HubSpot vs. Marketo: which marketing software is best for you?

hubspot vs marketo

Adopting a marketing automation tool is one of the best ways to transform your business's productivity and performance. Spending on marketing automation tools is expected to reach $25.1 billion annually by 2023. The reason behind this is that automation works.

Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or higher bump in revenue in 6-9 months. However, marketers say the biggest benefit of automation is something more direct: saving time.

To access the top benefits of automation, you need to choose the best marketing automation software for your business – now and as you grow.

Some of the top marketing automation software companies in the world are HubSpot and Marketo. HubSpot was founded in 2005 and is well-known for its inbound marketing philosophy, while Marketo was founded in 2006 and acquired by Adobe in 2018.

According to SimilarTech, Marketo is used on over 47,000 websites and HubSpot is active on over 145,000 websites. However, they perform best for different teams and company sizes. Read on for a better idea of whether Marketo or HubSpot is best for your business.

When to choose HubSpot

1. You're on a tighter budget

Price-wise, HubSpot is more accessible than Marketo for businesses on a budget. The real magic of HubSpot is that you can get started with the core CRM for free and upgrade for access to more features – including marketing automation – as you grow.

Marketing automation is available under the Professional plan of HubSpot's Marketing Hub, with a starting price of $800/month billed annually. It's not the cheapest automation on the market - but HubSpot delivers a ton of value across all areas of your business.

2. You want to get started fast

HubSpot is perfect for B2B marketers who are looking for simple setup and a solution that delivers results straight out of the box. It has all-in-one features to cater to their every marketing need (as well as sales and service), while Marketo is a more complex automation solution that tends to require specialist knowledge and support to get set up.

3. You love the inbound methodology

Many users choose HubSpot because they love their inbound marketing methodology, or the practice of getting the attention of prospective customers to your product via social media, newsletters, SEO, different forms of content, etc.

With HubSpot's all-in-one marketing machine, you can carry out every aspect of inbound marketing and complement it with effective sales and customer service strategies.

Inbound marketing naturally forms the foundation of HubSpot's own marketing efforts - the majority of users will have downloaded one of their ebooks or read their blog posts before signing up.

When to choose Marketo

1. Your business is a larger enterprise

Marketo's perfect user is a large enterprise that needs extensive marketing automation. For high-powered marketing teams that have a lot of processes to automate, Marketo provides greater flexibility and more options. As such, it’s more scalable than HubSpot, but these benefits come at a cost that can be too high for smaller companies.

2. You want really advanced automation

Marketo offers advanced automation workflows and analytics and specializes in custom solutions for enterprises, so it makes sense that their software requires more IT knowledge to operate than HubSpot. If you have a dedicated MarTech specialist or support team, this may not be a problem for your business, and you can more easily get set up with the broad range of features Marketo offers.

As Marketo is now part of the Adobe Experience Cloud, it's also a gateway to Adobe’s other customer experience tools, including advanced AI and machine learning from Adobe Sensei. However, this will definitely come at a high cost. You can request an Adobe Experience Cloud demo to see which products suit your business.

3. You're using Salesforce CRM

Marketo was built with a focus on Salesforce CRM users, and in the words of Marketo, “Marketo and Salesforce go together like peas and carrots.” To this day, the majority of Marketo B2B customers come from the Salesforce user base. Marketo can work out as a slightly cheaper automation solution than Pardot, Salesforce's own option, although both Marketo and Pardot are priced very much at an enterprise level.

There's an integration for Salesforce and Marketo, but you can keep the two tools in closer sync with a two-way connection that instantly updates contacts across the two tools.

Feature comparison

How do the HubSpot and Marketo marketing automation platforms compare in different areas? And which one is a better fit for your business? Let’s dig in further...

HubSpot automation vs. Marketo automation

What HubSpot offers

With HubSpot's automation features, it's never been easier to make more of your business run on auto-pilot. Workflows are at the heart of HubSpot's automation, which can be contact-based, company-based, deal-based, ticket-based or quote-based.

feature comparison hubspot

HubSpot workflow automation options include sending an external or internal email or SMS, setting a contact or company property value, adding a contact to a list, or adjusting numeric properties.

hubspot workflow automation goals

With HubSpot, you might use automation to easily enroll certain types of companies in email sequences, assign contacts to the right account manager, or create customized support workflows for tickets. All that and much, much more via an incredibly user-friendly interface that requires no specialist tech knowledge.

hubspot workflow automation tools


What Marketo offers

Marketo specializes in providing enterprises and larger businesses with custom solutions and provides the best value for experienced marketers with in-depth knowledge of IT or a tech support team. Marketo tends to be excessively complex if you do not have a team of dedicated specialists (and even then, it can take a lot of time to master).

When it comes to the degree of marketing automation you need, it largely depends on which platforms and processes you’re using. For smaller teams, trying to automate smaller tasks can be overkill, but some tasks become progressively harder to manage at scale.

marketo feature comparison

marketo deature comparison 2

With Marketo, you can package your advertising campaigns into cohesive programs and clone them for use in multiple workflows. You can also create marketing templates and set up your programs based on those. By contrast, HubSpot users can tie all their marketing assets, such as social media accounts and paid advertising programs, into a single campaign.

marketo feature comparison 3

Setup and pricing

HubSpot setup and price plans

Deploying any new marketing automation platform can be a major undertaking. However, HubSpot is designed to keep things simple.

You can get started with HubSpot for free with their core CRM, which is one of the easiest ways to take control of your contact management and sales pipeline. You can then choose to upgrade at any time by purchasing their Sales, Marketing or Service Hubs for extra functionality.

hubspot marketing hub pricing

You can integrate the three Hubs at the complexity you need, with Starter, Professional and Enterprise levels for each Hub.

Marketing automation is available under the Professional plan of the Marketing Hub, with a starting price of $800/month billed annually. This enables you to automate your tasks, email marketing, social media and ads while building robust customer journeys with an intuitive visual editor.

Unlike Marketo, HubSpot also offers a free trial and a free CRM which provides a functional framework for everything else to be layered upon. This makes HubSpot more suitable for smaller businesses whilst Marketo is better suited for larger corporations.

Marketo setup and price plans

Alternatively, Marketo is less transparent about pricing and doesn't list the cost of its plans on the website. However, you can expect to be paying upwards of $895/month for their most basic plan. Their four plans are:

  • Select: Essential marketing automation and measurement
  • Prime: Full lead- and account-based marketing with advanced journey analytics and AI-powered personalization
  • Ultimate: The most complete and powerful experience automation with premium attribution
  • Enterprise: Achieve the highest degree of scale and flexibility

Marketo supports up to ten users, with additional users incurring extra costs based on a customized pricing plan.

Reporting and analytics

Effective marketing automation requires comprehensive data insight - you need to prove that your automation workflows really are saving time, boosting profits and providing a better customer experience.

HubSpot reporting

HubSpot has a built-in analytics tool that allows you to track your customer journey from start to finish as well as key metrics for team performance. All of this is accessible from one simple dashboard that you can customize with the reports and charts that matter to you.

Reporting Add-on hero image

Marketo reporting

One of the biggest advantages of Marketo is that it excels in helping you find the most effective sales channels and strategies. You can also build reports of varying levels of complexity for sharing with stakeholders and effectively communicating the performance of your campaigns. Reports and dashboards are extensively customizable and users can view them in the mobile app provided.

marketo reporting and analytics

Collaboration between teams: sales, marketing and support

HubSpot is one of the best tools for collaboration between sales, marketing and support. It offers "Hubs" for each of these functions, providing the tools your teams need to succeed.

An essential consideration when you're choosing a new marketing automation platform is how well it integrates with your CRM. HubSpot has the benefit of already offering a top-quality CRM for free, which works beautifully with all other add-ons and automation functionality you can layer on top.

HubSpot offers native integrations with all of the most popular MarTech tools on the market, including popular CRMs such as Zoho, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

On the other hand, Marketo also offers in-depth integrations with other tools, both in marketing and other departments. Marketo doesn’t provide a built-in CRM module, but it was built with the Salesforce platform in mind and offers an advanced Salesforce integration. It also provides native integrations for enterprise CRM leaders, Microsoft Dynamics and SAP.

Whilst Marketo’s integrations can offer more in-depth coverage, HubSpot tends to be much more user-friendly, making it more suitable for smaller businesses that are new to automated platforms. Both tools are also integrated with PieSync, meaning it’s never been simpler to sync your contact data to the rest of your tech stack.

Pricing and scalability

While Marketo is aimed at enterprise and B2B clients, HubSpot caters to growing companies of all types.

HubSpot is designed to perform; it has scalability built into its design and it expands to accommodate your data, meaning it saves you both time and money on system administration. HubSpot has built extendable limits into its functionality from the bottom up, unlike Marketo, which supports a large database by restricting performance.

The companies that use Marketo on a large scale generally do so with the support of large, specialist technical teams. This is a part of scaling that you'll need to budget for.

Support comparison

As a HubSpot user, you're usually only a few clicks away from their support team. When you're logged in, you can click on "help" in the lower right corner and instantly start a live chat communication, submit a ticket or ask for a callback.

HubSpot offers the HubSpot Academy, which is one of the best free training resources available online. It features top-value expertise from in-house HubSpot professors, external agencies and users. It offers courses on a wide range of topics, from social media marketing to creating a GDPR strategy and how to use the HubSpot platform.

Marketo Education is also full of value, but it’s not available for free. Marketo offers only a very basic level of support with its standard program, but higher support tiers are available, albeit with a steep jump in pricing. It’s generally the harder of the two to set up, and onboarding employees with the new software tends to be more time-consuming than with HubSpot.

Summary: When to choose HubSpot vs. Marketo

The main comparison point between HubSpot and Marketo is that while HubSpot is ideal for small to mid-sized businesses to slowly grow into with add-on upgrades, Marketo is a more complex and advanced tool for large enterprises that need a more custom solution.

Here’s our quick summary of how to decide if HubSpot or Marketo is the best marketing automation software for your business:

When to choose HubSpotWhen to choose Marketo
You're on a tighter budgetYour business is a larger enterprise
You want to get started soonerYou want really advanced automation
You love the inbound methodologyYou're using Salesforce CRM

Whether you choose Marketo or HubSpot, make sure to keep your software in sync with the rest of your tech stack to avoid messy contact management. It’s simple to set up two-way syncs that keep your contacts moving between apps with the most accurate data using PieSync.

About Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle writes for PieSync, the two-way contact sync tool for hundreds of apps. She also works with her clients to make their brand matter with a content-rich marketing strategy.