Hubspot vs. Marketo: A Head-to-Head Comparison

July 15th, 2021 Posted by Growth Marketing

The software options to choose from in the marketing automation space can feel overwhelming, but two that often rise to the top as viable considerations are HubSpot and Marketo. While both platforms aim to provide a multitude of marketing tools to help attract and engage with new customers, they may be better suited for different types of businesses and audiences. Within this post, we pit HubSpot vs. Marketo and take a look at their strengths and shortcomings to help you make a more informed decision on which platform to choose.

What Is HubSpot?

HubSpot defines itself as a “marketing, sales, and service software that helps your business grow without compromise.” The HubSpot platform offers a complete customer relationship management (CRM) platform that assists with accelerating sales, streamlining customer service, increasing the number of leads, and even provides a CMS platform for developing websites that feature dynamic content and incremental form integration. Many of these tools can be used individually as needed, or together across different teams within an organization such as Marketing, Sales, Service, and Operations. By having multiple teams utilizing HubSpot, all parties are working off the same system of record and can easily collaborate within the software to deliver positive results for the business and its customers.

Key Benefits of HubSpot

  • All-in-one platform: HubSpot is an all-in-one platform for marketing automation, sales management, content management systems (CMS), and helpdesk automation. While the tools that it offers in each category are extensive, categories can be purchased individually to help meet the most pressing needs of a given business. Since all of HubSpot’s tools are integrated and compatible with one another, using it for cross-functional efficiencies can be highly beneficial for delivering a remarkable customer experience.
  • Built-in CRM system: HubSpot offers a built-in CRM system that is driven by a singular database that can be shared across various functions in a company. This makes for a seamless handoff of responsibilities across teams, and ensures that each team is empowered with up-to-date information on the customer and their position within a company’s funnel. Customer communications can also be organized and tracked, including past conversations, support tickets, deals, and more. Tasks can also be assigned to follow-up with a customer to further improve their experience.
  • Ideal for inbound marketing: The HubSpot marketing hub allows businesses to more effectively create meaningful relationships with their customers and prospects through valuable and meaningful content and experiences. HubSpot clearly identifies the phases within an inbound strategy as “attract, engage, and delight” and they have built their tools to support this approach. This model is intended to give brands the necessary momentum to drive referrals and repeat sales within their business.
  • A full suite of blogging tools: As fresh, traffic-driving content is important to attract and convert customers, one benefit of using HubSpot is its blog software. HubSpot offers a clean platform to draft and format blog posts and automatically optimizes them for mobile. It offers collaborative editing features to allow multiple team members to share feedback. HubSpot also boasts built-in SEO tools to deliver on-page SEO recommendations in order to improve the content for searchability. Users can set posts to publish in advance and even share blog posts directly to social media or dedicated email lists. It is also fairly easy to track the performance of each post with HubSpot’s analytics, which can help inform future content decisions.
  • Price flexibility: HubSpot provides limited free versions of each core segment (Marketing, CRM & Sales, Customer Service, CMS) of the platform. These free versions come with solid tools that help users get a feel for the HubSpot software before ever upgrading to the paid features. This also is not a free trial – the free features are totally free with no time limit restrictions. Beyond the free tools, HubSpot allows users to pay for “Starter,” “Professional,” or “Enterprise” Packages within each individual core segment, or a user can bundle each segment’s “Starter,” “Professional,” or “Enterprise” Packages together for a highly discounted price.
  • A/B testing: For Enterprise customers, HubSpot allows marketers to conduct A/B testing for their marketing efforts, including email campaigns, calls-to-action, and landing pages. By leveraging HubSpot’s analytics, marketers can assess which test performed better and optimize their communication approach accordingly.

Key Disadvantages of HubSpot

While HubSpot offers many marketing tools and resources to nurture leads and meet a wide range of business needs, there are some drawbacks worth considering.

  • Better for mid-size companies: Given the monthly cost of HubSpot as well as the need for sales and marketing teams with enough employee bandwidth to dig into the resources available within HubSpot’s single-system platform, HubSpot’s premium packages may be better suited for SMBs with higher revenues ($5M or more annual revenue) and more personnel resources. That being said, even the free resources and starter packages offer some notable value for smaller businesses.
  • There are better individual tools out there: Although HubSpot delivers a highly integrated and user-friendly marketing platform, alternative tools may be better at specific tasks. For instance, HubSpot offers landing pages within their marketing platform, but a service such as Leadpages may be a preferred resource for that individual tool. Depending on the needs of a business, opting for individual (separate) tools may be beneficial and potentially cheaper. However, this fragmented approach falls short of the collaboration and cross-functional visibility that HubSpot offers.


What Is Marketo?

Marketo delivers a software suite of tools that were designed by marketers for marketers. It helps businesses create, deploy, and automate marketing campaigns that capture and engage leads. It encompasses the use and management of email marketing, inbound marketing, event marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and more. Marketo also helps attract better leads, convert leads into customers, and determine if leads need to be nurtured more or if they are ready to be handed over to the sales team. Marketo also provides visibility across all marketing efforts to determine what is working well and what is not, including how campaigns have influenced deals at each stage during the customer journey.

Key Advantages of Marketo

  • Automation meets personalization: Lead nurturing (the process of developing relationships within each stage of a sales funnel) should be a key consideration of any marketing automation solution. Marketo excels with marketing automation, which works hand-in-hand with its lead management and content personalization system. In fact, marketing programs within Marketo can be set up to automatically deliver a personalized customer experience to each individual buyer. Through customer insights, content can be served with laser precision by leveraging the power of fit, intent, engagement, CRM activity, and offline data behind it. This allows Marketo to deliver dynamic content that nurtures leads automatically until they are ready to engage. All users have to do is drag content into their campaign’s stream within Marketo, and it takes care of delivering it to the right person at the right time based on their individual profile and actions that they take. It will even let the marketing team know where there is no additional content remaining in the sequence. Marketo also uses AI to learn, predict, and recommend the best content for each visitor or email recipient to ensure the highest chances of conversion.
  • Turning data into dollars: Through data-driven engagement, Marketo is an exceptional lead management tool. Marketo offers a holistic view of prospect, customer, and engagement data to establish an informed foundation to work from. By better understanding their customers and leveraging strategies such as A/B testing and segmentation, Marketo can help drive conversions and keep customers engaged. Even website experiences can be personalized with Marketo, and visitors can also be re-targeted across the web in order to stay top of mind when it comes to future purchase decisions.
  • Cleared for landing pages: Marketo gives users the ability to create customizable guided landing pages and lead generation form templates. They allow users to easily modify the appearance to align with their brand, and update the images and copy for whatever the campaign calls for. Portions of the guided landing page templates can be toggled on or off for even more flexibility within the editor. Additionally, tokens can be leveraged to add a layer of personalization to the landing page that is specific to the browsing customer.
  • Mobile Integrations: Marketo offers a mobile software development kit for both Android and iOS. This allows users to integrate their existing campaign journey, audience segmentation, and connected channels to trigger push notifications based on behavior, data, and location of customers. Additionally, Marketo has a full suite of automated text messaging capabilities that can be segmented for focused mobile marketing and sales efforts.
  • Detailed Analytics: Within Marketo’s suite of marketing software is Bizible — a robust marketing analytics platform. This allows clients to unify their marketing data automatically, measure the effectiveness of each point on the customer journey, and present campaign results using sharable pre-built dashboards or focusing on select groups of data if more focused information needs to be conveyed. Multi-touch revenue attribution is also part of the Marketo analytics software, allowing businesses to optimize their sequences and invest in the areas that have been proven to drive the highest ROI.

Key Disadvantages of Marketo

  • Not recommended as a CRM: Marketo offers CRM integration using the Salesforce platform or Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This means that additional costs may be associated with getting all of the necessary features out of Marketo, and businesses should be aware that Marketo is not a standalone CRM solution prior to purchasing. Still, once the data has been integrated, Marketo will sync both lead and account-level CRM data which users can leverage across all of Marketo.
  • Significant learning curve: As a robust marketing automation platform, Marketo’s learning curve is rather steep. Depending on a business’ needs with the software, it is possible that they may require a dedicated IT member or a specialist to manage the initial integration and onboarding process. This can lead to more significant costs beyond the price of Marketo itself.
  • Pricing: There is some ambiguity around Marketo pricing, as they do not publicly share their rates and instead require you to contact sales for more information. They do, however, scale their pricing based on the plan and number of leads on the account – so the larger the operation the higher the cost. Because of this Marketo may not be an affordable option for some.
  • Dated interface: Marketo is powerful and effective, but many feel as though the software is not aesthetically pleasing. Its design also makes it somewhat difficult to navigate if the user is not already familiar with the platform. While this will not be a deal-breaker for most, it is worth mentioning as a common complaint of Marketo.

Marketo vs. HubSpot: Which Is the Better Fit for Your Business?

Choose HubSpot If:

…your business requires a comprehensive marketing tool that is easy to use and includes a built-in CRM. HubSpot is the better option for those focusing on inbound marketing, as well as smaller businesses that can use HubSpot’s smaller packages with flexible pricing options. HubSpot also helps companies refine their content strategy, and is ideal for businesses that need marketing automation software that encourages cross-team collaboration. It is a great option for those who may be less tech-savvy, as they have a dedicated support team who is available to help resolve issues as they come up.

Choose Marketo If:

…your business already has a Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration. Marketo is an excellent marketing automation platform for B2B businesses, especially for account-based marketing, content personalization, and email marketing.  Marketo is a great option for clearly identifying prospects and converting them into customers. Large companies with internal IT teams are be good fits for using Marketo.