At the turn of the millennium, the world of marketing welcomed HubSpot and Pardot in 2005 and 2006, respectively. These two companies have since changed the game of traditional marketing, rewriting the rules of customer relationship and campaign management with the introduction of marketing automation.
Essentially, marketing automation runs on software that manages and organizes your customer data to aid in the creation of targeted and effective campaigns on social media, email, and more. All of this with very little input and direction from you, the human.
If you have the right consumer base, marketing automation really could revolutionize the way your company interacts with current and potential customers. Just remember, there will always need to be a balance between your human-based and automated marketing tactics; otherwise, your consumers may begin to feel an impersonal relationship with your brand.
So, which marketing automation software is best for your company? We’ll compare a few of HubSpot and Pardot’s key features, which will hopefully guide you on the best path to automation.
Often, one of the most significant considerations of any marketing strategy is the budget. While both Pardot and HubSpot bill on an annual basis, the amount charged will differ depending on the contacts you have and the services you need. Let’s get into it.
HubSpot is a great option for smaller and/or newer companies that may have limited budgets and marketing experience. This practically all-in-one software provides a variety of services at corresponding annual prices.
The pricing options start at $0 (yes, really!) and some even stay free forever. We’ll go over a few of the key features each pricing plan offers, but be sure to check out HubSpot’s pricing page for in-depth details. The pricing breakdown goes like this:
CRM Free—$0 per month
- HubSpot’s customer relationship management software.
- Allows for unlimited users, so the whole marketing team has access.
- Includes a leads analytics dashboard.
- Gmail and Outlook integration for email scheduling and tracking.
- Database for HubSpot Marketing Hub and HubSpot Sales Hub.
Starter—$50 per month
- Removal of HubSpot branding.
- Customized form fields.
- Email and phone customer support.
Basic—$200 per month
- Tools to aid in creating content, blog entries, and email marketing campaigns.
- Suggested strategies for content and SEO.
- Mobile optimization assistance.
Professional—$800 per month
- Marketing automation.
- Attribution reports.
- Salesforce integration.
- Email marketing campaigns.
- Opportunity for A/B testing.
Enterprise—$2,400 per month
- Customized event and revenue reports.
- Predictive lead scoring.
- Segmentation based on events.
- Company and contact reports.
You may have noticed that marketing automation only comes in at the “Professional” level—for $800 per month. So, if you‘re looking to fully automate your marketing efforts, you’re looking at around $9,600 per year.
Pardot’s software and pricing may be more suitable for larger companies, and likely the better option if you already have Salesforce. Since Pardot and Salesforce have become one and the same, the Salesforce CRM has been integrated with the Pardot platform. All of Pardot’s plans allow for up to 10,000 contacts—this means you’ll need to comb through your database from time to time and eliminate contacts that may not be relevant anymore.
The pricing options and their key features are as follows (head over to the full pricing plan page to read about all the included features). Each subsequent plan includes the components of the previous plan(s):
Standard—$1,000 per month
- Develop email marketing campaigns.
- Lead scoring.
- ROI/ROAS reports.
- Create forms and landing pages.
- Includes Salesforce CRM software.
Pro—$2,000 per month
- Detailed email analytics.
- A/B testing for email and landing pages.
- Integrated with Google AdWords.
- Create social profiles.
- Dynamic content creation.
Ultimate—$3,000 per month
- Dedicated IP address.
- Customized user roles.
- API access, for up to 100,000 calls per day and 5 simultaneous connections.
Pardot itself is a marketing automation software, so you’re looking at $12,000 per year, minimum, to use this platform in automating your marketing efforts. You’ll notice though, that the “Standard” and “Pro” plans include a few of the same features, like lead scoring and A/B testing, as HubSpot’s “Enterprise” plan, which is more expensive ($2,400 per month).
Email marketing is an integral part of any online marketing strategy. Conveniently, HubSpot and Pardot have systems in place to streamline the creation and dispersal of email campaigns (note: FeedOtter can help streamline Pardot by selecting email sending triggers, which you can learn more about here):
HubSpot’s email marketing automation capabilities (included with the “Basic” plan and above) make setting up a campaign easy, even for marketers who are relatively new to the game. You can take advantage of:
- Customizable email templates. System variables allow you to include customized features like consumers’ individual names and specific company events and/or products in each template. You can also track each template’s performance and make adjustments where necessary.
- Email scheduling. Make sure your emails are received at exactly the right time and save some work for yourself by setting up scheduled sending dates/times. You can also filter by time zone and template if your audience spans across the country.
- Email tracking. Keep track of when leads open your emails and further engage with them as necessary and view leads’ complete history of interacting with your email campaigns.
HubSpot’s got you covered from start to finish when it comes to email marketing. From creation, to scheduling, to tracking, most of the work is automatically taken care of. However, you should still be ready to tweak templates, email send times, and lead engagements to optimize your conversions, using the lead reports the email marketing software provides.
Similar to HubSpot, Pardot’s email marketing tools (included with the “Standard” plan) help you along every step of the way to creating and managing email campaigns. The features you’ll enjoy include:
- Email templates. Include responsive templates, so users on desktop and mobile can easily view your emails. This includes customizable fields that change based on your leads’ expected engagement, options for quick formatting and hosted content, and have the option to use A/B testing to determine which templates and content are most effective.
- Email scheduling. Schedule for emails to be sent at the perfect time and send to specific groups of people, based on the goals of your campaign.
- Autoresponder emails. Create emails that are automatically sent when users interact certain aspects of your website (e.g. fills out a form, clicks on a product, engages with a CTA).
- Email reporting. This will automatically segments your email audience. Customer engagement insights tell you who opened, skimmed, fully-read, or printed your emails. This will offer you metrics like CTR and unique clicks.
On the surface, Pardot’s email marketing automation features are comparable to HubSpot’s. The difference is in the details, mainly in the email reporting and template components. Depending on your company’s needs, one platform will be a better fit over the other—it will largely depend on the volume of emails you’re sending and how much time you can devote to managing your email campaigns.
The unprecedented reach of social media makes it one of the most crucial online marketing platforms. Both Pardot and HubSpot offer social media posting and tracking features to help you easily create and manage your campaigns.
HubSpot’s social media capabilities (included with the “Basic” plan and above) simplify the process of initiating and monitoring campaigns. You can easily keep track of what’s working, and which posts/ads may need more work. A few of HubSpot’s stand-out social media features include:
- Ad/post creation for all types of social media localized to HubSpot’s marketing campaign building page. Create campaigns for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. all from one spot.
- Option for scheduled postings and automatic post sharing upon content publication on your site.
- CRM integration including social media metrics and interactions directly tied to your CRM.
- Keyword and/or hashtag monitoring. This enables you to see when people search for a term related to your brand or product.
- Specialized social media reports allow you to compare by social media platform, campaign, or publishing time and calculates your social media ROI.
HubSpot’s reporting and CRM integration can help you better the quality and targeting of your social media campaigns, though you must be willing to analyze the metrics and give thoughtful considerations to your top leads. Overall, HubSpot’s social media features make building out campaigns relatively easy, and like much of the company’s other features, have an all-in-one quality that’s ideal for smaller businesses or those that are just starting out.
Pardot’s “connectors” for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (which you can add to the “Standard” plan and above) help to centralize all of your social media campaigns, from start to finish. The features you can take advantage of include:
- Assisted post creation and scheduling. You have the option to simultaneously post your campaigns to multiple social media platforms at once. Easily repost ads/posts for increased visibility.
- Edit your campaigns from within Pardot.
- Reports allow you to see each campaign’s unique clicks, likes, comments, and retweets (where applicable).
- Track leads by social media platform and post. Pardot allows you to creates individual prospect profiles for users who interact with your social media campaigns.
- Automatically rewrites links to be trackable and attached to your business’ unique bit.ly URL.
With Pardot’s social media features, you don’t have to worry about navigating between Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to create and manage your campaigns. The automatic link rewriting also takes the hassle out of creating posts (especially for Twitter) that aren’t too long. These features are ultimately huge time savers, especially if you’re already experienced with building successful social media campaigns.
Good leads are the lifeblood of any great marketing campaign. Without the right audience, all the time and effort you put towards creating your campaigns essentially goes to waste. Both HubSpot and Pardot offer lead management services to assist you in tracking and finding the best leads for your brand.
Hubspot’s basic, automated lead management features are included with the “Free” Marketing Hub plan. However, if you’re looking for lead scoring to expand and refine your contact list, you’ll need to pay for the “Enterprise” plan. Below, we’ll go over the lead-related features included with HubSpot’s “Enterprise” subscription:
- Contact timelines. Monitor individual leads’ interactions with your campaigns with visibility into page visits, email openings, social media engagement, and more.
- CRM integration. Lead database automatically integrates with your existing CRM (even if it’s not through HubSpot) to help you track the full history of your contacts.
- Segmented contact lists. Organize your leads by a variety of factors (e.g. site visits, email engagement, etc.) to better target your campaigns and increase conversions.
- Lead scoring. Customize your own scoring criteria or let HubSpot automatically score your leads using predictive strategies.
HubSpot’s lead management allows you to be as hands-on or hands-off as you’d like, notably when it comes to lead scoring. If you aren’t sure which metrics are most important to your conversions, the predictive scoring included with the “Enterprise” plan is extremely helpful.
Pardot’s fundamental lead management tools are all included in the “Standard” plan. These features, outlined below, are a bit more advanced and allow for an in-depth analysis of your current and potential contacts:
- Lead management. Automatically manages campaign building, testing, and email sending using the settings you input to the lead interface. This will allow you to better identify and re-engage with dormant leads.
- Lead scoring. Objective grading system helps to locate the leads with the most potential.
- Automated lead segmentation. Automated lead assignment based on rules you establish and automatic list segmentation gives you the best targeting for your campaigns.
- Update leads as new personal information becomes available.
The insight you’ll get from Pardot’s lead management system can be extremely useful, as long as you know how to use it. The tools require a knowledge of how to implement the right tools and settings to optimize the platform’s automated lead management features.
HubSpot and Pardot are hosts to a seemingly endless number of features—somewhere along the way you may need help setting up a tool or coming up with a marketing strategy. Both platforms offer a plethora of helpful resources to guide you on your way to marketing automation success.
Be sure to check out HubSpot’s Academy for tips on how to use their products and even get certified through their platform. HubSpot also has a blog with fun-to-read articles on best practices when it comes to all aspects of digital marketing.
Pardot also has libraries of useful information, applicable to new and longtime users. The Customer Hub is filled with articles, trainings, and collaborative message boards to guide you in your use of their platform. There are even Pardot-hosted webinars and events you can attend to learn about innovative marketing automation strategies and upcoming trends in the digital marketing world.
Both Pardot and HubSpot offer a slew of features to get you on the road to marketing automation and successful campaign creation and management. The right software for your business will depend on how much you can spend and which digital marketing skills you already have in your toolbelt.
As we’ve reiterated, HubSpot may be best for the company that’s just starting out—the all-in-one design of the platform makes it easy to centralize your data and campaigns. Pardot may be better suited for the experienced marketer, as it’s a little more hands-off in terms of campaign building and a bit more intricate and nuanced when it comes to analyzing your efforts. Regardless of the platform you go with, you’re sure to be happy with the results.
Feature Image Credit: agilecrm.com