CHAPTERS

1

A Breakdown of How Marketing Automation Software Works

Marketing automation has become a buzzword that is traditionally thought of as a way to nurture leads already in your funnel through drip campaigns and email marketing efforts. However, times are changing.

Head to Chapter 1

1

Comparing User Experience, Pricing, & CMS Functionality

When choosing the marketing automation software that makes sense for you, it's important to consider the user experience, cost, and content management system functionality.

Head to Chapter 1

1

Comparing Tools: Social Media, Blogging, and SEO

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty: content creation and syndication.

Head to Chapter 1

1

Comparing A/B Testing Capabilities & Conversion Tools

Optimizing your site’s content and design isn’t a “set it and forget it” thing. This is where A/B testing and conversion optimization can take your efforts to the next level.

Head to Chapter 1

1

Comparing Email Marketing & Lead Nurturing Capabilities

Email marketing and lead nurturing are crucial to any successful inbound strategy. Marketing automation software should make your life easier when it comes to sending marketing emails to your contacts and nudging them down the funnel via lead nurturing.

Head to Chapter 1

1

Comparing API Integrations and Reporting Tools

API integrations make it easy to manage contacts and data from a variety of sources, all while saving time.

Head to Chapter 1

Chapter 01

A Breakdown of How Marketing Automation Software Works

Marketing automation is traditionally thought of as a way to nurture leads already in your funnel through drip campaigns and email marketing efforts. However, times are changing.

What Is Marketing Automation Software? 

Today, marketing automation is utilized for all stages of the marketing funnel including attracting prospects, converting leads, and acquiring customers. As you start to decide what marketing automation software is best for you and your company, make note of what you can do inside one platform. If the software requires additional, outside solutions, it should be seen as an indication that the company is behind the trend and may not be the right choice for you. 

“The best marketing automation software is not limited to one or two features; it provides opportunities for marketers to reach prospects, leads, and customers at every stage of the funnel through any channel.”

– Ryan Malone, CEO, SmartBug Media

How Does Marketing Automation Software Work? 

Marketing automation software integrates seamlessly with your website, social media, lead conversion, and customer tracking tools. The best software is able to provide you with ways to grow each channel and improve the overall ROI of your marketing efforts by tracking visit-to-lead and lead-to-customer conversion rates.

Using marketing automation software will also give you an added benefit of content marketing and SEO, making it easy to launch, grow, and report on new inbound marketing campaigns.

Key Software Features

    • Complete campaign management
    • Contact segmentation and management
    • Social media marketing automation
    • Content management system (CMS)
    • Call-to-action creation and management
    • Landing page creation and management
    • Email marketing automation
    • Lead nurturing automation
    • Blogging creation and automation
    • Robust sales and marketing analytics across all tools
    • Customer relationship management (CRM) and CRM integration
    • Search engine optimization (SEO) guidance and management
    • Online marketing tools all in one place
    • PLUS MORE depending on the software you choose

Immediate Benefits of Marketing Automation Software

There are many benefits to using a marketing automation tool. Below are some of the many areas in which you will see improvement in your marketing team.

webinar-icon-1Productivity:
Marketing automation tools help to make your marketing team more efficient by providing planning, execution, and analysis tools all in one place. This helps to streamline your marketing processes.

webinar-icon-2Qualified Leads:
Because you can easily manage your website, create conversion paths when needed, and analyze performance quickly, you will start to see the total
amount of leads increase in quantity and quality.

icon-sitemapLead Behavior Insights:
Everything can be tracked, giving you insights into lead behavior beyond email opens and click-through rates. You can see how leads are interacting on your website, how they're getting there, and other key data points.

webinar-icon-3Communication Between Sales & Marketing:
It's important that sales and marketing teams are working toward the same goals. With marketing automation, you can keep sales in the loop on new leads, set up lead scoring, and report on month-to-month growth.

icon-seo-approachMarketing ROI:
Marketers struggle to prove that what they're doing is worthwhile. Using marketing automation, you can track leads’ first-touch, the moment they become qualified, and the journey to becoming a customer. Prove that your marketing efforts are driving revenue for your company.

3 Common Misconceptions of Marketing Automation Software

1Marketing automation is just another name for email marketing:

Often, people assume marketing automation and email are the same thing, but this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Sure, email is a component of marketing automation, but it is not all-encompassing. Email is simply one feature of the marketing automation machine—if done right.

2Marketing automation is spammy:

There is a myth floating around that marketing automation is just a means to shoot off spam email. False. In fact, marketing automation actually makes sending personal, targeted, and relevant messages much easier. 

With marketing automation, you can collect information about email recipients to better understand their wants and needs to tailor your offers to their interests. Does that sound like spam to you? Probably not.

3Marketing automation is a genie who provides me with unlimited customers whenever I want:

Marketing automation does not mean that you snap your fingers and all of your marketing dreams come true instantly. Leads and customers do not simply appear because you have the right tools. 

Marketing automation aids the sales and marketing team when the customer base gets too big for them to handle on their own … but the strategy behind it is all human. 

Marketers set goals, implement tactics, and monitor results to re-evaluate their initial strategy. Marketing automation tools simply help streamline and automate marketing processes, a key component of ensuring your tactics and processes are sound. 

Is Marketing Automation Software Really Worth It?

Yes, and here’s why: 

Sales agents spend 22 percent more time selling when marketing automation is deployed. 

Gartner estimates a 15 percent savings on creative production when businesses use a marketing automation system. 

Businesses that nurture leads make 50 percent more sales at a cost 33 percent less than non-nurtured prospects. 

Seventy-eight percent of high-performing marketers say that marketing automation software is responsible for improving revenue contribution. 

Spending for marketing automation tools is expected to reach $25.1 billion annually by 2023.

Key Players

Now that you understand what marketing automation is, let’s take a look at key players in the industry and the pros and cons of each. In this guide, we will be comparing HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot, the three are major players in the industry that provide the most robust solutions.

HubSpot

HubSpot: Touted as the No. 1 inbound marketing platform and the father of inbound marketing.

HubSpot, now a public company, is known as the all-in-one inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. The founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, coined the term “inbound marketing.”

4 Notable Facts About HubSpot

  1. Rated as a 5-star marketing software by G2Crowd
  2. Ranked #1 in customer satisfaction by VentureBeat
  3. Target market: SMB and enterprises
  4. More than 64,800 customers 

Marketo

Marketo: “Best-In Class Marketing Automation Software”

Marketo is a traditional and well-regarded publicly traded enterprise and mid-market marketing automation software with SEO tools. Their main product focuses are on marketing automation and lead management.

4 Notable Facts About Marketo

  1. Ranked as the #4 marketing platform by Gartner
  2. Marketing automation platform with strong emphasis on email and lead generation/nurturing
  3. Target market: SMBs and enterprise
  4. More than 5,000 customers 

Pardot

Pardot: “No Hassle Marketing Automation”

Pardot is a B2B marketing automation software that has recently grown with its acquisition by Salesforce.

3 Notable Facts About Pardot

  1. Part of the Salesforce Sales Cloud
  2. Target market: previously focused on SMBs, but moving upmarket with Salesforce
  3. About 2,000 customers

Chapter 02

Chapter 2: Comparing User Experience, Pricing & CMS Functionality

When choosing the marketing automation software that makes sense for you, it's important to consider the user experience, cost, and content management system functionality.

User Experience

User experience, or UX, is how a person feels when interacting and interfacing with a system. Factors that influence UX include how intuitive the software is to use and how quickly someone can learn it.

Find out how to develop a quality, lead-generating website. Download: The Keys  to Website UX and Usability

In this case, we’re comparing the user experience across three of the top marketing automation platforms. 

HubSpot User Experience

Pros: 

  • It is an all-in-one marketing platform.
  • Only having to learn one tool saves time.
  • Reporting is available on different segments using the same data points.
  • Navigation is clear and intuitive.
  • Customer service is easy to reach online and on the phone for help.
  • System is rarely down.
  • Platform easily integrates with Salesforce, Zoho, and many other CRMs.
  • Training is available from right within the tool.

Cons: 

  • HubSpot offers few options for on-site training for large marketing departments; however, HubSpot Agency Partners (like SmartBug!) can provide training.
  • Being on lower tier plans can be frustrating if you’re looking to utilize some of the additional tools and capabilities outside of those included in your plan.  Since HubSpot has a variety of packages, add-ons, and premium features, you’ll need to spend some time determining the most appropriate option for your needs.

Marketo User Experience

Pros: 

  • Educational content is available through free resources.
  • The platform integrates with CRMs and webinar platforms such as GoToWebinar, WebEx, BrightTALK, Zoom, and more.
  • Comprehensive support and Marketo Community. 
  • Partitions make it easy to organize assets and marketing campaigns across various instances.

Cons: 

  • It takes a long time to integrate.
  • It is a much more complex tool than its competitors, making it less intuitive and harder to learn.
  • There are multiple logins and bills, and little to no support help for customers.
  • It is not truly an all-in-one software.
  • It is hard to see the complete picture of contact interactions and behaviors.

Pardot User Experience

Pros: 

  • Platform easily integrates with SalesForce ecosystem.
  • Interface and navigation are user-friendly.
  • Daily, virtual office hours and strategy sessions with Pardot’s Success Specialist team are available for all customers.
  • Pardot offers live weekly trainings and webinars on specific features.
  • Self-guided learning resources and knowledge base are available. 

Cons: 

  • Phone support is only available to highest-tier customers.
  • Information is not easily accessible on the Pardot homepage to help with inquiry navigation.

Pricing

The cost of software is extremely important to most companies. In this round, we’ll decide who is worth the monthly subscription cost and what is the best solution for your company based on your needs and budget.

HubSpot Pricing

Pros: 

  • HubSpot offers basic free marketing and CRM tools that allow users to start tracking website activity and generating leads.
  • Professional plans can range from $800/month to $3,200/month; however, additional costs can be incurred depending on the amount of contacts you have, add-ons, and extras.
  • There is an option to buy from a HubSpot Partner and save the cost of consulting.

Cons: 

  • Most often, a 12-month contract without backing out is required.
  • Users must negotiate a six-month term for a higher monthly price.
  • There is an additional cost for group and individual coaching. 
  • Cost increases based on number of contacts in the system.

Marketo Pricing

Pros: 

  • A trial period is available so customers can ensure the cost is worth it. 
  • Quarterly and annual payments are available.
  • Pricing tiers start at $895/month and can go up depending on add-ons and additional functionality or features needed.

Cons: 

  • Users must pay for add-ons including advanced analytics (revenue cycle analytics) and social media.

Pardot Pricing

Pros: 

  • Pricing begins at $1,000/month.
  • The platform is ranked No. 1 in total cost of ownership in lead management automation by leading analysts.
  • Month-to-month options with no commitments are available.
  • Favorable pricing is available for multiple URL deals.
  • Pardot is known to discount heavily.

Cons: 

  • The starting price is the most expensive of all systems at $1,000/month. 

CMS Functionality

It is extremely important to have a content management system (CMS) that is easy to access, make changes in, and publish from without a developer. 

A CMS lets users change content on their website without having to write code. Yes, we said it: without having to write code. 

In this section, we’ll compare systems for robustness, features, and ease of use.

HubSpot CMS Functionality 

Pros: 

  • The new content optimization system (COS) focuses on ensuring content delivered to the user is dynamic, personalized, and easily read by search engine crawlers.
  • This CMS automatically enables mobile responsive design capabilities without extra fees.
  • Smart content capabilities (content changes based on lead intelligence) are included.
  • The drag-and-drop template builder means no developer needed for changes.

Cons: 

  • Not many developers know how to build on HubSpot because of the proprietary nature of software. However, most HubSpot Partners will know how to do this. 

Marketo CMS Functionality 

Pros: 

  • The system supports any content management system.
  • The system supports any type of content.
  • No IT support is required.

Cons: 

  • Users must create a dynamic content block in a separate module.
  • Users would need to purchase additional software for CMS integration. 
  • This CMS requires management of multiple systems.

Pardot CMS Functionality 

Pros: 

  • This CMS has dynamic content functionality. (The page has the ability to change based on the interests or past behavior of the viewer.)
  • Custom HTML/CSS templates (to match site style), as well as drag-and-drop content modules, are available in live preview.

Cons: 

  • User difficulty is high because dynamic content requires copying and pasting code into raw HTML.
  • The CMS is not responsive.
  • Edit style is available ONLY in-page (can’t skin your site/apply custom style).
  • This CMS requires management of multiple systems.

Chapter 03

Comparing Tools: Social Media, Blogging, and SEO

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty: content creation and syndication. It’s important that the marketing automation software you choose gives you the proper tools to publish and promote all of that awesome content you’re creating!

Social Media Tools

Love it or hate it, social media has become one of the building blocks of successful marketing campaigns. Having seamlessly integrated social media tools is extremely important for productivity and the ROI of your marketing team.

HubSpot Social Media Tools

Pros: 

  • Social scheduling, publishing, and monitoring tools are available.
  • Social analytics include ROI of social networks against other channels.
  • Social monitoring is available with lead intelligence tools that allow you to keep track of visitors, leads, and customers generated from social. 

Cons: 

  • Automated social publishing is limited to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube Reports.

Marketo Social Media Tools

Pros: 

  • Social media platforms can be integrated with your current marketing campaigns.
  • Customers can easily fill in landing page forms via social media profiles.
  • Native integration for LinkedIn Lead Gen and Facebook Lead Ads.

Cons: 

  • Monitor and reporting capabilities may not be robust enough for the typical enterprise customer.
  • Users are currently not able to schedule or publish social media posts directly from Marketo.

Pardot Social Media Tools

Pros: 

  • A publishing tool with scheduled publishing is available.
  • Analytics for individual messages (likes, comments, clicks, unique clicks) are provided.
  • Social Insight tool collects data from various public sources (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) and displays the information with a lead’s Pardot profile.

Cons: 

  • Analytics could be more comprehensive.

Blogging Tools

By maintaining an active blog, your company gains the ability to build thought leadership among your prospects, leads, and customers and become a resource within your niche. Consequently, you can convert more visitors into leads and more leads into customers, making this round extremely important.

HubSpot Blogging Tools

Pros: 

  • Built-in SEO is included without plugins or add-ons.
  • CTAs that direct to landing pages are available to assist with visitor conversion.
  • The blogging tool integrates with all other tools within HubSpot (e.g., email).
  • Users can have multiple blogs on one domain.

Cons: 

  • Some users believe that if you’re used to Wordpress or another CMS, HubSpot’s blog flexibility can seem limiting.

Marketo Blogging Tools

Currently, Marketo does not offer a blogging platform.

Pardot Blogging Tools

Currently, Pardot does not offer a blogging platform.

SEO Tools

Now, more than ever, users are searching for solutions to their problems online via search engines. Getting found with search tools like Google, Yahoo, and Bing can be challenging, but, if done correctly, it can be extremely rewarding.

The marketing automation software that you choose should make it easy to identify SEO opportunities and challenges.

HubSpot SEO Tools

Pros: 

  • The Topics tool makes it easy to discover and rank for the topics that matter to you and your customers.
  • You’ll get topic suggestions based on relevance, competition, and popularity, as well as access to monthly search data so you can estimate how ranking for specific topics will translate to organic traffic gains. 
  • You’ll have access to on-page SEO advice for blog posts, landing pages, and site pages.
  • Suggestions are provided for keywords to track (including identifying long-tail and competitive opportunities) and how keywords could rank better.

Cons: 

  • Not as robust of a tool as Ahrefs or SEMrush.

Marketo SEO Tools

Pros: 

  • This tool analyzes keyword ranking of your company and its competitors and offers keyword suggestions based on results.
  • You’ll get recommendations for webpage optimization to help search engines index your site.
  • Inbound link opportunities are identified based on targeted keywords.
  • You’ll have the ability to drive keywords that focus on revenue.

Cons: 

  • Not as robust of a tool as Ahrefs or SEMrush.

Pardot SEO Tools

Pros: 

  • You can track keyword difficulty, CPC, and approximate search volume.
  • Keyword Monitoring provides insight into how well certain keywords are performing.
  • Competitor Monitoring allows marketers to see how their SEO ranks against their competitors. 
  • You can analyze results from custom reports. 

Cons: 

  • There is no Keyword Suggestions tool to offer assistance to you and your team.
  • The tool is not as robust as Ahrefs or SEMrush.

Chapter 04

Comparing A/B Testing Capabilities & Conversion Tools

Optimizing your site’s content and design isn’t a “set it and forget it” thing. If you want to connect with leads on a deeper level, you’ll need to be able to look at data and make changes to improve your users’ experiences and raise your conversion rates. This is where A/B testing and conversion optimization can take your efforts to the next level.

A/B Testing Capabilities

Have you ever wondered if a red button or a blue button would perform best on your website? Maybe you’ve second-guessed what combination of words will generate the most clicks on a CTA. With A/B testing, you can collect and compile data on marketing assets that will help to inform future decisions. 

HubSpot A/B Testing Capabilities

Pros: 

  • It is easy to switch between variations.
  • Users can tell which varying elements produce the best results with ease.
  • Users can A/B test landing pages, CTAs, and emails within the tool.

Cons: 

  • Users can only test two variations at a time for landing pages and email.
  • A/B testing is only available with the Marketing Hub Professional or Enterprise plan.
  • There is a learning curve with using this product.

Marketo A/B Testing Capabilities

Pros: 

  • It is user-friendly and intuitive for email marketing campaigns.
  • Users can do batch email A/B testing.
  • Champion/Challenger Testing allows marketers to continually send a test email to certain recipients who are a part of a triggered campaign.
  • Users can A/B test landing pages.

Cons: 

  • A/B testing is limited to certain Marketo features such as landing pages.

Pardot A/B Testing Capabilities

Pros: 

  • Multi-variation testing is available (you can test two or more variations at a time).
  • You can choose which percent of your audience can see each of the options.

Cons: 

  • A/B Testing in Pardot is only available when sending list emails which are used for one-time sends.
  • Two or more landing pages must be created independent of each other.

Conversion Tools

In this next section, we will review how easy it is to convert visitors into leads and leads into customers by comparing CTAs, forms, and landing page tools.

CTAs

Calls to action (CTAs) are what prompt visitors to do something, whether that means subscribing to your blog, scheduling a demo, downloading an e-book, or anything else.

Let’s compare the CTA tools that HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot have to offer. 

HubSpot CTA Tools

Pros: 

  • Smart CTAs are available that change based on the behavior and interests of the user.
  • The platform’s CTA creator has the ability to be A/B tested (although A/B testing not available with basic package).
  • CTA analytics reporting is provided to ensure your CTAs are performing as they were intended to.
  • CTAs are integrated into content tools throughout the platform.

Cons: 

  • Basic CSS knowledge can be helpful when customizing CTAs in HubSpot.

Marketo CTA Tools

Marketo does not currently offer a CTA tool inherent in the software, but you can connect with Uberflip CTA creation tool.

Pardot CTA Tools

Pardot does not currently offer a CTA tool inherent in the software, but you can connect with Uberflip CTA creation tool.

Forms

HubSpot Forms

Pros: 

  • Forms are easy to set up and customize, and you can drag and drop fields into the forms.
  • Progressive profiling is possible with smart forms that recognize returning visitors and ask different questions to enhance and build upon their profile over time.
  • Form field validation is a built-in error detection that keeps your database clean with real emails and phone numbers.
  • With dependent form fields, you can easily ask your contacts further qualifying questions based on their previous answers.
  • CAPTCHAs can be added to forms in order to verify that a visitor is not a robot before they can submit the form.

Cons: 

  • No form logic available.

Marketo Forms

Pros: 

  • Progressive profiling is possible with smart forms that recognize returning visitors and ask different questions to enhance and build upon their profile over time.
  • Includes drag-and-drop form capabilities for user ease.
  • Custom fields are available.
  • The software can de-duplicate leads from forms in order to prevent duplicate records.
  • Form logic (if/then statements) via Enabled Visibility makes it easy to customize forms and collect data.
  • Form layout and format are customizable.

Cons: 

  • CAPTCHAs are currently not offered on forms, making it difficult to prevent form fills from robots. 

Pardot Forms

Pros: 

  • Users can view analytics on individual forms, not just landing pages.
  • Progressive profiling/smart field functionality and email validator are included to ensure email information is accurate.
  • Form logic, redirect, and handlers are included to ensure customization.
  • Fields are customizable with drag-and-drop feature.

Cons: 

  • It can be difficult to set up and users must manually select which fields must be filled out to show new ones.

Landing Page Tools

HubSpot Landing Page Tools

Pros: 

  • These tools are easy to use, responsive, and customizable with no code required.
  • Users can trigger workflows and follow-up emails from the landing page tool.
  • Responsive landing pages and landing page optimization are included.
  • Users are able to view landing page data, including conversion rates, page views, submissions, and more.
  • Automatic redirects are included when links change.
  • Users can easily create multiple landing page templates with a drag-and-drop design tool.
  • Users can test different variations of landing pages.

Cons: 

  • Unless your website is hosted on HubSpot, landing pages must exist on a subdomain.

Marketo Landing Page Tools

Pros: 

  • No HTML or IT support is required.
  • Users have access to professionally designed templates, which aids in reusing content.
  • Custom landing page templates can be created using a drag-and-drop editor.
  • Users can trigger Smart Campaigns from the landing page tool.
  • Users are able to register on landing pages using their social network credentials.
  • Simple redirects are available that prevent your site from any broken links if landing pages get moved in the future.

Cons: 

  • Not all design elements of out-of-the-box templates are able to be customized or edited.
  • You’re not able to easily display a “thank you” message in the same landing page without adding HTML.

Pardot Landing Page Tools

Pros: 

  • If you use out-of-the-box templates, the drag-and-drop is very easy to use.
  • Multi-variation testing is available for landing pages.

Cons: 

  • Landing pages are not customizable; HTML or CSS is needed.
  • There is no live preview for editing content.
  • Landing page analytics are slim.

Chapter 05

Comparing Email Marketing & Lead Nurturing Capabilities

Email marketing and lead nurturing are crucial to any successful inbound strategy. Marketing automation software should make your life easier when it comes to sending marketing emails to your contacts and nudging them down the funnel via lead nurturing.

Email marketing is an excellent tool to track engagement and filter out unqualified or dead leads. Whether you’re sending out monthly newsletters, launching a new product or service, telling your current customers about a promotion, or anything in-between, using marketing automation will streamline the process of sending marketing emails.

HubSpot Email Marketing Capabilities

Pros: 

  • Email optimization and targeted email personalization are included.
  • The tool can easily segment on any criteria and automatically remove duplicate entries from your list.
  • HubSpot offers all-in-one integrated email marketing tools and access to in-depth analytics.
  • Smart Content capabilities tailor content based on recipients’ interests and behaviors.
  • Users can test email sends and preview messages on several different platforms in one place.
  • Drag-and-drop email editor makes it easy to create email templates.
  • Users can test and preview emails in a variety of formats and devices. 

Cons: 

  • A limited number of emails can be sent depending on what package you purchase.
  • To build a custom email, HTML skills are necessary for anything not basic; e.g., users must copy and paste the code for an image.

Marketo Email Marketing Capabilities

Pros: 

  • Email marketing automation is sophisticated.
  • Drag-and-drop modules make it easy to customize email templates.
  • There is no limit to the number of emails that can be sent.
  • Marketo has a reputation for having the best email functionality for marketing automation platforms.
  • Dynamic content and tokens can be used for personalizing emails.
  • The snippets feature allows users to create blocks of reusable content for emails, such as boilerplates, location, and signatures.

Cons: 

  • To build a custom email, HTML skills are necessary for anything that isn’t basic; e.g., users must copy and paste code to embed an image.

Pardot Email Marketing Capabilities

Pros: 

  • Out-of-the-box templates are included along with the ability to create your own branded templates with a simplified editor (no IT required).
  • Dynamic content functionality and list segmentation are included.
  • Pardot offers deliverability optimization with SPAM analysis, automated CAN-SPAM compliance, and email testing.
  • Email analytics are robust.

Cons: 

  • The previews for emails can be different than what is actually emailed.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is typically an automated process that allows your incoming leads to be nurtured through email campaigns down the sales funnel, encouraging leads to become marketing qualified leads (MQLs). 

Not only is this important for getting in front of your leads before your competitors, but it also provides your sales team with more qualified leads overall.

HubSpot Lead Nurturing Capabilities

Pros: 

  • Segmentation capabilities exist for contacts and lists.
  • Branching logic is available.
  • Workflows are list/goal-based and can score leads on any property/anything you can segment on.
  • Leads can be moved to the next lifecycle stage based on anything you can segment on.
  • In HubSpot, you can create a list of criteria from all your marketing channels and personalize content based on those lists.
  • You can also view the performance and reporting of each lead nurture/workflow directly from the workflow tool.

Cons: 

  • Setup and timing can be complicated.

Marketo Lead Nurturing Capabilities

Pros: 

  • Anonymous real-time personalization is a great feature and allows you to engage with anonymous first-time visitors to your website by identifying criteria such as digital behavior (although it is a pricey add-on).
  • Marketing automation platform is solid.
  • Users have access to multiple lists and workflows.
  • Lead scoring system is professional and efficient.

Cons: 

  • A third-party consultant is needed to set up marketing funnel and lead nurturing.

Pardot Lead Nurturing Capabilities

Pros: 

  • Simple drag-and-drop process associated with drip campaigns (branching logic) offer the ability to include a condition check partway through the campaign and send a prospect off in a different direction based on whether they opened an email or clicked on a link.
  • Pardot offers lead score (intent) and lead grade (interest/good fit) options.

Cons: 

  • Pardot only allows one list or segment, which makes it difficult to plan for certain scenarios.
  • If a lead doesn’t complete a certain action within a given time period, they will be sent down the “no” branch.
  • There is no ability to segment on anything aside from contact properties.

Chapter 06

Comparing API Integrations, and Reporting Tools

As marketers, we’re used to leaping between different channels and ecosystems and using data from multiple sources to better target more relevant audiences. API integrations make it easy to manage contacts and data from a variety of sources, all while saving time. In this chapter, we’ll also compare one of the most invaluable features of marketing automation software: reporting.

API Integrations

API integrations allow one program to easily speak to and interact with another program. This technology is what drives social tools, CRM systems, and other integrations within marketing automation software tools.

HubSpot API Integrations Capabilities

Pros: 

  • HubSpot includes multiple plugin integrations to top CRM, e-commerce, and blogging tools, ensuring all external tools are still available in one consolidated tool.
  • HubSpot works with more than 200 related apps, including Google Analytics and Salesforce.

Cons: 

  • API access is off-limits for basic package.

Marketo API Integrations Capabilities

Pros: 

  • The CRM integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, which enables data from marketing and sales efforts.
  • Marketo offers a Sales Rep Insight Dashboard.
  • There is a priority rating based on customized triggers.
  • Webhooks allow marketers to integrate calls to external systems as a part of a campaign flow (Marketo).

Cons: 

  • Daily API call limit can hinder performance when syncing from Salesforce.

Pardot API Integrations Capabilities

Pros: 

  • Pardot includes multiple native CRM integrations, including Salesforce, Sugar, Netsuite, and Dynamics.
  • Revenue and opportunity sync with Salesforce.
  • With Salesforce, Pardot is an all-in-one platform.
  • It is hard to compete with Pardot in this category.

Cons: 

  • Pardot heavily depends on API access to function properly.

Competitor Insights

Though most of your time will be spent focusing on your own company, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on your competition as well. Having insight into their current goings-on can help you establish a benchmark for your company, understand industry trends, and tweak efforts as needed based on what you observe.

HubSpot Competitor Insights

Pros: 

  • HubSpot includes head-to-head reporting (current and trends over time).
  • Users can compare many robust analytics, including traffic rank, social media following, number of linking domains, indexed pages, MozRank, and holistic marketing grade.
  • HubSpot can tell if competitor has (y/n) blog, RSS, and social accounts.
  • These insights are optimized for mobile.

Cons: 

  • Only up to 10 competitors can be tracked.

Marketo Competitor Insights

Marketo does not currently offer a tool for competitor insights. 

Pardot Competitor Insights

Pros: 

  • Pardot compares indexed pages, number of inbound links, traffic rank, and domain authority.
  • Users receive a weekly competitors report email.
  • If a user goes to the Search Marketing screen without having any competitors added in their account, the system will automatically add the user’s company as a competitor for comparison.

Cons: 

  • Limited head-to-head reporting is available.
  • Competitor overview has limited data.

Marketing Analytics

It is important for any company to analyze and prove the value of a marketing automation software tool. In this section, we will break down which tools make it easiest to prove ROI.

HubSpot Marketing Analytics

Pros: 

  • The analytics dashboard has an extremely user-friendly and customizable interface.
  • Reporting segments by channel, source, and so on. 
  • Custom reporting is available for single data set or across data sets.
  • Contacts behavior reporting is included.
  • HubSpot sends a monthly overview of performance, including a PowerPoint slide deck that you can customize.
  • Additional reporting tools for sales have been added.
  • Campaigns report is now available.
  • Social campaign reporting is segmented by leads, customers, and prospects.

Cons: 

  • Custom reporting may be limited depending on the account type.
  • Users may experience sporadic time delays with reporting.

Marketo Marketing Analytics

Pros: 

  • The Revenue Cycle Analytics reporting platform is robust, highly customizable, and offers multi-touch revenue reporting.
  • Within the Revenue Cycle Analytics platform, the Opportunity Influence Analyzer report allows you to view the history of an opportunity’s touch points.
  • The Program Analyzer report needs to be set up and identifies the best- and worst-performing programs.
  • Marketo offers a range of attribution models, such as single-touch models, out-of-the-box multi-touch models, and AI-powered custom models.

Cons: 

  • There are few touch points beyond email and webinars (no social or CTA reporting).
  • The Revenue Cycle Analytics reporting platform does not come as a standard feature within Marketo and must be added on.

Pardot Marketing Analytics

Pros: 

  • Opportunity Sync allows for some nice-looking revenue reporting, which is great if your marketing machine is already running and you need to report on it.
  • Purchase of GoodData integration allows you to pull a report that is similar to the Sources Report in HubSpot, but this requires an additional purchase.
  • Reporting is available for content, visual campaign performance, and monthly cohort report.

Cons: 

  • High-level ROI analytics are lacking and reporting revolves around email campaigns.
  • Similar reports are available in Salesforce.

 

The Decision Is Yours

All-in-one marketing platforms such as HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot can revitalize and transcend your marketing efforts and take your campaigns to new levels. 

By utilizing all available marketing automation software and tools, you can grow the amount of qualified leads coming to your website and close customers at a faster rate. 

Don’t have time to implement the software or build out an inbound marketing strategy? Don’t worry. Our team of strategic marketers, developers, and designers are standing by to answer any questions you may have surrounding marketing automation software, inbound marketing, and beyond. 

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation Software
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