The landscape of marketing is now heavily dominated by digital marketing. The tools of the trade have therefore been repurposed. It is as a result of these changes that Marketing Automation platforms have experienced a meteoric rise. Any serious organization that wants to pursue an effective marketing strategy has had to imbibe the new way of doing things, and they are mainly centred around engaging an audience where they can be found, which is increasingly online. To implement and manage such a strategy, organizations rely on Marketing Automation platforms such as Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, etc.
This article aims at introducing you to the concept of Marketing Automation, the ideology of Inbound and Outbound marketing. It further features an in-depth comparison of HubSpot vs Marketo, focussing on their features, use cases, and pros and cons of both platforms.
Table of Contents
Understanding Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation is about using software applications and platforms to automate marketing operations or activities, usually done to remove the drudgery associated with repetitive tasks. It improves the efficiency as tasks can be planned ahead of time, scheduled and then executed when due. Another benefit of automating the stages of a marketing campaign is the elimination of errors. Ads, workflows, schedules, etc. can be created and vetted once and then rerun several times instead of manually doing these each time with the possibility of introducing errors to the marketing pipeline.
Various Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, provide automation tools for a variety of areas such as email marketing, lead tracking, content marketing, social media marketing, etc. Two of the most popular options in this market segment are HubSpot and Marketo. Marketing Automation platforms are an integral part of digital advertising and provide a personalized experience for customers while significantly reducing the workload that would normally accompany such a marketing strategy.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
Historically, marketers have always sought to put their products in front of the most number of people, whether they were considered active buyers or not, with techniques such as cold calling, displaying ads on billboards, commercials, print ads, etc. These strategies usually interrupted the user during the normal flow of their activities to pitch a sale. Such type of marketing is known as Outbound Marketing.
With the advent of the Internet, users now are more likely to conduct their research online, settle on a particular product and outlet before actually purchasing the product online or via a physical store. A customers’ journey no longer starts with a user reaching out to a salesperson to ask about the available options. It is, therefore, incumbent on brands to make themselves discoverable by offering value to the user during the awareness and consideration stage of a customers’ journey.
To make themselves discoverable, companies create content, informative blogs, educative social media channels, etc. that provides users with information and crucial insights about the products and services, they’re interested in buying. When an active buyer, decides to buy a product, they come across various product-related articles, that not only answer their queries but also generates a sense of trust for the brand, that has created the content.
The brand is now more likely to convert the reader of the article into a customer. What has been described above, in a nutshell, is Inbound Marketing, pulling customers in by providing value instead of suffocating them with interruptive ads. The concept of Inbound Marketing was coined by HubSpot, and it serves as the central methodology of its marketing automation platform.
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Introduction to HubSpot
HubSpot is a cloud-based marketing platform that allows users to manage various tasks such as lead sourcing, tracking, conversions, etc. thereby taking care of their entire marketing pipeline, with the help of its interactive user interface. HubSpot provides five central services, namely HubSpot CRM, CMS, Marketing, Sales and Service Hubs. All these services are made available to the user, based on the subscription they purchase.
HubSpot started by catering the Small and Midsize Businesses (SMB) segment of the market but has since evolved to provide solutions for enterprise clients. Regardless of the actual subscription of a HubSpot user, they have access to the entire suite of products even if at a reduced capacity and this enables them to get familiar with the features before upgrading their tier to access even more advanced functionality.
For further information on HubSpot, you can check the official website here.
Introduction to Marketo
Marketo is a Software as a Service (SasS) product from Adobe that provides tools for marketing automation. It has a modular structure as each module can be purchased and utilized independently. They can also be combined into bundles or used in conjunction with each other to achieve a holistic marketing automation experience. Marketo is seen as the leader in the enterprise space as its tools emphasize scale and complex workflows. The modules in Marketo are lead management, email marketing, consumer marketing, customer-based marketing, mobile marketing, revenue attribution, and account-based marketing.
Marketo does not have a built-in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module but features integration with popular CRMs like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, etc. The tools provided by Marketo enable the automation of several stages of digital advertising across multiple channels like email, web, mobile, etc. so leads can be sourced, nurtured, and tracked seamlessly.
For further information on Marketo, you can check the official website here.
Comparing HubSpot and Marketo
HubSpot and Marketo, are excellent marketing automation platforms and excel at automating everyday tasks associated with running an effective marketing campaign. Having said that, there are still some differences between them, and one or the other may be more appropriately suited for your company depending on several factors such as the growth stage of your company, the available budget, the size of your in-house IT knowhow, your specific use case, etc.
You can learn more about how HubSpot and Marketo fair against each other in the following sections:
HubSpot vs Marketo: Understanding key Features of HubSpot
The main selling point of HubSpot is that it provides an all in one marketing platform solution, allowing users to grow with their organization and meet their dynamic marketing needs. HubSpot has three pricing tiers, namely Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. Each product offering becomes more powerful, as you go you higher in the tier structure. For example, the Enterprise offering targets large companies and contains everything from hierarchical teams to revenue attribution. Despite this pricing structure, HubSpot offers a limited version of its product in a free tier, consisting of tools such as the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing tools for email marketing, ad management, landing pages, etc.
HubSpot prides itself on providing one of the best user experiences of any marketing automation platform because its user interface (UI) is extremely slick and easy to pick up. HubSpot also provides a ton of resources for users to get up to speed via its academy. It publishes free courses and tutorials that teach marketers about the concepts of inbound marketing, SEO, social media marketing, etc. and how to effectively utilize HubSpot in pursuing goals.
HubSpot vs Marketo: Understanding key Features of Marketo
Marketo focusses on large enterprises that run great email campaigns across their vast customer bases and provides advanced email workflows and analytics. It is especially suited for the task of lead management and email marketing. For many years, Marketo has provided advanced enterprise tools such as revenue attribution, where revenue is tracked and linked to the performance of individual campaigns and teams. Compared to its competitors, Marketo provides one of the most suited enterprise-grade solutions for marketing.
For a large company with a dedicated IT team, Marketo’s Application Programming Interface (API) provides much-needed flexibility to customize the platform and integrate it with other custom workflows and CRMs. Each module in Marketo is sold independently, so users can pick and choose exactly what they need. The pricing for the modules that Marketo provides isn’t available publicly and can be obtained by contacting the Marketo sales team.
HubSpot vs Marketo: Weighing the Pros and Cons
HubSpot supports an impeccable user interface, that is extremely simple to use, even for beginners. HubSpot allows users to access and use a comprehensive set of features, free of cost, and lets users understand the platform. HubSpot is increasingly releasing new features that cater to the needs of enterprise clients even though it has historically been closely linked with Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs).
Marketo, on the other hand, has a steep learning curve, thereby making it difficult, to adapt to the environment. Further, the pricing model used by HubSpot is advantageous over Marketo, as Marketo requires users to buy each module separately. Only when you compare the Enterprise tier, the pricing followed by both Marketo and HubSpot can be considered as comparable.
At the end of the day, choosing between HubSpot and Marketo largely depends on the nature of your business strategies and objectives. If you’re new to Marketing Automation and require a solution that can scale as your business grows, then you should go with HubSpot, but if you have a dedicated IT team, and want to solve complex business problems, then you should choose Marketo.
This article introduces you to the concept of Marketing Automation, Inbound and Outbound marketing and provides an in-depth comparison of HubSpot vs Marketo. Setting up Marketing Automation requires using a variety of marketing tools and analyzing data from a diverse set of data sources. Bringing in different kinds of data, transforming it, and making it analysis-ready can be challenging, especially for beginners and this is where Hevo saves the day.
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