HubSpot vs. Marketo vs. Pardot

Written by: CRO:NYX Team

Published: 16 May, 2024

HubSpot vs. Marketo vs. Pardot Choosing Your Marketing Automation Ally

Considering requirements, integrations, costs, subscription plans and user proficiency, choosing a new platform can be both exciting and overwhelming. While there are a number of automation platforms available, three industry leaders are clear: Marketo, HubSpot and Pardot. We’ve outlined key features and provided comparisons across the three.



Marketing Platform Investment

When considering a marketing automation platform the first thing up for review is price. It’s important to understand your current and projected business needs in order to make an informed decision. While certain platforms may boast low costs upfront, they often end up accruing additional fees over time for feature upgrades. It’s also helpful to know who the end-user(s) will be when it comes to selecting a platform. Some have steeper learning curves than others and may be less intuitive for non-digital natives. Here are some things to take into consideration:

  • Upfront costs and understanding what exactly is included. Be sure to ask about ongoing support and what that looks like. It could mean a dedicated account representative, live chat, self-serve forum, or a ticketing service. 
  • Training and certifications. Some platforms include training for a fee while others do not. It’s important to ask as system updates, marketing trends, and business needs will always evolve and require continued learning and troubleshooting. 
  • Monthly subscriptions. Take the time to build out your requirements so that you’re not distracted by all the shining features you’ll never use, but get billed for. 
  • Users. If your user count will outnumber your allocated seats, take that overage into consideration. Will everyone, at every level, require access? Do we want dedicated super-users?
  • Email contacts are pertinent to your database. Many platforms have base pricing for the number of contacts and do charge overages once you have exceeded the threshold.


Contact & Lead Management

Lead scoring helps marketers identify a customer's purchase readiness, while lead grading takes a holistic view of a lead’s characteristics and evaluates whether the customer is a good fit to your service/product. 

Both HubSpot and Pardot have predictive lead scoring to help with both efficacy and efficiency. While Marketo offers ample lead scoring configurations to be applied manually, it is not predictive. 

Pardot breaks apart scoring from grading to provide a clear distinction and an accurate lead qualification model. HubSpot allows the end user to create a grade within scoring which can skew results because it is a manual setup. Marketo does not offer lead grading.


Email Marketing & Nurture Workflows 

Surprise and delight is the name of the game. Being timely in reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right content is worth its weight in gold. Considering how many emails are often in the pipeline, efficiency is key. 

Hit the ground running with HubSpot. They offer both premade templates, and their drag and drop editor makes it easy to craft well-designed emails with ease. You can even create templates to be used repeatedly in the future. 

Pardot and Marketo require a little more effort when it comes to crafting an email. While Marketo also offers premade templates and a drag and drop functionality, the interface isn’t as intuitive as HubSpot and may require one to flex their HTML skills. Pardot offers responsive design templates that you can customize. While this is an added bonus, it does require more thought when designing your email from the get go. 


Landing Pages

Designing landing pages that convert is a key component of the customer journey. It’s important to create, test, and iterate to maximize on conversion. 

Ensuring your landing page is optimized for mobile is an absolute must and some platforms make it easier than others. Marketo offers 2 format options; free-form for developers and a simple drag and drop for the rest of us. They also offer multivariate testing. 

HubSpot offers a more pared down approach. While their clean and intuitive drag and drop format makes things straightforward, they only offer 2-variant testing. While this may feel limiting, it's likely due to the fact that HubSpot has done a lot of the testing behind the scenes. 

Similar to their email builder, Pardot offers responsive, mobile first templates that should be carefully thought out. They, too, offer multivariate testing. 


Reporting & Analytics

How we collect, interpret and define data can be complex. For this reason, consider the end-user using the platform for reporting and analytics. Pardot  provides out-of-the-box reports for the end user and a baked-in integration with SalesForce. This means that a lot of the data will be available real-time across multiple channels in a succinct manner. Marketo and HubSpot can both be integrated with SalesForce via app; however, the data models may have fault lines. 

Marketo’s dashboards can provide flexibility to its end user, but the journey can be exhaustive. It would be recommended that the end user have a crystal clear vision for the dashboard and understand how to layer relative components accordingly. Newbies, proceed with caution. 

While HubSpot offers many out-of-the-box dashboards like Pardot, it has a friendlier interface for building custom reports and dashboards compared to Marketo. There’s also the added aid from HubSpot Academy for added training and support. 

All three platforms offer CSV, Excel, PDF and HTML formats for downloading your data and building reports in Excel, Data Studio, DashThis, Databox or other platforms. Marketo offers the addition of XML and TXT data download. 

Marketo may have the steeper learning curve of the three when it comes to custom reporting; however, it does offer the most depth. With enough time and practice comprehensive reports are feasible. 





User Interface (UI)

Like many elements, defining the end user should be a consideration in your final decision. After having reviewed the latter elements of each platform, the feedback is clear that Marketo can be difficult to navigate for both digital and non-digital natives. It would be wise to hand this platform over to a dedicated team who are consistently learning and working in the platform. 

If your organization has already adopted Salesforce, Pardot promises to be a near seamless next step with the Lightning app. This helps reduce redundancies while promoting efficiency and collaboration cross-functionally.  

Time and time again HubSpot comes out on top for its user interface. With clean and clear visuals and a straightforward design, HubSpot is designed for just about everyone.




Training & Support

Automation platforms are incredibly powerful tools in the right hands. For this reason, training and support have earned a position in our review. HubSpot sets its users up for success with ample options and alternatives. HubSpot provides onboarding, free access to HubSpot Academy, and 24/7 team support via live chat, phone and X (Twitter). This is offered to both subscription-based and free trial users. 

Pardot offers a similar training academy, Trailhead, but is not nearly as robust as HubSpot. Live support is available based on subscription levels. Account holders of Plus get chat support, while Advanced get access to live chat and phone support. 

Marketo offers a self-serve solution through their Marketo Nation Community forums. Team support is available 24/5 through live chat. Only designated support contacts from your organization can submit a Support Case if more assistance is required. 


Final thoughts

All three platforms offer fantastic solutions for marketing teams. The key is to define requirements, integrations and end users in order to find the right fit. 

If your organization is already using SalesForce, then Pardot may be your best bet for seamless integrations and product familiarity to further grow and nurture this ecosystem;. It really depends on your marketing team's needs.

HubSpot is incredibly user-friendly to both digital and non-digital natives alike. With all of its training resources and support, HubSpot works to enable as many users as possible, making this ideal for small to mid-sized companies, offering a great deal of agility and wiggle-room to grow. 

Marketo may offer the most depth of the three platforms when it comes to reporting and analytics. That said, it also has the steepest learning curve with coding, dashboard development, and minimal technical support. This might be the tool best designed for a super-user or small team who are routinely in the platform.

Email Marketing

Written by: CRO:NYX Team

News and articles from CRO:NYX team members & alumni.

Let's Get to Work!

We’d love to chat about how we can help you with your next project.

Get started

Let's Get to Work!

We’d love to chat about how we can help you with your next project.

Get started