HubSpot and Marketo are two leading marketing automation software products. Both can create automated marketing campaigns that convert leads into customers with features like landing pages, lead capture forms, and email marketing. However, HubSpot is best for businesses needing a full suite of marketing and sales tools while Marketo is best for enterprise-level email automation.
When to Use HubSpot
HubSpot is best to use if you’re looking for an all-in-one, fully-featured marketing automation platform including a CMS, CRM, landing pages, lead generation forms, and lead qualifying and nurturing tools. HubSpot offers a free, basic version as well as plans up to $800 per month, depending on features and the number of contacts. It is ideal for companies that generate new business primarily through inbound marketing efforts online, such as marketing agencies or professional services firms.
When to Use Marketo
Marketo is an option for companies already using a CRM software to manage a large volume of email leads, like an online retailer, but need a more powerful email automation tool for scalable email marketing. While Marketo is likely out of the price range for most small businesses, it may benefit companies that are primarily focused on large-scale email campaigns to highly-segmented audiences.
When to Use an Alternative Option
Freshmarketer is a good alternative choice for smaller businesses that want to implement marketing automation but don’t need the more advanced features found in HubSpot or Marketo. Additionally, for businesses that already use Freshsales CRM, Freshmarketer offers an intuitive lead capture and nurturing solution, especially for marketing teams with a smaller volume of contacts to manage. Visit their website to sign up for a free trial.
HubSpot vs. Marketo at a Glance
|Ease of Use|
|Lead Capture Forms|
|Automated Lead Qualification|
|Drag & Drop Form/Email Creation|
How We Evaluated HubSpot & Marketo
Marketing automation software provides small businesses with the tools needed to capture leads on their website, qualify and nurture those leads, and convert them into paying customers. We compared Hubspot vs. Marketo on things such as the ability to create marketing workflows, set up and implement a marketing strategy, as well as assessed how much overall marketing value they add for their respective costs.
Specifically, we evaluated both software using the following criteria:
- Affordability/Price – We considered the overall annual cost of implementing these marketing automation options, including setup costs as well as ongoing fees.
- Contact Management – We compared the tools that are built-in to manage contact information and help automate the overall sales process.
- Ease of Use – We evaluated how easy it is to implement and use each software option, both from a strategy and a technical perspective. We also compared the time and effort required to manage the overall marketing automation process.
- Lead Generation Tools – We examined how each option handled the ability to create landing pages and lead contact forms and collect key information in a marketing database.
- Lead Scoring and Nurturing – We compared each provider’s ability to help you evaluate and identify customers most likely to purchase. We also compared how easy or hard they were to set up and how each tool allowed users to design and create specific automation campaigns.
- Email Marketing Tools – We compared how each software tool designed emails and email marketing campaigns, as well as additional email marketing tools based on user-defined criteria for targeted marketing.
- Onboarding Support – We researched the support provided by each provider, including the support offered during setup as well as on an ongoing basis.
We choose HubSpot for small business marketing automation because it is a fully-featured tool that includes a CRM, landing pages, lead generation and nurturing, and email automation. Additionally, HubSpot offers more affordable options for small businesses with smaller contact lists and provides extensive marketing education, training, and resources to users who are new to marketing automation and inbound marketing.
HubSpot vs. Marketo: Pricing & Features
Both HubSpot and Marketo base their pricing on the number of contacts or leads you are managing as well as the bundle of services that fit your needs. There is some overlap in features between the two, but in reality, Marketo is more focused on email automation whereas HubSpot has a wider set of marketing and sales features focused on lead nurturing.
HubSpot has a free basic plan and then charges a monthly fee of $50 or $800, depending on the additional features you need. Each plan includes 1,000 contacts, and additional contacts are $20/1,000 or $50/1,000, depending on which plan you are on. Finally, there is an onboarding fee of $3,000 for the professional plan.
The HubSpot Marketing Hub pricing plans are:
- Free – Includes forms, contact management, contact and company insights, conversations inbox, and live chat. Also includes some reporting dashboards.
- Starter ($50/month) – Eliminates the HubSpot branding from landing pages, and adds both list segmentation and mobile optimization.
- Professional ($800/month + $3,000 onboarding fee) – Adds blog and content creation tools, SEO and social media capabilities, calls to action, landing pages, subdomains, A/B testing, Salesforce integration, and dynamic content that changes based on the lead (requires annual billing).
HubSpot is a fully-featured marketing automation option that includes contact management, email marketing, lead nurturing, as well as social media and content management capabilities. It also has a CRM, something that Marketo doesn’t offer on its own. If you want to check out other options, read our article on Hubspot competitors.
Specific HubSpot features include:
HubSpot builds all of its features around a free CRM hub that includes contact management, Gmail and Outlook integration, forms, email scheduling, tracking, and deals. It seamlessly integrates with the sales and marketing tools and allows you to keep track of all of your customer information in one place. Additionally, HubSpot has a large number of integrations, including Salesforce.
Depending on the package you choose, you have access to additional marketing automation and sales tools that are focused on generating leads, qualifying and nurturing them, and finally converting them to customers. HubSpot provides analytics and data about your contacts and the companies they work for from their own database of over 20 million businesses. Information rolls into your CRM records giving you a valuable tool in prospecting leads.
HubSpot Email Marketing
In addition to integrating with Gmail and Outlook, HubSpot also allows users to create email templates as well as email tracking. Sending emails from the HubSpot CRM enables email tracking, which allows your sales team to see exactly when a lead or customer opened an email, including what action they took.
HubSpot email marketing optimizes each email for mobile devices as well as for various email providers. It also allows you to create dynamic contact lists based on criteria you choose to segment your email campaigns and target them to the right customers. The email designer allows you to create emails with drag-and-drop tools, instead of having to write code. While Marketo does include an email designer, HubSpot’s is more intuitive and easier to use.
HubSpot Social Media
HubSpot includes powerful social media monitoring and publishing tools that give you the ability to monitor the engagement of your leads and create workflows based on social media activity. The Social Media Publishing tool is easy to use and allows you to create scheduled campaigns and posts on all of the major social media networks. It gives you extensive control over creating content and pushing it to the right channels based on your marketing goals.
In addition, the social listening and monitoring tools allow you to focus marketing efforts on leads and customers based on their social media behavior and engagement. Social media activity flows into the social monitoring tools and you can easily create lead workflows based on how your audience is engaging with your brand. Unlike Marketo, these tools are included in the Marketing Hub at no additional fee.
HubSpot Content Management
HubSpot provides a Content Management System, or CMS, which allows you to host a blog or your entire website on their platform, which is optimized for lead generation and smart content. The CMS also allows you to build responsive landing pages that match your website and are designed to capture leads through forms or pop-ups. You can publish content, promote it, and optimize it using powerful SEO analytics tools.
Using the built-in CMS, HubSpot even allows you to change the content your visitors view on your website based on their previous activity, lead score, and demographics. One of the most powerful tools is the ability to publish blog content optimized for your audience.
Because it’s hosted on the HubSpot software, it is seamlessly integrated with HubSpot’s automation tools. If you already host your own blog on software like WordPress, you can simply add HubSpot’s code to integrate the automation and tracking features on your site. HubSpot also integrates with other popular blogging software using their tracking code.
HubSpot Lead Nurturing Workflows
HubSpot allows you to score leads or prospects based on criteria like pages visited, emails opened, form submissions, company, and contact attributes. HubSpot automatically scores your leads based on which ones are most likely to become customers using the information you collect, as well as engagement signals and demographics. While Marketo also includes lead scoring, HubSpot is able to automatically include this information in the built-in CRM.
Creating lead workflows is very natural with HubSpot’s lead flow designer. It makes it easy to visualize how your leads move through your funnel as you develop campaigns and gives you the ability to assign specific lead scoring values based on behavior, demographics, and other criteria that you define. You can use scoring to target marketing efforts like smart content on page, email segments, or trigger notifications to your sales team to make personal contact.
HubSpot Analytics and Reporting
HubSpot organizes its analytics around four areas: traffic analytics—how many people come to your website and how they got there; website analytics—the performance of your landing pages and blog; campaign analytics—overall performance of individual marketing campaigns, as well as overall performance over time; and contact analytics—data about the demographics and behavior of your contact audience.
HubSpot makes it easy to use and understand its analytics tools, and because HubSpot CRM and CMS are built into the product, it’s easy to gather real-time information about your marketing efforts. The reports are easy to generate and easy to use.
Marketo does not disclose their pricing and only provides specifics after you engage with their sales team. Like HubSpot, they charge based on the total number of contacts you manage, and their base marketing automation service starts at around $20,000/year for 10,000 contacts, plus a $6,000 one-time setup fee.
Marketo is in line with comparable enterprise-level options in terms of price. However, there are no entry-level plans for smaller teams or companies with a smaller number of contacts. Marketo also requires annual or semi-annual billing, which can put it out of reach for smaller businesses on a tight budget.
Marketo is an enterprise-level email automation tool that offers advanced email marketing capabilities such as email segmentation and automation. It also offers lead nurturing tools as well as social media management. However, it doesn’t have its own CRM and has fewer content management capabilities when compared to HubSpot.
Specific Marketo features include:
Marketo does not have its own CRM built in. Instead, it’s built on the Salesforce platform and has bi-directional sync with Salesforce (meaning information flows between the software in both directions). However, Marketo also provides integration with other popular CRMs and allows your data to flow into your CRM to keep your contact information up to date with your marketing efforts.
Marketo Email Marketing
Marketo includes advanced email automation, allowing you to create long-tail email marketing campaigns. It also includes precise A/B testing, giving you the ability to test variables like subject line, date and time sent, who the email is from, and even the content of the email itself. Marketo’s email designer is drag-and-drop, but it’s less intuitive than HubSpot’s. It does, however, provide extremely detailed campaign automation workflows once you get them set up.
“We originally got Marketo for its email automation feature. Our sales reps were extremely busy and sometimes we lost opportunities because we took too long to respond to email leads. With email automation, we were able to create tailored automated responses whenever a customer submits a query.”
Phillip Livingston Digital Marketing Specialist at Condo Control Central
Marketo Social Media
Marketo also has social media tools that allow you to publish content across all of your social channels, as well as create streams to monitor and listen for social media activity among your leads and customers. Marketo also incorporates social media sharing and social sign-in for lead generation purposes, making it easy for leads to complete forms. With Marketo, these features require subscriptions to additional software modules, adding cost and complexity.
Marketo Content Management
Marketo does not have a fully-featured CMS built in, but it does have the ability to create lead forms and place those on your existing site. However, unlike HubSpot, you aren’t able to create the content and host pages, or your site, within Marketo. There are integrations that you can use, and because Marketo was acquired by Adobe, there are other options available.
Marketo Lead Nurturing Workflows
Marketo calls its lead nurturing process the “engagement engine.” This tool allows you to score leads based on variables like demographics, behavior (such as downloading a guide or visiting a page), action taken by sales team members, or other criteria you define. Like HubSpot, the scoring takes place automatically and can trigger specific marketing activities such as sending an alert to a salesperson or delivering a specific marketing email to the contact.
Marketo Analytics and Reporting
Marketo offers a robust set of reporting features that include information about lead activity, predictive scoring, and conversions based on specific marketing activities. This allows you to track and measure which marketing efforts are leading to sales revenue down the line. This can be useful in evaluating the overall marketing-to-sales funnel performance and can help businesses make important strategic decisions about the right marketing activities.
HubSpot vs. Marketo: Ease of Use
Both HubSpot and Marketo are fully-featured software suites that allow you to create marketing workflows. Both offer onboarding and support to help implement the software into your marketing efforts, but both require time and an investment in people who will regularly manage your marketing campaigns to take full advantage of the advanced features.
HubSpot Ease of Use
HubSpot is comparatively easy to use, considering how powerful the software is. It takes time to think through and build your overall strategy, but the visual flow designer makes it easy to see how your campaigns will work. All of the important features allow you to drag and drop segments into your workflow and make changes on the fly. HubSpot’s overall interface is easy to navigate, and everything is where you’d expect to find it.
“When we originally compared HubSpot with other CRMs, we liked the “do-it-yourself” nature that HubSpot offered. We also liked the content strategy tool, which allows you to get insights on domain authority and keywords for SEO purposes. Ultimately, we felt that HubSpot was the most user-friendly CRM we researched. They also offer a variety of training videos, including inbound marketing, social media, email marketing, and more.”
Kelly Schuknecht, Marketing Manager – www.summitcpa.net
Marketo Ease of Use
Marketo is an enterprise-level marketing automation tool with advanced email marketing workflows. Most companies that use it have dedicated marketing specialists with an IT background involved in setting up and managing the software on a day-to-day basis. Marketo’s software is complex and powerful, but the user interface is much less intuitive than HubSpot’s.
HubSpot vs. Marketo: Support & Customer Service
Both HubSpot and Marketo are well-established companies with exceptional support. In addition to training and extensive knowledge bases, both companies foster loyal followings that regularly share best practices across both end-users and partners/agencies that sell to other businesses.
HubSpot Support & Customer Service
HubSpot’s customer service is pretty legendary. While phone, email, and chat support are limited to their paid plans, they have a massive user community that includes support forums staffed by expert-level HubSpot users and partners that are available to all customers, including those on the Free plan. HubSpot also offers extensive onboarding support and training for their Professional Plan users to help you get set up and running your marketing campaigns.
Marketo Support & Customer Service
Marketo offers support via phone, email, and live chat. In addition, Marketo has an exhaustive knowledge base for users, and a support portal to access either self-help tools or submit a support request. Marketo recently became a part of Adobe and their customers now benefit from these resources behind their support efforts.
Marketo also provides new customers with onboarding support, including access to a dedicated implementation consultant who helps walk you through the technical setup as well as the overall marketing strategy.
HubSpot vs. Marketo: Customer Reviews
User reviews of both products are generally positive and mention how the software helps them better target their marketing efforts and how both help automate the process of generating and developing leads so that they can focus their sales efforts on the most valuable prospects. However, some customers express the opinion that both software products require a lot of time and energy to get the maximum benefit.
HubSpot Customer Reviews
HubSpot customers are largely positive about their experience, especially the way HubSpot allows them to eliminate several separate marketing tools for the all-in-one approach included with the Marketing Hub. They also rave about the content that HubSpot produces to help users implement inbound marketing in their business. However, users do say that it can get expensive for businesses with a large number of leads. For more information, check out our customer reviews of HubSpot.
Marketo Customer Reviews
Marketo customers especially like how integrated the various automation tools are, enabling them to build multi-channel campaigns within the same overall platform. Users also like the large number of integrations with other tools like CRM, although they note Marketo does not have its own built-in version. However, users also note that the user interface is dated compared to other options.
When comparing HubSpot and Marketo, HubSpot is the best choice for most small businesses looking for a fully-featured marketing automation software that is easy to implement and use. It offers the best combination of overall marketing features, ease of use, and training, and its pricing packages provide options with a range of features that make it affordable for most marketing budgets.
However, businesses looking for a more entry-level marketing automation tool and who already use another CRM may want to consider an alternative option like Freshmarketer. Freshmarketer offers the basic marketing automation features found in HubSpot, but at a much lower price. There is a free plan as well as a $99/month plan that includes Form and Funnel Analytics, A/B testing, and heatmaps. To learn more or sign up for a free trial, visit their website.