TLDR: Marketing automation platforms play a really important role in the way today’s businesses engage with their audiences. Leading the pack are Marketo and HubSpot, but which one should you choose? In our latest Tough Talks Made Easy post, we’re giving you the tools to help your executive team choose the right platform for your business. Take a look.

What you’ll learn in this article: 

  • When choosing a marketing automation platform, Marketo and HubSpot are leaders
  • Where HubSpot is a centralized inbound marketing platform with multiple functions, Marketo is focused on moving leads through the marketing funnel 
  • You can help your C-suite choose the right solution for your business by exploring these three considerations: 
    • Your tech stack
    • Your products and customer audience
    • The maturity of your team

Marketing automation tools are changing the way businesses operate. On the one hand, they make marketing and sales teams more efficient and productive. On the other, they’ve made it easier for marketers to provide tailored, personalized experiences that meet their target audiences where they are.

At the top of the marketing automation charts are Marketo and HubSpot, two platforms that have led the way in revolutionizing the marketing space. But, which of these tools is best for your business? 

To help you guide your exec team in their decision on which software to adopt, here’s an overview of each platform and the considerations you should make as you evaluate them.

 

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PLATFORMS

HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform that has four functions: marketing, sales, customer service, and customer relationship management (CRM). This means that users have the ability to operate their email marketing, CRM software, contact management, and help desk automation from one place, with a well-designed user interface. While many teams appreciate the centralized experience, HubSpot also offers extensibility that allows you to integrate with third-party apps, including Salesforce. This flexibility makes it easier for companies to customize the experience to what makes sense to them.

Marketo Engage, meanwhile, is a robust marketing automation platform that focuses exclusively on moving leads and customers through various stages of the marketing funnel, in a way that’s customizable to the organization’s processes and structures. It does this by offering marketing automation, email marketing, and lead management capabilities. This focus allows users to create highly personalized content to tailor marketing campaigns to specific audiences.

The truth is, this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. When it comes down to it, these tools serve different functions and have to be considered within the broader scope of your tech stack and where your business is going. So, the question you and your C-suite should really be asking is whether you need a centralized marketing and sales hub, or a robust marketing automation platform that integrates with other best-of-breed solutions. 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER AS YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICE

As you engage with your leadership team to determine which platform makes the most sense for your business, here are three non-technical considerations that will help guide your conversation with them. 

1. For your CIO: Your existing tech stack

As mentioned above, HubSpot is a centralized solution for sales, marketing, and customer engagement functions. It continues to expand the offerings on its platform, making it a great place to start if you don’t have any technology serving those verticals—and don’t have the budget to invest in multiple integrated solutions. The other benefit here is that it reduces complexity for your team, as they only have one tool to learn, and this also makes it easier to transfer data from one function to another for accurate attribution reporting.

However, if your company is building a tech stack with best-of-breed solutions that lead their verticals then Marketo is the right choice. The tool makes up for the fact that it’s not an all-in-one solution by integrating seamlessly with other leading solutions like Salesforce, Drift, and Bizible. In fact, Marketo was originally designed with Salesforce in mind, and they still operate seamlessly together today. That said, it’s important to remember that each platform has its own price tag, so you need to have the budget available to build and run this integrated ecosystem. The other consideration is that Marketo is less prone to evolving its software, making it a more predictable investment. 

Your CIO likely has a strategy or roadmap for what your company’s tech stack will look like. Talk to them about it and use the points above to determine which platform fits into that strategy.

2. For your CMO: Your products and customer audience

Businesses that are only marketing one product to one or two audiences will naturally have fairly simple customer journeys. This reduces the need for complex workflows, persona building, and robust attribution models. HubSpot does a good job of addressing this use case as it easily connects the dots between each step in a single customer journey. 

Meanwhile, companies that have larger, more complex product catalogs require more specialized tools across every part of the path to purchase. That’s especially the case if they have a number of customer segments to meet with the right messaging at the right time. This is where teams can make the most of Marketo, accounting for multiple considerations and customer behaviors.

These are points you can raise with your CMO so as to advise them on where a product like Marketo or HubSpot can be more productive. They’ll also be able to tell you if there are any anticipated changes in how your business plans to market to new or existing audiences, which will also dictate which platform makes the most sense.  

3. For your CEO: The maturity of your team

Is your business new on the scene? Or have you been around for decades? Wherever your team sits on the maturity spectrum should inform how your executives decide on a marketing automation platform. 

For growth-stage startups that are prioritizing their product development, HubSpot tends to be the platform of choice. A centralized, easy-to-use solution can make it easier for the individuals running your marketing, sales, and customer engagement functions to work towards the same goals in a quick and scalable way. In addition, since HubSpot is continually innovating its platform, it’s an appealing digital solution for companies that are also evolving within their own markets.. There hasn’t been significant innovation with Marketo Engage in some time.

Meanwhile, larger enterprises that have invested in building a robust marketing team filled with seasoned MOPs professionals are more likely to have Marketo at the heart of their marketing operations efforts. With the right combination of tools and people, these companies can get creative with how they reach their vast audiences.

This is the type of insight that will matter to your CEO. So, as you’re walking them through the platforms, contextualize them within a conversation on where the company is now and where it’s going next. 

 

MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION

With so many marketing automation tools on the market now, it can feel overwhelming to find and pick the right one, but it doesn’t have to be. The three considerations outlined above should help you and your executives weigh one leading product against another.

If you’re still not sure which way to go and would like to continue the conversation, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

 

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