Marketo is one of the most popular marketing automation solutions out there and is active on over 40,000 websites.
It's also one of the most advanced solutions, providing the necessary tools for growing companies and established enterprises to nurture and convert leads.
However, the marketing automation software industry has grown rapidly, and Marketo has a lot more competition today than they did in the past, including HubSpot. As a result, deciding on which marketing automation solution to invest in is a tough decision for businesses.
Regardless if you're replacing your current marketing automation solution or you're seeking your first system, it's important to consider all of the available options.
In this article, I'll share with you four alternatives and head-to-head comparisons to Marketo.
But first, What Does Marketo Offer?
Marketo offers lead management, email marketing, consumer marketing, customer base marking and mobile marketing to customers including both B2C and B2B brands of all sizes. Some common features include nurturing, SEO, landing pages, scoring, and analytics, while other editions offer advanced features such as website personalization, mobile engagement, social and web retargeting.
As an advanced system, pricing for Marketo ranges between $895 to $3,195 per month.
Marketo vs. Pardot (by Salesforce)
Both Marketo and Pardot are suitable for small, medium, and enterprise-sized companies and they both also have the essential features businesses need, such as lead nurturing, list segmentation, and analytics.
Most users feel, however, that Pardot has a cleaner, more organized, and simpler user interfaces than Marketo. Both are reasonably easy to use, but Marketo requires more time for users to get comfortable with the system and its features.
Both platforms have comparable features including:
Landing Page Builder
A/B Split Testing
Email Deliverability Testing
ROI Lifecycle Reports
API Integration with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Netsuite, GoToWebinar and Webex
Pardot's strongest advantage is its seamless integration with Salesforce since Salesforce acquired Pardot to complete their suite of marketing and sales solutions.
For businesses heavily invested in the Salesforce ecosystem, this is actually one of the most common deciding factors.
When it comes to the onboarding process, most users report that Pardot is easier to learn and start using than Marketo. Both solutions offer similar pricing, with each tier priced within $200 of the competing product.
Marketo vs. Oracle Eloqua
Owned by Oracle, Eloqua is another popular marketing automation solution that's worth considering alongside Marketo.
In general, more large enterprises use Eloqua and more mid-sized companies use Marketo, but both are popular among each group.
Overall, most users find that Marketo is easier to use than Eloqua, but Eloqua's decision map, a visual tool resembling a mind map, is a favorite among marketers and makes it easy to build custom campaigns that branch in various directions.
This is another case where Marketo shares similar features with their competitor. While the user experience is different, both platforms are capable of the same functionality including:
Analytics and Reporting
However, many have found that Eloqua offers better reporting tools and more plug-and-play integrations than Marketo does.
Eloqua also offers more support, providing 24/7 phone support for all packages, while Marketo requires you to have the Spark plan (or higher) to avoid paying extra for phone support.
Now, Act-On is quickly becoming one of the most popular marketing automation tools because of its lower cost and ease of use. As you might expect, Act-On is highly favored by smaller businesses, but plenty of large companies (i.e. Xerox, Lego) use it as well.
What makes it immediately attractive to growing businesses is how they position themselves as a tool for marketers, not for engineers. True to their word, Act-On is much more user-friendly out of the box than Marketo is.
Like all of the platforms on this list, Act-On provides all the tools and features you would expect from a good marketing automation solution like lead nurturing/drip campaigns, lead scoring, campaign segmentation, and lead management, however, Act-On shines by offering more seamless integrations with major CRMs than almost any other marketing automation software on the market.
Act-On, for most, offers a more affordable pricing model than Marketo. It's Professional package (starting at $600/month) and Enterprise package (starting at $2,000/month). The Professional package includes everything most marketing automation solutions provide in their middle-tiered package, but the catch is that it only comes with 1,000 contacts, compared to Marketo's 10,000 contacts.
Marketo vs. HubSpot
Last, but not least HubSpot is the most popular alternative to Marketo, and it's the marketing automation solution we use at IMPACT.
"HubSpot has completely transformed our agency and we honestly wouldn’t be where we are today without their help, which is why we’re strong advocates of their service and product," our Founder and CEO, Bob Ruffolo, has said.
HubSpot is affordable and scalable for businesses of all sizes, and their tools accommodate B2C as well as B2B brands.
Regarding pure marketing automation features, both platforms offer similar capability, but HubSpot is different from Marketo because it's a true all-in-one marketing platform, including a blogging platform, SEO, and other features you won't find with Marketo. But don't take my word for it:
Granted, Marketo's customers tend to be large enterprises who already have systems in place for all of their marketing activities and only want their marketing automation software to do marketing automation.
HubSpot is easier to learn and use than Marketo as it requires significantly less IT resources to implement. Both platforms integrate with Salesforce and other popular CRMs, but HubSpot also provides a free CRM for their users who don't already have one.
Another feature unique to HubSpot is the available Website Platform add-on, allowing you to create a completely seamless inbound marketing machine by managing both your website and digital marketing activities from one dashboard.
One area where Marketo has an edge on HubSpot is the depth of analytics and reporting users have access to. Experienced marketing automation professionals appreciate the ability to dig deep and uncover strategic insights from the advanced analytics features in Marketo such as opportunity influence, program and revenue cycle analytics.
Starting at $200 per month for their Basic package and going up to $2,400 for their Enterprise package, HubSpot is much more affordable than Marketo. However, they also include fewer contacts in the first two tiers than Marketo does.
Deciding between the two comes down to your organization's needs and goals. Most small-to-large businesses who want an all-in-one system will find HubSpot more effective for their needs, however, enterprises requiring a custom-built marketing automation system without all the extra features might find Marketo better-suited.
Think about the marketing needs of your organization and make a decision that best fits. Need some help? Before you make any purchase, read through the candid "Ultimate List of HubSpot Pros & Cons."