January 22, 2020

HubSpot and Marketo’s Winter Releases: A Head-to-Head Comparison

As we start 2020, HubSpot is ranked the number one marketing automation platform for mid-market and enterprise by G2 Crowd. When you narrow down the market segment to enterprise only, Marketo is right behind them in second place. 

So with both companies vying for the top spot, how will their recent winter 2020 releases impact their respective standings?

We put Marketo’s Winter 2020 releases head-to-head against HubSpot’s Marketing Enterprise updates to see which will come out on top.

What’s New with Marketo

Adobe Experience Manager asset selector

This update allows Marketo users to access assets from Adobe Experience Manager (a CMS and DAM). While this integration is convenient for users of both products, it doesn’t add anything for Marketo users who are not also Adobe Experience Manager customers.

In comparison, the connection between the HubSpot CMS and Marketing Hub is a tighter integration, because the two tools were built to work together, at a lower price.

Result: HubSpot is on the board first.

Microsoft Dynamics sync

With this update, Marketo users will be able to sync leads and contacts with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM in real-time, which strengthens the integration between the two platforms. 

While HubSpot does connect with Dynamics, Marketo’s integration is more robust, and this new update solidifies Marketo’s advantage in this regard even further.

However, the ease of use and syncing ability of Marketo and Dynamics still doesn’t compete with that of HubSpot Marketing Hub with the HubSpot CRM.

Result: Marketo wins for Dynamics users.

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

Marketo has improved the functionality of how data from LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms is captured to account for a couple of additional fields. 

If you’re looking at just the LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms capabilities of both HubSpot and Marketo, the two platforms are equally effective. However, revenue attribution in HubSpot (more on that later) provides users with an easier and more accurate way to measure the success of lead gen ads.

Result: HubSpot comes out on top.

Email template dependencies API

Marketo users will now be able to pull a list of which assets are using a particular email template, which makes it easier to understand how template changes will impact existing content. This new feature definitely solves a pain point for Marketo users. 

HubSpot already does this and will proactively show you the list of emails using a template before allowing you to edit a template from its email tool. That combined with HubSpot’s more user-friendly interface means that while this is an improvement for Marketo, HubSpot still has the advantage.

Result: HubSpot adds to their lead.

Multi-instance management enhancements

Marketo will now organize instances in an alphabetical, scrollable menu. For users who manage multiple Marketo accounts, this will make doing so slightly easier. 

HubSpot has an accounts dashboard, which can be organized by name, domain, sessions or leads. You can also pin accounts to make accessing them even easier. 

While HubSpot’s internal management capabilities in this area make accessing multiple instances more convenient compared to Marketo, overall this feature is probably not important enough to make or break a decision between the two platforms.

Result: No ground gained by either side.

ABM account discovery (beta)

With assistance from AI, Marketo ABM users will now be able to get recommendations of target accounts that match their ideal customer profile (ICP) who aren’t already in their database. Its ABM features are already one of Marketo’s biggest competitive advantages over HubSpot, and this new capability continues to add to that advantage.

HubSpot is starting to roll out ABM features this quarter, but their new features focus on enabling users to better report on the effectiveness of ABM efforts as opposed to helping users proactively do ABM.

Result: Marketo’s ABM features beat HubSpot’s, tightening the gap.

Bizible Marketo Engage leads integration

The new update to the Bizible-Marketo Engage integration enables users of both tools to understand how Marketo Engage is contributing to lead generation from within Marketo Engage. Additionally, Discover Boards in Bizible are being improved to increase filtering capabilities and the ability to drill down into data.

You can already do all those things within HubSpot Marketing Hub without adding a separate product to your software stack.

At New Breed, we’ve used both HubSpot and Bizible for attribution reporting. We actually consulted with HubSpot as they were developing their revenue attribution reports to provide insight into what marketers would find valuable.

With that in mind, I obviously feel that HubSpot’s reporting is superior to what the Marketo Engage-Bizible can do, and HubSpot’s has the added perk of being native to a single platform.

Result: An upset victory for HubSpot!

Marketo Sky image editing

With this update, Marketo Sky users can edit images directly in Design Studio, which is where you can create and manage assets like email templates, landing page templates, forms, images and files. These editing capabilities include not just cropping, but also enhancing and adding text. While this update may not have the biggest impact on your ability to implement and measure your overall marketing strategy, it can definitely remove some of the friction associated with visual asset creation. 

Instead of having to edit images in a separate tool — which might also require a separate team member with experience using image editing software — Marketo Sky users can update their visuals directly in the platform.

HubSpot does let you crop and resize photos in file manager but does not currently have the capability to let you edit them to this extent.

Result: Adobe’s acquisition of Marketo gives them the edge in design features.

Salesforce Lightning bulk actions

Users of both Marketo Engage and Salesforce Lightning will be able to send Marketo emails in bulk through SalesForce Lightning to up to 200 contacts. 

You can do this in HubSpot too, but there’s only a very small use case for why you’d want to send emails through Salesforce as opposed to just through HubSpot. So ultimately, HubSpot does this better because it eliminates the need for this integration. 

Result: Point for Marketo but time is running out.

Mobile support for Salesforce1

When this update goes live, users of the Salesforce1 app will be able to use all the Marketo Engage Sales Insight Features in the Salesforce1 app. For users of the Salesforce1 app, this will make it more convenient to access these insights. 

HubSpot does not connect with the Salesforce1 app this way, so if using that app is part of your team’s process, Marketo has the advantage here.

Result: Marketo pulls off a clutch win heading into the break.

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What’s New with HubSpot 

Partitioning (beta)

With partitioning, Marketing Hub Enterprise users can adjust user permission levels to ensure team members only have access to the assets relevant to them. You can also set up roles and teams with preset permissions to make this process easier when a new hire starts, someone changes roles, or you want to change permissions across an entire team at once.

This is a great enhancement that allows for better organization and team management and solves for a pain point HubSpot users were having.

Marketo enables you to adjust your team in a similar manner using Workspaces and Person Partitions. However, in their own documentation about the function, they call out how complex it is to set up. HubSpot’s partitioning abilities were set up to be easy to use, making this a clear advantage of HubSpot.

Result: HubSpot comes out of the gates strong with their first release.

Revenue attribution

Marketing Hub Enterprise users can now easily measure how their marketing efforts track back to revenue with HubSpot’s new multi-touch revenue attribution reports. This feature can help marketers better understand the effectiveness of various tactics and prove the value of their work. 

As mentioned above, you can report on revenue attribution in Marketo Engage through an integration with Bizible. However, those reports are not as easy to use or as easy to customize as HubSpot’s, and they require you to purchase Bizible, a separate software. On the other hand, HubSpot’s revenue attribution reports are included with Marketing Hub Enterprise.

Result: This is a game-changer for HubSpot users; I don’t see how Marketo recovers from here.

Multiple subscriptions centers (beta)

The ability to let your contacts opt-out of communications is a necessity with the growing emphasis on consumer privacy. With HubSpot’s multiple subscription centers, you can create different email setting options for the different teams or regions of your company to simplify the process ensuring every contact gets only relevant communications. 

It’s possible to provide different email preferences for different business sections in Marketo, but it’s not easy. You’d either need to create workspaces and partitions to separate your business areas or do a lot of manual work to set up your subscription options.

Result: HubSpot keeps their momentum going with another win.

Adaptive testing

Adaptive testing is multivariate testing that used AI to optimize its effectiveness. Instead of just comparing two variations of a page, like A/B testing does, adaptive testing can compare up to five variations. Then, HubSpot’s AI will help narrow down the top performers and pick a winner for you. This allows Hubspot Enterprise Users to do testing at scale more effectively. 

Marketo can do A/B testing, but it doesn’t do multivariate testing.

Result: HubSpot is on fire!

Account-based marketing (beta)

HubSpot is starting to roll out account-based marketing (ABM) tools for Marketing Hub Enterprise users. These tools are aimed to help users better report on how their ABM strategies are performing and include company scoring and new reports. 

As mentioned earlier, these tools don’t help users proactively do ABM at this time, so Marketo is still stronger in that regard. However, HubSpot is planning to continue developing these capabilities.

Result: Marketo picks up some quality points here.

Higher capacity limits

HubSpot’s Marketing Hub Enterprise capacity limits have now doubled for workflows and reports per dashboard, increasing from 500 to 1,000 and 10 to 20 respectively. 

Marketo doesn’t place capacity limits on these features, but their platform’s performance can take a hit because of that. HubSpot’s capacity limits are put in place to maximize their speed, and they’re constantly working to increase those limits so their customers can maximize their use of the platform without its performance suffering.

Result: Too close to call.

The Takeaway

Both Marketo and HubSpot have strong capabilities, but Marketo hasn’t focused its product updates around its customers’ needs to the same extent as HubSpot. While it may have individual features that beat out the HubSpot equivalents, overall, HubSpot has more functionality and doesn’t require multiple tools to effectively accomplish all its functions.

Furthermore, HubSpot is a more stable brand, which enables it to continue its focus on extensibility and all-in-one usage. 

While HubSpot is still led by its founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, none of Marketo’s original founders remain with the company. Furthermore, their CEO Steve Lucas left the company a year after it was acquired by Adobe. At the moment, Marketo isn’t focusing on how to improve their platform for their users, but rather how their platform fits in with the rest of Adobe’s offerings. Marketo has been extending its functionality through add-ons and integrations with other tools, a trend that seems likely to continue after this newest batch of updates.

HubSpot has always been easier to use than Marketo, and their newest batch of updates highlights that their ease of use is combined with enterprise-grade power. 

Considering all that, it seems like HubSpot is not only starting 2020 on top but will continue to cement their best-in-class position as the year progresses.

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Guido Bartolacci

Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.


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