Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

Not applicable

Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

Hi all,

I am a massive Marketo advocate and user for the last 7 years but have been asked by our CEO to evaluate other marketing automation options. As much as this is just frustrating, I'm sure I'm not the only one this has happened to. Can anyone please help me get Marketo over the line!

Has anyone used Pardot, Hubspot or any other marketing automation tool...Act-On, Active Campaign, InfusionSoft? What is your experience? How does it work with;

- Salesforce integration

- Lead nurturing

- trigger campaigns

- alerts and marketo sales insights for sales, website monitoring

- webinar management (gotowebinar)

- event management (tradeshows)

- WordPress blog integration (automatically sending blog emails)

- Lead scoring

- Lead activity

- a/b testing

- Training, ease of use, installation, migration

- anything in general!


Level 10

Re: Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

Hey Vanessa,

I've used both Hubspot and Pardot, and Marketo is definitely my preferred solution. In my previous role I moved the business off Pardot & onto Marketo due to the issues we had with the tool. In my current role (agency side), I manage clients who use both Marketo and Hubspot.

Bearing in mind that my experience with Pardot is from 2014-mid 2016, and I'm not sure whether these things have improved since...

Pardot specifically:

  • We had major issues with the SF sync reliability (data was ~80% accurate on a good day)
  • Couldn't do dynamic content on anything that isn't at the account level - so we couldn't use opportunity data for dynamic content which was a big issue for us.
  • Lack of comprehensive reporting, lack of ability to support more complex marketing activities.

Basically, it was a data complex business and Pardot wasn't able to deliver on requirements.


  • Very similar to Pardot in terms of its organisational structure
  • Better able to handle some more complex cross-team processes
  • But still much more restricted workflow functionalities compared to Marketo's smart campaign options.
  • Not sure whether there's as much value in it if you aren't using the CRM + Sales + Marketing + Web features in tandem.
  • No equivalent to marketo's "programs", so event management, webinar management etc... you can build it, but it's not as tidy and contained as Marketo.
  • Drag and drop landing page/email templates are very clever as ideas but don't allow for modular control at the individual email level, personally this is enormously frustrating. I much prefer Marketo's email template functionality.

Generally, it's important to note that Pardot is owned by Salesforce but it is not their only, or their focus product. Hubspot's Marketing Automation solution, again - not their sole product. Marketo does Marketing Automation, and doesn't try to be the be-all-and-end-all of other areas. Key thing to take is that Pardot is never going to get the full focus of R&D at Salesforce, and Hubspot's MA tool isn't going to get theirs.

From my experience I would recommend Hubspot over Pardot, but Marketo over Hubspot. BUT it's really also dependent on the business - if you're working with a team that is low on the maturity curve, if you're not using some of the more advanced features and capability, and your data isn't particularly complex, Hubspot could work well. It is a very good tool - really. Our clients that are on Hubspot are clients that are just not ready to go straight to Marketo - Hubspot is a starting point for them. My frustrations with it are largely around its organisational structure, and just how simple it tries to make everything, restricting your ability to easily access and change some more complex details... In my view, great tool to start on, but if you've used Marketo well, it does feel like going backwards.

What I would ask is what is the business's concern with Marketo (e.g. is price a factor?) and what are the features within Marketo that you are using and can't live without? (Also, what CRM are you on? SFDC?)

Sorry for the novel, hope this helps

Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

Nice write up.

I agree with the last comment -- what does your business need? If you don't understand your requirements now and over next 3 years, you will get sold by a vendor.

Things to consider about some of the other vendors:

  • Infusionsoft - tends to be more SMB like HubSpot but with more complex visio tools like Eloqua. In my view tends to be used by pro bloggers and ecommerce.
  • Act On - has improved a lot since 2012. Similar to HubSpot. Has better workflow tools. Lacks Engagement programs and many Marketo like tools. A good choice for those with less automation needs because.

Some of the features you mention may work differently from vendor to vendor. Pardot doesn't have a batch recurring concept.

Blog Automation is solved through low cost third parties or LaunchPoint for Marketo. Remember - many of these firms strive to be platforms and individual use cases can be solved with plug in tools. Marketo has a lot of these.

Event Management - most marketers tend to overstate their needs. Marketo handles most events very well as long as the event mgr is organized (true anywhere!). You only need eventbrite or cvent when running your own user conference. And those two plug into Marketo. So I urge you to understand what it is you a trying to do before looking at vendors. Marketo already can do most of what you need.

Your CEO probably wants to negotiate more with Marketo or see if there are better or cheaper tools. In my experience, if you chose Marketo 7 years ago and are happy with it, there's no reason to change because the other tools don't do the same things in the same way. You will spend a year rebuilding.

Level 10 - Champion

Re: Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

At my last company we started with Pardot, and then migrated to Marketo as soon as our 2-year contract was up. (Like Vanessa, my experience was around 2014-2016, but I don't think it's changed much.) Pardot is very easy to use, and the UI is very nice, but it's very limited. Lists, emails, flows, etc., are all separate items, so there's no concept of "programs." It makes everything so disorganized! They also don't have a concept of tokens. For example, when we switched to Marketo and I created robust, tokenized program templates, my time to set up a webinar reduce by about 90%. I would never, ever go back to Pardot.

Amy Goldfine
Marketo Champion & Adobe Community Advisor
Level 5

Re: Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

I've used Hubspot and agree with the sentiments above, while it's easier to train new employees on Hubspot the functionality is limited once a marketer is well versed in automation. With Hubspot you can go wide, but with Marketo you can go deep.

If there isn't a massive need to switch services due to capabilities I'd highly caution against it. Hubspot migrations are super expensive.  The migration alone is so time-consuming and processes and productivity will be lost in the process, negating any potential software cost savings.

Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

The migration alone is so time-consuming and processes and productivity will be lost in the process, negating any potential software cost savings.

Likes++ on that, Jasmine!

IMO the blindest spot people have about migrations is Who's running the current show while everyone's being retrained? Of course you'd usually hire an outside agency (for $$$) to handle the technical parts of the migration (to the degree it's even possible to migrate your data) but that just papers over the real productivity sink.

Level 10 - Community Advisor

Re: Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

A lot of good thoughts here!

I went through a similar process myself around 6 months ago. We have been with Marketo for about 3 years. I framed it to the other vendors as this: What's your big killer feature that Marketo doesn't have that will justify the 6 months - 1 year that we will spend rebuilding? Without a good answer for that question, the negatives will outweigh the positives.

We previously used Eloqua and found that to be quite good too. At the time, they couldn't integrate with Salesforce using SF ID as the unique identifier, which prompted our move away from them. Now they can do that - and I think they are quite a good solution as well. But they are at the upper end of the price scale.

On Pardot, since we use tools such as pushing to Facebook, we worked out we would need to buy both Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot to get the same Marketo functionality. Crazy, huh? And in terms of the efficiency of nurture streams, I haven't seen a solution as good as Marketo's.

Not applicable

Re: Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

Yes, I agree. Marketo has the most flexibility in everything you mentioned below. Pardot is pretty good, but it isn't as robust as Marketo. Hubspot is great for building out complex social campaigns, but with Marketo you do the same. It seems Marketo is very popular on the west coast, but not as prominent on the East...which makes it difficult to find local agencies that specialize in Marketo.

Hope this helps a bit.

Best regards,


Not applicable

Re: Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

We are actually in Australia. So Marketo has an office here...however I dont believe the others do.

Not applicable

Re: Marketo vs Pardot vs Hubspot

Hi Vanessa,

Super high level discussion here. Kudos everyone.

I was lucky enough to have exposure to all of the tools you guys mentioned above, and I gotta say that, personally, I'd categorize Marketo and Eloqua differently than others like Hubspot, Pardot, Infusionsoft, Act-on, etc.

While Eloqua is a powerhouse, not super user-friendly and expensive, Marketo holds its strengths in flexibility, predictive and dynamic content. Some of the pain points I had (and have) with Marketo are:

- Not fan of interface

- Reports are too limited out of the box

- Not many easy-to-run integrations with different platforms, such as WebSphere (yes, people, there are some WebSphere users out there.)

- Lack of intuitive campaign canvas, such as the Eloqua one.

- Support is not responsive enough

In some ways, a couple of those are easily addressed using paid add-ons or are not that critical, provided that you have also a tool like Salesforce integrated (I recommend you always rely on Salesforce to build robust sales and revenue reports).

I'd strongly recommend you to take a look at couple details, such as your needs and your capacity to afford the tool. Most of the time you'll have a powerful tool that is also underused. I happened to me and my clients (when working for agencies) many times. Again, I'd use some criteria, such as costs vs. ROI associated, number of people involved (for tools like Marketo and Eloqua you are more likely to need external help), programs and functionality you'll need on the marketing cycle (usually 2 years) among other important factors. As @Josh has mentioned, when planning to get a tool like this onboard, you wanna tackle the World, and most of the times end up with an underused email platform with couple scoring rules. Personally, this is what I see on the market:

Stronger and more powerful tools (more expensive)

1- Eloqua

2- Marketo

Easy-to-use, but limited (more affordable)

1- Hubspot

2- Pardot

3- Infusionsoft

4- Silverpop

5- Act-on

Hope it helps.

don't hesitate to contact me at any time.