power this methodology.
It houses all marketing, sales, content management and customer service needs in one central place. HubSpot’s suite of tools is aimed at making it easier for you to market, sell and create customer experiences that elevate your brand.
What is Marketo?
Adobe Marketo Engage (in 2018 Marketo was acquired by Adobe) is a comprehensive marketing automation tool that was built to help marketers ‘engage prospects and customers with its amazing capabilities such as lead generation, management and nurturing; email marketing; ABM; and web-activity tracking.’
It’s a comprehensive marketing automation tool that “centralises marketing assets to help businesses better target and execute marketing campaigns”.
According to Technology Advice: “Marketo primarily makes marketing-automation tools for enterprise and B2B clients, while HubSpot caters to growing companies of all types.”
In understanding each of these solutions are, we’re able to more accurately dive into pricing, and core features and functionality.
So let’s get started;
Let’s take a closer look at the different pricing tiers and what each can offer your business.
What does HubSpot cost?
The basic marketing package is free. We do, however, recommend moving up to one of the paid tiers to benefit from HubSpot as your CRM.
HubSpot has 3 pricing tiers and each has different features and functionality.
- Starter. $50 per month. (The features at this tier are very limited and not recommended if you’re looking to really grow with your CRM.)
- Professional. $890 per month.
- Enterprise. Costs a whopping $3200 per month!
For a comprehensive breakdown of HubSpot pricing take a look 👉 here.
What does Marketo cost?
The Marketo pricing page doesn’t list any hard figures as pricing is dependant on your contact database and feature requirements.
According to Marketing Automation Insider, you can expect to pay roughly $895 for 2.5k contacts and full-feature pricing is approximately, $3 195 per month. This will, of course, fluctuate as you decide on the features you require from the tool.
They have 4 pricing tiers, which are differentiated by feature:
What are the key feature differences between HubSpot and Marketo?
It’s important to understand what key features your business is looking for in a CRM. There are many similar features that HubSpot and Marketo share, (albeit different functionality), but there are many differences too.
A great place to start is to unpack a few of the key feature differences to help you make sense of these vast tools and their capabilities.
Social media management
HubSpot’s social media management tool allows you to post social posts from the same place you’re building campaigns, creating content, nurturing leads and making sales.
The tool allows you to publish content directly to “LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can connect your social accounts to your blog to automatically share content as it’s published. You can also set up keyword monitoring and link every post to a central campaign for holistic reporting.”
The reporting features, however, are not as comprehensive as they could be. You can read more about where we think the reporting features are lacking 👉 here.
They do not have a native social-media platform. Marketo does, however, integrate with leading social-media-management software such as Hootsuite, Sprinklr and Oktopost.
Their integration with Hootsuite enterprise allows for deep social media reporting and analytics. This allows you to accurately report on social media campaigns and performance.
This is a bit of a drawback, integrated marketing campaigns today, require social media distribution, I would say this is an opportunity for Marketo to look into.
HubSpot comes without the need for integration to manage your social media, it’s difficult to get your head around why you’d opt for a tool that doesn’t house social media natively.
Code, who needs code?
The drag-and-drop page editors throughout the HubSpot tool (website pages, landing pages and emails), have made it easy for just about anybody to build beautiful marketing assets whenever they need them without the need for coding expertise.
All of your templates will have been set up inside of HubSpot during your onboarding process, so it’s as simple as “clone” and build.
Of course, any further customisation to the template might require a HubSpot developer, who will need to be proficient in HubL (HubSpot’s unique coding environment).
Their software is a little harder to navigate and often requires IT knowledge and developer resources to use properly.
Marketo had initially dropped the drag-and-drop functionality as it “was not compatible with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines”. Since then Marketo has brought this feature back into their product but you still require coding basics to edit things like landing pages.
This makes building marketing assets a little more time-consuming but if time, IT and development resources aren’t a concern then great.
A CRM system is used to manage all your businesses’ relationships with new and existing customers. I love this definition from Salesforce:
“ The goal of a CRM system is simple: Improve business relationships to grow your business. CRM tools help you manage customer relationships across the entire customer lifecycle”
“HubSpot is a complete CRM platform with all the tools you need to grow better — whether you want to increase leads, accelerate sales, streamline customer service, or build a powerful website.”
Their suite of tools is hosted in a centralised hub that makes it easy for marketing, sales and customer service teams to streamline activity.
Marketo is a marketing-automation platform, used by marketers to power marketing activities. There is no CRM.
Marketo does, however, integrate with the Salesforce CRM which provides your business with the kind of customer data that should inform your marketing strategies.
Now there are pros and cons to both (and perhaps too many to list here comprehensively - another blog perhaps?)
There are sentiments that suggest with HubSpot housing everything in one central place might be offering your business less flexibility in the tools it actually needs and uses. Marketo, on the other hand, powers your marketing activity but anything outside of that will require an integration (at an additional cost).
According to SEMRush “on average, companies who blog produce 67% more leads per month, and companies who utilise blogging for marketing purposes see 13 times the ROI of businesses that don’t.”
It’s fair to then say, that blogging is an effective strategy for establishing brand awareness and generating leads.
HubSpot has a blogging platform natively housed within the tool. This streamlines your content-creation process into one centralised platform, from blogs to social media, email marketing and paid media.
HubSpot also boasts the content-strategy tool to help you build out topic clusters; just like this 👇
You can read more about topic clusters 👉 here.
The tool also houses on-page SEO recommendations to make sure every post you publish is optimised for search. You can easily insert Call-To-Actions to promote conversion.
Marketo does not have a blogging platform and would need a CMS integration, which, of course, will come in at an additional cost. Common CMS integrations include WordPress and Contentful.
What does the Integration landscape look like?
Integrations are becoming increasingly important as many businesses are looking to streamline their tech stacks in ways that are intuitive and automated.
Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot, spoke a lot towards this effect at the opening keynote of INBOUND this year. He implored the importance of businesses needing to find ways to remove, what he termed, “Frankensystems” cobbled and patched together pieces of technology. This patched technology often takes more work, effort and resources to merely use, and detracts from you actually doing the great work your business should be doing.
You can watch the INBOUND spotlight 👉 here to find out more.
Understanding the integration landscape upfront allows you to determine which software might be best-suited for your existing tech stack.
HubSpot has nearly 400 integrations and that’s only set to grow. They also boast over 900 apps in their app marketplace. This is will continue growing, in fact, it’s estimated that the app economy surrounding HubSpot is a $4.2 billion dollar opportunity.
You can head over to the app marketplace here to take look at the hundreds of apps that are available.
According to Growth Natives, Marketo boasts over 550 integration partners. This is a huge network that will allow you to build a MarTech stack that matches your business goals.
*It’s important to know what integrations you need before getting started. If you require any custom integrations you can factor that time and cost into your onboarding timeline.
What is the User Experience (UX) like?
You might be thinking why would UX be included as a top consideration, well, you’d be surprised that it’s actually a huge consideration when buying any software.
According to Software Advice;
“Most small businesses focus almost exclusively on cost, features and services when shopping for a CRM. Make sure usability is a key concern when shopping to save time, money and headaches down the line.”
HubSpot boasts an easy-to-use platform and is frequently rated very highly in this category. Take a look 👉 here.
The drag-and-drop editors make it easy for anybody in your team to build landing pages and emails with ease.
The Marketo interface is known to have a steep learning curve. It requires an IT team and dev department to be able to set the tool up properly.
It’s not as intuitive as HubSpot but Marketo is constantly adding updates to their UI for a more seamless experience, especially for users switching between the Adobe suite of tools.
What are the reporting and analytics features like?
Reporting and analytics are incredibly important to consider, so make sure you understand what features your business is looking for upfront.
HubSpot’s reporting and analytics features have really come a long way since we became partners back in 2017.
They now boast the custom report builder for all Pro and Enterprise customers.
There is a reporting template library for out-of-the-box reporting. You can also create up to 300 custom reports using all your HubSpot data to tailor your reporting to the insights your business needs.
Marketo has a host of standard reporting features across its marketing tools. Each of these reports can be customised to suit your business.
Marketo also boasts a Performance Insights report, which is an add-on feature set to give you a 360-degree view of your marketing channels and programmes. These dashboards can be configured and customised to your requirements.
HubSpot vs Marketo, which is better for you?
It’s important to bear in mind that direct comparisons are meant to help guide you through your purchasing process. They are, however, two different solutions with a host of functionality that meet differing needs for different businesses.
The answer, ultimately, takes us back to the start of the piece, what are you looking to accomplish with tools like HubSpot and Marketo? Where is your business headed and what are the goals you need to achieve to get there?