This is not about the people pitching the software - don't forget that.
This is about finding the right vehicle for achieving your goals. And even though I am the founder and CEO of a Hubspot partner marketing agency, I'm not going to tell you today that it's the only way to go or even that it's EVERYBODY's best option... because it's not.
In fact, a new prospective client of mine made a very strong case today as to why Marketo was the right path.
So, what I thought I would do is share my experiences with the two, and help you find what's right for your business.
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There's always history:
Years ago, when Orange Pegs Media was embarking on the transition to inbound marketing, we came to a signficant crossroads when it came to our marketing software.
We needed something that would allow us to execute the inbound marketing methodology by the book, because we were sold on the idea of a holistic approach to digital marketing that leads by education, and closes through consultations.
We knew we needed it for blogging, social media, emails, website, landing pages, forms, calls-to-action, and we needed analytics tools that helped us understand what in our marketing was working, what wasn't, and why.
It was important to me that the program was intuitive, comprehensive, and that it could help one person do the work of three.
1. Why Hubspot
Think of Hubspot's platform as being very similar to iOS on your iPhones. Everything is built-in, already set up, and you simply have to just turn it on.
It's a closed ecosystem, so everything ties to everything. For example, you'll set up campaigns to track the progress of bigger picture ideas. So, if you were to give away a piece of content, you'll create a campaign around it. Then, any time you create something new meant to support it, like a CTA, landing page, email, or site page, you'll simply assign that campaign to each of them, and later be able to see very simply and succinctly which assets are working and which are not.
If you're practicing inbound marketing, and want to execute it methodically and by the book, I can't think of a better platform than Hubspot.
After all, it's their certification program that has become the industry standard for inbound, and they continue to lead this space with their philosophy.
This was and is of critical importance to me, because we all know that the science will change. The tools themselves will change. But if they are truly committed to their core philosophies, I have faith that the changes they make will all be in line with my goals and vision for my business.
Learn more about the core philosophies of inbound marketing with this handy guide:
2. Why Marketo
If Hubspot is the iOS of the all-in-one marketing platforms, then Marketo is Android.
It's bigger, more open, and MUCH more customizable. Interestingly, I am an Android guy myself. I weened myself off of Apple products after the first iPod touch because I personally don't like being boxed in with my media or hardware purchases.
The reason why I think I like Hubspot over the more open platforms like Marketo is because unlike Apple, Hubspot does actually put effort into 3rd party integrations. That said, it's not as open source as Marketo according to my resources, and for some, that's a big deal.
The downside to all of that openness is setting it up and the overall complexity to deal with tasks like automation. Email workflows are much more difficult to assemble, and even the task of creating a landing page can take significantly more time. It's like using WordPress. Big. Open... and full of little things that you have to turn on and configure in order for it to work properly.
As I interviewed folks to help me with the possibility of onboarding this client into Marketo, I realized how starkly different the two were in this regard. Marketo is much more programmer-centric. Hubspot removes the programmer element so we can focus on creating great marketing, but you trade off ease of customization in the process.
Ultimately, for this customer, they chose Marketo, because they needed a much more open platform for their marketing, and the one thing that ended up being their end-all was the ability to push notifications to mobile devices. Mind you, this decision had a lot to do with their actual business offering, which is a software program, because they wanted to tie it in with their actual deliverable, communicating important tech notices to their customers.
I know we could have brought in a programmer and purchased another software, and integrated it with Hubspot, which would have compared to the Marketo push notification functionality, but once we started doing that, we make it less simple, which is what makes Hubspot so great to begin with.
So, they stuck with Marketo, and I decided that they should get another agency to implement it, because we play to our strengths, which is creative strategic stuff and Hubspot.
Whether you're going with Hubspot or Marketo, you are dealing with two programs with a ton of firepower. I suggest kicking the tires with both, so you can compare apples to apples, and ultimately choose the program that's going to give you exactly what you need.
I am personally committed to Hubspot because they understand inbound marketing better than any other program out there, and they do a great job of continuously improving its functionality and overall usefulness FOR inbound and other digital marketing that can be incorporated into inbound.
I also find that Hubspot is perfect for small and medium-sized businesses, which is where we spend ALL of our time as an agency.
Interested in learning more about what Hubspot and inbound marketing can do for your business? Come check out our certifications and what we offer businesses like yours.