Nov 24, 2021 12:59:30 PM
Companies taking a serious look at marketing automation platforms for '22 have two options near the top of the list -- HubSpot and Pardot. The choice is not always an easy one.
Both products are well established and have an outstanding reputation among marketers everywhere. They share a lot more in common than differences.
While certain features tend to be stronger in one or the other, the biggest distinctions lie in integrations, support, and the type of CRM to which the platform connects.
HubSpot Marketing Hub is a cloud-based platform that brings a variety of marketing, CRM, and analytics tools together in one “hub,” enabling marketers to implement effective growth campaigns. Marketing Hub Professional and Enterprise platforms boast a comprehensive suite of must-have tools critical for digital marketing today, including blogging, social media, landing pages, email marketing, automated workflows, and smart calls-to-action.
These powerful features are all linked to customer data, which helps you create personalized experiences for leads as you help them through the buyer’s journey.
Starting as a small business solution, HubSpot quickly added more advanced and pricier options over the years. They now have Free, Starter, Professional, and Enterprise offerings – something for literally any budget.
Salesforce Pardot is a business-to-business (B2B) marketing platform that offers features similar to HubSpot’s product. Acquired by Salesforce to support its popular customer resource management (CRM) software that brings marketing, sales, service teams together, Pardot a good fit for B2B medium-size and enterprise organizations. Smaller companies may find it cost prohibitive.
The key distinction between the two is that HubSpot Marketing Hub was created as a “marketing-first” platform. You can use it with HubSpot’s own CRM, or integrate it with a variety of others (including Salesforce). By contrast, Pardot is a marketing-extension of the Salesforce CRM only.
Feature comparisons are difficult since both companies update their platforms regularly, introducing new capabilities and sunsetting others.
Here is a summary of the side-by-side ratings comparison of HubSpot and Pardot featured on G2. The check marks indicate which platform scored better for each feature.
These ratings are based on 7,300 reviews from HubSpot users and 1,800 reviews from Pardot users.
|Type of Feature||HubSpot||Pardot|
|Easy to Setup & Use|
|Landing Pages, Dynamic Content, A/B Testing||
|Page Customization Using Drag & Drop or Templates||
|Lead Management & Segmentation||
|Social Media Marketing||
|Reporting & Analytics||
Marketing Hub Free – basic platform with limited features including forms, email marketing, ad management, landing pages, and live chat.
Marketing Hub Starter $50/month - increases limits with free tools, removes HubSpot branding from certain features, and offers email and in-app chat support.
Marketing Hub Professional $800/month – includes everything SMBs need to create and manage growth campaigns, including automation and personalization tools, account-based marketing, social media, blog, video hosting, lead scoring, A/B testing, advanced reporting, and support.
Marketing Hub Enterprise $3,200/month – comes with increased flexibility for organizing teams and assigning permissions to users, as well as adaptive A/B testing and machine learning. It also includes custom objects for importing and managing almost any type of data (subscriptions, locations, shipments, etc).
Growth $1,250/month – includes most features a company needs to manage marketing campaigns. Look for unlimited email marketing, as well as some automation, reporting, lead nurturing, and reporting. SEO and competitor monitoring are nice touches here.
Plus $2,500/month – increased limitations on various features in Growth, plus multi-touch attribution models, up to 25 API access calls per day, and B2B marketing analytics.
Advanced $4,000/month – increased limitations on features in Plus, and includes predictive lead and behavior scoring, campaign insights, custom objects, up to two business units, and two developer sandboxes.
Premium $15,000 month – includes everything in Advanced, plus up to five business units, and five developer sandboxes.
Sometimes the right choice comes down to which “ecosystem” or organization of solutions make the best fit for your company.
Both Pardot and HubSpot deliver business solutions that extend well beyond marketing. In fact, each platform has grown outward, expanding into multiple business applications.
This is important because whichever provider you choose for marketing could also impact the tools you use for sales, service, and even operations.
HubSpot Marketing Hub is one component of the larger HubSpot cloud-based family of “Hubs,” including Sales Hub, Service Hub, CMS Hub, and Operations Hub. These hubs are similar to the “Clouds” offered by Salesforce.
The features will feel familiar from one hub to the next, as they complement and enhance tasks across your business portal.
Similar to HubSpot’s Hubs, Salesforce offers “Clouds” that focus on specific business challenges. You will find a Marketing, Sales, Service, Commerce, and Community Cloud.
Pardot is the part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud focusing on B2B. If your organization is business to consumer (B2C), you may want to investigate other aspects of Marketing Cloud.
"Whichever direction you decide to go [with HubSpot or Pardot], both platforms have withstood the test of time and delivered powerful results for businesses like yours."
The advantage of using an all-in-one marketing platform is eliminating the practice of cobbling together several unrelated marketing apps, trying to pull together a coherent data story with an accurate, timely view of ROI.
Despite this, it’s likely you will need some integrations with your marketing platform. Payment apps, document management for contracts, CRMs, and advertising channels are all examples of integrations you will might need.
Pardot offers a few out-of-the-box integrations with its plans, including WebEx, GoToWebinar, and Google Ads. But many of these options only come with higher-tiered plans.
HubSpot, on the other hand, offers literally hundreds of integrations with third-party apps. More than 400 as of this writing. That’s a huge advantage for marketers that need fast easy connections to apps they depend on.
The one area where Pardot totally crushes it with integrations is…you guessed it…Salesforce! You can integrate HubSpot and Salesforce as well, the process may not be quite as quick and seamless as it is with Pardot.
Pardot and Salesforce both sing off the same sheet of music, so you will encounter fewer errors and get cleaner reporting from the start.
Both platforms have clean dashboards where you can monitor campaign performance data, scoring well with users on each side.
Pardot offers an integrated calendar for scheduling marketing tasks, and HubSpot’s dashboards are easily customizable regardless of tech ability, offering a library of pre-built reporting modules to choose from. Adding and removing them to your dashboard is easy with drag and drop functionality.
When it comes to customer support, HubSpot tends to get higher marks.
Pardot offers support to users through their Support Portal on weekdays. Only Premier plan users can access phone support unless system disruptions are compromising data or system tools. They also offer free training and access to their Customer Hub and Knowledge Base.
HubSpot gives you access to support 24/7 as long as you are on a paid plan. They also allow you to contact them through phone, chat, or email (although sometimes one or two of these options will be unavailable for short periods of time).
HubSpot has a top notch support team and can often resolve issues with you while you are connected with them on the phone or chat. They also have an extensive Knowledge= Base with thousands of documents to help you with any tool.
Both platforms boast strong reporting capabilities.
Pardot provides comprehensive analytics and attribution features that will help you monitor which campaigns are helping you close leads. You can drill down even further into seeing how different marketing channels and messaging are affecting performance. Customer lifecycles, email KPIs, and pipeline reporting also will give marketers great insights about lead generation performance.
HubSpot’s native reporting focuses on page-level data, landing page views and submissions, campaigns, revenue attributions, contacts and others. You can also spot trends on traffic, conversions, and sales. Increased custom reporting options are available on Enterprise plans.
HubSpot has made several updates to Marketing Hub over the last few years to improve flexibility and personalization.
They introduced a Free Landing Page Builder that offers several nice looking templates which you can edit using their drag-and-drop modules.
Recognizing that many brands draft blog copy in other documents before importing copy into their blog, HubSpot has also made improvements in their Google doc Importer. The new tool allows you to import the text into the in-line editor without messing up the style and formatting you established on the doc.
At INBOUND21, HubSpot also announced a new Marketing Hub Sandbox where marketers can test new features, workflows, and ideas without making any of it visible to the outside world.
Pardot has been busy rolling out updates as well. New Pardot accounts can use Handlebars Merge Language (HML) to simplify integration in Sales Cloud. Existing Pardot accounts can upgrade to this feature manually.
Perhaps the biggest recent update is the decision to bring Einstein Send Time Optimization (ESTO) from Marketing Cloud to Pardot. This AI feature evaluates email engagement and helps users send messages at optimal times.
They've also added other email setting and building enhancements that improve styling and formatting, as well as send-ability issues.
Lastly, their expanded AI features identify leads that are displaying the strongest "buying signals," helping your sales team focus on the right leads at the right time.
Like most big marketing decisions, the answer is "it depends."
If you work for a large enterprise company that relies heavily on Salesforce custom properties, and your marketing needs revolve around advanced email marketing analytics and lead management, Salesforce Pardot might be the one to investigate first.
On the other hand, smaller to mid-size companies interested in creating personalized experiences across multiple marketing channels, building lead nurturing automation, and flexible design features, HubSpot is the better option.
Whichever direction you decide to go, both platforms have withstood the test of time and delivered powerful results for businesses like yours.
If you choose Pardot or HubSpot, you are already winning as far as I'm concerned.