HubSpot vs Marketo: a Side-by-Side Comparison and Key Differences


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Written by Ashlie Jones

Ever since businesses discovered marketing as a way to increase awareness, drive leads, and close sales, things have never been the same. Companies have always been on the lookout for unique strategies to implement in marketing campaigns to help them stand out from the crowd. And thanks to the fast-paced digital transformation, marketing has been fused with technology, birthing modern-day marketing as we know it today.

As a result of this evolution, marketers are now armed with an arsenal of tools, including email marketing software, social media management platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and more. But which one is right for your business? To answer this question, we'll look at two leading marketing automation solutions—HubSpot and Marketo—side by side. We'll discuss what they are, how they're different from one another, their key features, and pros and cons for each. We'll also highlight how to choose the best platform for your business. 


What is Marketo? 

Marketo is a cloud-based marketing automation platform designed for business-to-business (B2B) companies. Launched in 2006, the platform provides everything you need to automate lead generation, nurture prospects, convert leads into customers, and track customer interactions. With Adobe Marketo, you can create personalized emails, landing pages, web forms, surveys, and more. You can then use these automated messages to send targeted offers or promotions to individuals.


What is HubSpot? 

Founded in June 2006 by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot is a CRM-powered marketing automation solution that helps small- and medium-sized businesses grow their online presence. The platform includes modules such as Customer Relationship Management, Sales Intelligence, Social Media Management, Lead Nurturing, Content Creation, Website Tracking, SEO/PPC Optimization, Analytics, and Reporting. It has over 143,000 active users across more than 120 countries.


How is Marketo different from HubSpot?

While both HubSpot and Marketo offer similar core functionality, each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Let's examine some of the most important differences between the two platforms.

  • Pricing - Marketo offers five core modules that users can purchase separately, bundled, or in an integrated platform. The modules are priced in three tiers: Pro, Elite, and Enterprise. On the flip side, HubSpot has a unified purchase system for its numerous features and functionalities. Its core product, Marketing Hub, is available in four different pricing tiers: Free, Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. 
  • Integrations - While HubSpot integrates with third-party applications like Google Analytics, Marketo does not. If you want to integrate with other apps, Marketo requires you to build custom integrations. That means if you want to connect Marketo to any external app, you either need to pay extra for it or build your own integration.
  • User Experience - Marketo focuses on providing solutions to enterprises and larger businesses. Its software is designed for top-tier marketers and may require someone with IT knowledge to navigate and optimize. Conversely, HubSpot offers a much simpler user experience, and anyone can access its depth of marketing tools trouble-free. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Marketo and HubSpot

Let's look at the strengths and weaknesses of both Marketo and HubSpot to see which CRM-powered marketing platform is better for your business's needs.


Advantages of Marketo

  • Flexible pricing gives you the ability to choose from among three pricing options: Pro, Elite, or Enterprise.
  • Multiple modules are included in one package, making it easy to try out various modules without buying them separately.
  • A wide variety of add-ons and extensions allows you to customize your account according to your business's needs.

Disadvantages of MArketo

  • It can be costly for smaller businesses, and it has no free plan.
  • It lacks blog management features, unlike HubSpot, which has them.

Advantages of HubSpot

  • HubSpot is very affordable, and its entry-level product is less expensive than Marketo's.
  • The free version has many useful features, including lead scoring, email automation, and landing page creation.
  • The ability to create campaigns and track results using Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, etc., makes it easier to measure ROI.
  • It also provides a simple interface, which is easy to use even for nontechnical people.

Disadvantages of HubSpot

  • Its reporting tool is pretty basic compared to Marketo's.
  • It lacks A/B testing on lower packages.

Marketo Vs HubSpot: Unique Features on Each Platform

No doubt, both platforms have several similar features and capabilities that make them suitable for their customers. Common core features across both platforms include SEO tools, content marketing, email automation, landing pages, A/B testing, lead nurturing, reporting/analytics, and many more. However, each platform has unique features that make it more attractive to certain types of companies. Here's a quick comparison of their key features.


Marketo's Unique Features

1) Lead Nurturing

Unlike HubSpot, whose focus is inbound marketing, Marketo has traditionally focused on lead nurturing. The platform has concrete features that help nurture leads through various stages of the buying process. These include automated follow-up emails, dynamic content, personalized messages, and more.

 2) Financial Management

Marketo's robust financial management system helps you manage your finances while growing your company. You can effortlessly see how much money you spend on different activities and set budgets accordingly. It also lets you generate reports and analyze data to know where you're losing money.


HubSpot's Unique Features

1) Built-In CRM

Unlike Marketo, HubSpot offers its own built-in customer relationship management solution. That means you don't need an additional third-party application like Salesforce to run your sales pipeline, nurture leads, and close deals.

2) Blogging Tools

HubSpot provides a blogging feature that allows you to write blogs about your products and services. You can also schedule posts, assign tags, and publish them automatically. In addition, you can integrate other social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, right into your blog posts.

3) Transactional Emails

HubSpot comes with a powerful transactional email builder that lets you send customized emails based on user actions. For example, if someone subscribes to your newsletter, you can send them a welcome message; if they click on a link in the email, you can send them a thank-you note; and if they download a file, you can send them an invoice.


How to Choose the Best Platform for Your Business

If you want to grow your business, you should definitely consider using one of these two popular marketing software solutions. But settling on one of the two enterprise CRM solutions will depend on various factors, such as your specific needs and business model. 


When to Use Marketo

You should choose Marketo if:

  • You want to automate all aspects of selling, including managing your inventory, shipping orders, creating invoices, collecting payments, and communicating with clients.
  • Your goal is to optimize the entire sales cycle by automating repetitive tasks and removing manual processes.
  • You want to focus on building long-term relationships with your customers instead of just closing sales.
  • You want to use analytics to understand what works best for your audience.
  • You want to track your progress over time and compare results against competitors.

When to Use HubSpot

You should opt for HubSpot if:

  • You are looking for a simple way to get started without investing a lot of time learning the platform.
  • You have a small team and don't require sophisticated tools.
  • You want to start generating leads right away.
  • You want to engage directly with prospects before reaching out to sales representatives.
  • You want to provide value to your current and potential customers.
  • You want to collect data from multiple sources (e.g., website, app, social media).

The Final Verdict

Both HubSpot and Marketo offer robust features and capabilities that can take your business to the next level through automation, personalization, and optimization. There are some critical differences between the two platforms, however, that can make it difficult to decide which one is better suited for your business. These include pricing, integrations, and support options.

But overall, if you value affordability, ease of use, scalability, and customization, HubSpot may be the best enterprise CRM platform that fits your requirements. Conversely, Adobe Marketo might be the perfect fit for your company if you're in the market for a premium, feature-packed, and sophisticated marketing automation solution.

Eternal Works is a Virginia Beach marketing and growth agency focused on helping businesses succeed online. Our goal is to leverage top-tier marketing technologies, strategies, and expertise to help our clients achieve their goals faster and smarter. We specialize in digital marketing, content marketing, SEO, PPC management, conversion-rate optimization, lead generation, and more. To learn more about how we can help your business grow, contact us today.