Are you gearing up for an inbound marketing campaign? If so, I’d like to start this article by commending you on this decision. If you’ve been reading this blog much, you know by now that we are confident that it’s the best approach to marketing to today’s consumers. Old school, “outbound” methods of marketing, like print ads, cold calling, and mailings have lost their effectiveness at reaching people. These methods work by interrupting and distracting their target audiences, most of whom have long since learned how to filter out unsolicited and unwanted disturbances to the already busy lifestyles. Inbound marketing, in contrast, attracts potential buyers, primarily by offering them valuable and engaging content which addresses topics they’re concerned with. You don’t have to believe me about how effective of an option it is. Companies utilizing inbound methods are four times as likely to say that their efforts are effective.
An integral part of your inbound effort will be the use of marketing automation software. We should be clear in this respect. When we talk about automation, we’re not just looking to speed up the process of sending out your marketing emails and such (although it does that too). More important, though, is the need for a software platform that allows you to control and monitor all aspects of the marketing process. There are a number of such software products available on the market. As you may know, we at Rhino have long been great proponents of the HubSpot platform for that purpose, and we’ve even become a HubSpot partner (a Gold Tier partner, at that). In fairness, though, let’s see how HubSpot’s tools stack up against what is perhaps their main competitor at this point in time, Marketo, in a side-by-side comparison. While the two platforms have much in common in terms of their functionality, there are some differences to be considered.
I know that there’s much more to making a decision on a major software investment than a popularity contest, but it’s worth taking a look at the market share that each of these products holds. As of the time time of writing of this article, HubSpot was the leading marketing automation software product, in use on 82,390 websites. In contrast, Marketo, in the #2 position, accounts for 41,724 sites, just a little over half of HubSpot’s usage. Again, this shouldn’t be the sole criteria for choosing, but when a product captures roughly double the market share of its closest competitor, it stands to reason that they’re doing something right. Read on to learn why.
Ease of Use
Here’s where the two products begin to diverge. Marketo’s specialty is customized enterprise solutions. So, not surprisingly, its platform requires more technical skills to deploy. If your company has an IT department, or if your staff includes a marketing automation expert with an IT background, this may not be an obstacle. If, however, you’re making your first foray into the world of marketing automation, you’re likely to do better with a simpler tool, with intuitive functionality, and thus, HubSpot will probably be a better fit for you.
It’s difficult to discuss marketing campaigns without at least some mention of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). For the most part, companies who have invested in a CRM system will prefer to use marketing automation software that integrates well with their existing system. Marketo was designed using the architecture of the Salesforce platform, so it will can be expected to work optimally with the Salesforce CRM. It also offers native support for SAP and Microsoft Dynamics, and is certified to integrate with NetSuite, Oracle, and SugarCRM. HubSpot offers integration with many of the same CRM tools, with another benefit: its own, very powerful CRM system. If you haven’t already made an investment in the implementation of a CRM system, HubSpot’s all-in-one platform is likely to be an excellent choice.
Analytics and Reporting
As I mentioned earlier, there’s much more to marketing automation than simply setting up a robot to send out your emails for you. The ability to see all of the data associated with your marketing campaigns is a crucial component of these software tools. If you’re putting the money and time into deploying such a system, you’ll certainly want to gain the insight that can only be obtained by looking at the data concerning your customers, their engagement, your content, website traffic, and much more. Both Marketo and HubSpot offer a wide range of analytics tools with vast reporting functionality. That being said, Marketo has the reputation of offering analytics that are perhaps deeper and more strategic. However, since this will typically involve integration with third-party systems, it should be expected that the setup and creation of reports is going to require more effort and more technical skills. Contrast this with HubSpot, whose analytics are also vast but require little setup, and can be expected to work well, right out of the box.
While we’ve never kept it a secret that we’re fans of HubSpot, and partners with them, we have to acknowledge that Marketo does indeed provide worthy competition - for the right company. For a somewhat larger, more established company, looking to leverage its investments in CRM and other systems, it’s certainly a viable tool. Do keep in mind though that there is a significant learning curve, and you’ll almost certainly need to involve IT professionals in the process of integrating the platform with your current tools.
For small to medium sized business however, we stand by our previous glowing support for HubSpot and its well-integrated platform. If you’re a growing company, looking to attract more visitors to your website, manage your content marketing, and nurture your leads, there’s no better platform than HubSpot.