HubSpot and Marketo are the #1 and #2 marketing automation software companies in the world, respectively.
While, according to SimilarTech, Marketo is used on almost 33,000 websites, HubSpot is active on over 96,000 websites and it is the most commonly used marketing automation software across more countries and industries.
Note: when this article was first published in July 2016, Marketo was listed as used on almost 35,000 websites and HubSpot on over 76,000 websites. Over the last few years, HubSpot adoption has increased significantly, while Marketo adoption has actually decreased.
But that doesn't mean you should count Marketo out.
Marketo is a well-established platform that marketers would be wise to consider when deciding which marketing automation software to use to implement their inbound marketing strategies.
So, how do you decide which one is right for you?
Many of the shared features are fairly similar on both Marketo and HubSpot, so in this article, we're going to focus on the areas where the two stand apart the most.
Let's jump into a head-to-head comparison of HubSpot and Marketo.
The best thing about HubSpot is that it's a true all-in-one inbound marketing machine. After all, HubSpot is responsible for pioneering the inbound methodology so commonly used by today’s digital marketers, so it stands to reason it would have a platform built for just that.
From building your website to closing leads, HubSpot can do everything you need for a comprehensive inbound marketing campaign. In addition, over the last several years, HubSpot has developed into not only a marketing platform but a sales and customer service platform as well.
If you’re looking for a software platform that manages the entire lifecycle of your contacts, HubSpot can give you that with its three integrated Hubs (Marketing, Sales and Service).
If you're looking for an end-to-end solution, you won't find anything better than HubSpot, but there's a lot to love about Marketo, as well.
Where Marketo really shines is in its advanced analytics and email workflows. If you have a strong IT background, you'll enjoy getting your hands on the software and digging into the selection of advanced features.
Large enterprises that require intricate email campaigns across a wide variety of customer bases are able to customize their email marketing in great detail with Marketo.
Speaking of large enterprises - one of Marketo’s strengths is that it’s built for large businesses with the ability to add up to hundreds of thousands of leads in the system. This means that many of the features and tools are built for handling mass quantities of leads and complex marketing processes.
Another feature-set that Marketo users love is its mobile optimization tools - with a mobile app to use Marketo on-the-go as well as tools for making sure assets created in Marketo are optimized for mobile devices.
No one's perfect -- and no marketing automation software is perfect either.
For a long time, HubSpot's biggest drawback was that it initially catered more towards small and medium-sized businesses. Its easy-to-use and learn software allowed almost anyone to pick it up and get right to work - something that appealed strongly to its SMB audience - but if your organization was more enterprise level, often times you’d find that you’d need something more robust.
However, with HubSpot’s release of the Enterprise level tools in 2018, this drawback is becoming less and less of an issue. While HubSpot is still self-admittedly focused on small, medium, and mid-market businesses, its toolset is now robust enough for some enterprise-level organizations.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of Marketo is the initial learning curve required to get started using the software. Whereas HubSpot was designed for SMBs, Marketo is better suited for larger companies with a dedicated IT department (although marketers with a technical background shouldn't have too much trouble).
Another potential drawback to Marketo (although it still remains to be seen!) is that it was purchased by Adobe in September 2018. Things like Marketo’s partnership with Google, current pricing model, and Adobe’s pre-existing Marketing Cloud product could all be changing in the near future. To be determined if that will be for the better!
The user experience with both HubSpot and Marketo really comes down to preference.
Both software platforms have an attractive user interface with intuitive dashboards and navigation, but unlike Marketo, HubSpot's tools provide more step-by-step instructions as you're using them, so anyone (layman or IT expert) can hit the ground running.
In the last two years, HubSpot has updated the user interface for its entire platform to make it even more user-friendly and quick to learn, and has significantly increased its investment into research and development to continue to improve its product set.
If you need DEEP analytics and workflow functionality for your enterprise, you may prefer the Marketo experience. On the other hand, if you want an easy-to-use software to handle ALL of your inbound needs with ease, you'll feel right at home with HubSpot.
Support and Training:
Although both have strong support communities, HubSpot has an undeniable edge.
With free phone support and thousands of tutorials and documents in the Academy, HubSpot has significantly more resources for not only using the software but for inbound marketing (and sales) in general.
The good news is that HubSpot has email and live chat support right within your portal, so you can talk to a customer support rep and get your questions answered quickly (as long as one is available!).
Unfortunately for Marketo, a lot of online reviews claim that the company's support is very hit-or-miss. Specifically, it can be difficult to get someone on the phone, but when you do get a hold of the right person, the reviews indicate that service is great.
In addition to phone support, both companies offer paid training if you would like someone to coach you one-on-one, as well as many text-based resources, including:
Marketo and HubSpot both have their own respective “University” and “Academy” that are dedicated to helping customers learn the tools and become better marketers. Both platforms have certification courses you can complete, and HubSpot even has individual lessons and courses not just about the software, but about other inbound strategies and methodologies.
Marketo boasts two native CRM integrations: Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, as well as integrations with SugarCRM, NetSuite, Oracle, and SAP Cloud for Sales.
HubSpot, on the other hand, only has one native integration: Salesforce, and if you’re looking to integrate with other CRMs you’ll likely have to set up a custom integration or have one built for you.
If your organization uses Salesforce, you will appreciate the fact that Marketo was built using the Salesforce platform and integrates very comprehensively.
Don’t rule HubSpot out if you’re a Salesforce organization, though. Salesforce is the only outside CRM that HubSpot has a native integration with, and it can be set up and synced in minutes.
HubSpot does have its own free CRM that is built right into the platform (no additional integration necessary!), which means CRM data can be accessed and used in all the Hubs in a way that serves the needs of most new businesses and many small to medium-sized businesses.
Content Management Platform:
When it comes to content, HubSpot and Marketo offer very different solutions.
HubSpot offers a popular Content Management System (CMS) that you can build your entire website on.
Don’t want to move your entire website to HubSpot? No problem! You can still create landing pages and blog posts on a subdomain in HubSpot and integrate them with the rest of your site.
While Marketo offers landing page tools, unfortunately, it doesn't have a native CMS or blogging platform, so you will have to use your own website platform for your blog pages and then integrate it with Marketo’s marketing automation software. (We actually compare WordPress to HubSpot's blogging software in an eBook; check that out!)
By contrast, HubSpot allows you to host your blog on its platform (CMS), draft and publish posts easily with an on-page editor, add calls-to-action, and has built-in SEO tools to help you rank higher in search engines.
Social Media Marketing:
Social media is as much a part of most people's daily routines as having a cup of coffee, so it's only natural that marketers want a platform that enables them to make the most out of it.
HubSpot has been a big advocate of social media marketing since the platform was first released and online reviews (G2 Crowd) give the company a significant edge over Marketo across the board in terms of social monitoring, sharing, engagement, and ads.
While Marketo’s platform does include a social media application, the typical enterprise customer likely uses a separate social marketing software that's far more advanced than even HubSpot for more robust monitoring and reporting on social campaigns.
Analytics & Reporting:
Both HubSpot and Marketo provide useful analytics that allow you to track your marketing performance, discover valuable insights about your prospects and customers, and create detailed reports.
HubSpot offers detailed analytics and insights into various parts of your inbound marketing strategy and how they work together. With Marketo, you can go even further with predictive analysis and modeling based on CRM data, firmographics, and more.
Don’t count HubSpot out on great reporting, especially if you’re using the sales and/or service tools along with the marketing platform. With the custom report builder, you can create reports that show a direct return on investment of your marketing efforts based on sales and service data.
Marketo has a very active customer community and many well-known customers, but its overall ecosystem is significantly smaller than HubSpot's.
With over 44,000 global customers, over 3,000 Agency Partners, over 150 local user groups around the world, and the annual INBOUND event that sees over 20,000 attendees -- no other marketing automation software has a community or ecosystem to rival HubSpot’s.
By comparison, Marketo currently has about 5,000 global customers (many of which have multiple domains and websites) and 500 partners.
With any major software investment you make, it’s important to get involved in the user community so you can learn from other people using the tools, as well as have people outside of your organization to troubleshoot with or bounce ideas off of. Learn more about HubSpot’s vast community here.
Alright, let's get down to brass tacks -- this is what you've been waiting for.
Which is more expensive, HubSpot or Marketo?
Both offer different levels, bundles, add-ons, and free trials, but at the end of the day, HubSpot starts at $FREE per month and Marketo starts at $1,195 per month.
That’s right, HubSpot offers a completely free version of all of its Hubs.
We’re talking free forever - not a free trial. While the free platforms are very basic versions of the tools, they allow you to get acquainted with the user interface and basic functionalities before swiping your credit card.
This means that HubSpot will grow with you - as you need additional functionality you can upgrade to the next level of subscription and all of your data and assets will remain in your portal.
When you add all of the premium features and compare the highest tiers of HubSpot and Marketo, the pricing is more comparable, but Marketo is still more expensive.
Considering that HubSpot has a content management platform, better support, and provides an end-to-end solution, the decision is easy for us.
But HubSpot isn't cheap, and it's normal to be on the fence about a purchase like this.
I encourage you to check it out before you make the final decision for your business.
Before You Go
No matter what you decide, making the investment in a marketing automation platform will drastically change the way you are able to not only do marketing but also the way you’re able to analyze and report on the work you’re doing.
If your business has aggressive growth goals, you’re going to need a tool that allows you to track your progress towards those goals, as well as allows you to gain insight into what is and isn’t working in your marketing.
Both HubSpot and Marketo are great platforms to do that, and as long you are ready to dive in and invest time in learning and implementing the tools, you’ll be on the path to marketing success in no time!