April 15, 2015

Hubspot vs. Marketo: A Side-by-Side Comparison

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Word has it, marketing automation (MA) software is about to get big—really big. Thought leaders and industry analysts predict that MA software will soon make sense on a broad scale and gain hundreds of thousands of followers. Research firm Frost & Sullivan values the current market at $550 million, but expects that number to reach $1.9 billion by 2020.

Word has it, automation software is about to get big — really big

Even now, marketing automation vendors are racing to stake their claim in the future market, and like the land rushes of the old west, acreage is up for grabs. These vendors will court you and your business. They will say that their product is the world’s best, the highest performing, the crowd favorite. And since there aren’t a lot of niche players yet, you’ll be faced with a decision between a small handful of best-in-class solutions, which makes it even more difficult.

One of the most common marketing automation faceoffs is HubSpot vs Marketo. These two cloud-based industry leaders both have strong customer bases, high satisfaction scores, and a lot of overlap in features. But they aren’t the same. That’s why we built this side-by-side comparison chart: to help you understand their strengths and weaknesses, and choose the best solution for your company.

Systems and Pricing

Marketo’s system is broken down into four discrete modules: marketing automation, consumer engagement, real-time personalization, and marketing management. These modules can be purchased separately or combined to form an integrated suite. This lets you create a custom solution for your needs, but some businesses may prefer a more unified system. Beyond that, Marketo’s modules are priced in tiers according to scale: Spark (for smaller companies), Standard, Select, and Enterprise.

Unlike Marketo, HubSpot offers all of its features and capabilities through a single system with sales applications available as free add-ons. An all-in-one solution is attractive to many buyers since it provides seamless functionality and is priced as a single unit. HubSpot also offers a number of pre-built integrations with popular business apps to allow for further customization. Their core product is priced in three tiers according to scale and functionality: Basic, Professional, and Enterprise.

For smaller businesses, HubSpot is the more affordable option. Their entry-level product is significantly less expensive than Marketo’s “Spark” edition, although Marketo does offer quarterly pricing to help distribute the cost. For enterprise use, Hubspot and Marketo are more comparable in price, but Marketo is still more expensive. Especially since most businesses will need more than one module to be effective.

How They’re Similar

Despite some distinct differences (which we’ll get to in a moment), there are a few areas where Marketo and HubSpot overlap, in terms of function and use case.

Both are designed to help companies build out their marketing strategies across multiple channels, whether it be web, email, or social media. To that end, both platforms have built-in email campaigns with delivery optimization tools, event-based triggers, lead-nurturing, and A/B testing. Both platforms can monitor and analyze web traffic, and both platforms can track and manage social marketing efforts.

hubspot vs marketo comparison chart

How They’re Different

The chart above shows a detailed comparison of specs and features, and as you may notice, a handful are exclusive to one product or the other. But there are a lot of internal differentiators between HubSpot and Marketo that aren’t addressed by a surface-level features comparison. For starters, Marketo has traditionally been more associated with B2B marketing because of their deeper focus on lead nurturing, while HubSpot’s solution focuses primarily on inbound, B2C (business-to-customer) marketing. Here are some other areas where users will notice key differences between the two products.

Ease of Use

Since Marketo specializes in custom solutions for enterprises, their software tends to require more IT knowledge to operate. If you have a dedicated MA specialist or employ a marketing technologist with MA software experience, this may not be a problem for your business, and you’ll appreciate the depth of features Marketo offers. On the other hand, if you’re trying to learn marketing automation for the first time and need a solution that gives you simple, intuitive access to a wide range of marketing functions, you might be better off with HubSpot. In the software industry, ease-of-use is a powerful asset, as evidenced by its impact on user satisfaction and a product’s viability. For this and other reasons, HubSpot’s average user rating across software review sites is over half a point higher than Marketo’s.

CRM Integration

In many ways, marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) are mutually dependent. That’s why most businesses shop for an MA solution that integrates with their CRM or vice versa. HubSpot offers its own built-in CRM, as well as basic integrations with popular systems such as Salesforce, Sugar, MS Dynamics, and Zoho, among others. While Marketo doesn’t provide a built-in CRM module, their product was built using the Salesforce platform, which means they offer some of the best Salesforce integration in the industry. They also offer native integrations for MS Dynamics and SAP, and certified integrations for Netsuite, Oracle, and SugarCRM.

Analytics

Successful marketing is driven by insight, and insight comes from data— data about customers, content, engagement, and business deliverables. A marketing automation solution without practical data analytics tools is little more than an email robot. Both Marketo and HubSpot give marketers and managers access to a set of powerful analytics tools for tracking campaign programs and pulling reports. That said, Marketo’s analytics seem to provide deeper, more strategic visibility. For example, the Success Path Analyzer shows the correlation between marketing efforts and revenue fluctuation over time. You can even perform predictive analytics and modeling based on digital behavior patterns, content preferences, CRM data, and firmographics.  

Conclusion

There are some clear distinctions between Marketo’s “engagement marketing platform” and HubSpot’s “inbound marketing software.” Globally, HubSpot serves about 13,000 companies, compared to Marketo’s 3,300, but that disparity has a lot to do with the kind of customers each solution attracts. If you’re a small to mid-size business looking to bring more visitors to your site and nurture leads without the high learning curve of enterprise software, you might be better served by HubSpot. If you’re a larger B2B company looking for a custom-built solution to align prospect engagement with business goals, you should consider Marketo.

Then again, these aren’t the only two fish in the sea. New products continue to appear in the market, each with a slightly different feature set than its competitors. For more help narrowing down your options, use the product selection tool on our site to get a custom list of solutions that match your business needs.  

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4 Comments

  1. Mark

    This is a helpful article. I’m currently evaluating both Marketo and Hubspot. Decision to be made by end of month. We’re B2B, but the ease of use is key. Good to see what the features are in each package.

  2. Rebekkah

    Nice high-level analysis of the two solutions. One small detail I would like to correct in your comparison chart is that Marketo *does* offer transactional emails (called “Operational” emails), which have always been part of the solution. This is not a new feature by any means.

  3. Gwen

    Thank you for this detailed comparison! The downside of these two is that the pricing for their packages with combined features may not be too small-business friendly. I started my online business last September and have just used the marketing automation MyConversionBrain.com for 2 months now and it has drastically improved how my small sales team handles our leads – without the hefty price tag. Being able to track our leads, where they are located and which website pages they browse helps us determine what their needs are and which marketing method works or not. It’s really easy to maintain an effective marketing automation platform that is affordable. Works well for me.