Marketing is no longer about dumping money into a black hole and hoping that a customer or two...
Your inbound marketing strategy stands and falls on your ability to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. To achieve this you need to have a marketing automation tool that can help you, so what software should you choose – HubSpot, Salesforce Pardot, Marketo or Eloqua?
But before we move on: what is marketing automation? Marketing automation is, in short, the software that will help you automate your marketing efforts. As HubSpot explains:
"Marketing automation is software and tactics that make it easier for businesses to enjoy prospects with personalized and useful content, which in turn improves the conversion rate from lead to customer – and from customer to ambassador."
Interested in learning more about marketing automation and how you can use it in your marketing strategy? Read our article here.
In other words: marketing automation makes marketing far easier and is an important part of inbound marketing and sales. But what software should you go for? Let's look at some strengths, weaknesses and the various possibilities you have in different software.
A brief introduction to the various marketing automation software
HubSpot is an all-in-one solution that covers everything in marketing – from the creation of buyer personas to marketing and sales activities and analysis. Here you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), a CMS (Content Management System) and features that allow you to create workflows, run ad campaigns, update social media, and monitor these channels.
If you want to manage your own marketing and all the activities it implies, HubSpot is a great choice for you. Not only does the software have all the necessary functionalities, but it is also very easy to use.
Want to avoid using an HTML programmer whenever your website needs an update? Are you responsible for the marketing of your company and want to have a practical and easy solution? Never used a marketing automation tool before and might do some of this work for the first time? Have a limited budget? If your answer to at least one of these questions is yes, then HubSpot is a good choice for you.
HubSpot offers different versions to meet different needs. For example, they have Enterprise which is for businesses with over 30,000 contacts in their database. They also have a free version for those who want to test the software, HubSpot Free, as well as HubSpot Starter, HubSpot Basic, and HubSpot Professional.
See all the different products and what they contain here.
Pardot is now part of Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The key features of the system are lead generation and lead management, social selling and email marketing.
Pardot does not have all the possibilities you get in HubSpot, like integrated blogging and content management. On the other hand, those that have worked with Salesforce before and like this tool, most often enjoy Salesforce Pardot as well.
Marketo, like HubSpot, is available in a variety of different versions with different functionality tailored to company size and focus, such as SMEs or Enterprise. Among the features of Marketo, you will find lead generation, email marketing, mobile marketing and customer base marketing.
Whereas HubSpot is the natural choice for companies with basic marketing requirements, Marketo is the first choice for companies that have more complex marketing requirements. Larger marketing teams with higher requirements often need more technology and the ability to configure each and every aspect of their marketing with more integrations. Marketo gives you the opportunity to build a more robust technical marketing and sales system.
Eloqua is one of the biggest names in marketing automation software for large businesses (Enterprise) and is part of Oracle's marketing cloud offering. This software does not have as many possibilities as, for example, HubSpot and Marketo, and is not as robust.
Like Salesforce Pardot, there is no platform for blogging, and there are no search engine optimization tools or tools for publishing in, and monitoring of, social media. Eloqua also has little email marketing capabilities. However, the software is good for training and features good visual presentation of campaigns.
- All in one: If you invest in HubSpot you won’t need any other marketing tool as the system combines all the features you need to carry out marketing campaigns.
- Ease of Use: The software is easy to use and constantly gives you tips on how to optimise your content based on the information you have on your contacts in the system.
- Integrates with Salesforce.
- Ease of Use: Many believe that Pardot is easier to use than its competing suppliers Marketo and Eloqua.
- Email campaigns: Pardot is a good software for marketing automation and includes A/B testing.
- Integrates with Salesforce: Marketo is well integrated with the Salesforce user interface and uses real-time communication between applications.
- Adaptable: Marketo is adaptable to complex streams, but it can be somewhat overwhelming for people who do not have very high skills.
- Online Training: Many believe the training and "society" Eloqua offers is one of the software's biggest strengths.
- Visual campaigns: In Eloqua, there is a campaign canvas that visualises all your campaigns.
- Flexibility: Non-technical users believe the system is missing alternatives, while those with more technical coding skills say that the system does not offer enough support to work with self-designed encoding. Hubspot offers templates and reports, but the flexibility is limited.
- CRM integration: Many users are satisfied with the Salesforce integration, but there is a challenge when it comes to reporting from both HubSpot and Salesforce. However, the users are thrilled with Hubspot's own CRM.
- Reporting: The reporting module in Pardot is difficult to handle and it is challenging to create, share and export reports.
- Social channels: Pardot's connection to social channels is not optimal, and there is room for improvement.
- Duplicate: Users often find that it is a challenge to handle duplicates, both in the system and in the CRM.
- Reporting: Basic reporting of traffic and leads in Marketo is easy, however, as soon as you need more in-depth and analytical reports, Marketo falls short.
- Performance: Marketos performance has improved over recent years, but the system is still slow, especially if you connect it to more complex databases.
- Implementation: The system is costly and complex, and is often not very flexible when implemented.
- License costs: Eloqua has many hidden costs as users must purchase access to reporting modules and templates. Even training in the system has an extra cost.
- Quality: New updates of Eloqua are not sufficiently tested, and thus the system has quite a lot of bugs.
- Customer support: Customer support responds when you make contact, but the quality of the support has become worse after Oracle purchased the system.