Options abound for marketing automation, but three systems tend to receive the most attention: HubSpot, Pardot, and MailChimp. Each is accompanied by unique advantages and downsides, with no one solution proving ultimately ideal in every situation.
Below, we’re highlighting key differences between these top marketing automation solutions to help you determine which approach is most capable of meeting your current and long-term digital marketing needs.
A notoriously robust marketing automation solution, HubSpot offers a wide range of features designed to manage everything from social media to website analytics. Users can create automated workflows via HubSpot templates that can be customized to meet your specific business requirements.
One of the key features is HubSpot workflows, which involves segmenting groups of lists which can be developed when contact customer/client information has been uploaded into HubSpot. The email workflow can be integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) to enhance lead nurturing functions like ongoing subscriptions, follow-ups for form submissions, and re-engagement following lead inactivity. There is even the free HubSpot CRM, which makes CRM integration even easier.
The greatest disadvantage of HubSpot lies in the limitations of the workflow builder and lead scoring. HubSpot excels at giving businesses the ability to create simple workflows; however, for large scale operations, this can be cumbersome and not possible at times. While HubSpot is more advanced than MailChimp and cheaper than Pardot, your strategy may be limited if your business requires complex workflows for marketing automation.
HubSpot is an excellent middle-ground between the cost-effectiveness of MailChimp and the workhorse that is Salesforce Pardot. Businesses that have simple to moderately complex workflows (and are willing to make the investment) will benefit from the uniquely scalable HubSpot solution, which is capable of growing alongside rapidly evolving organizations.
Designed to align the ambitious objectives of sales and Digital Marketing teams, Pardot provides strong customer service and plenty of instruction for those who might otherwise struggle with establishing workflows. Integrated with Salesforce CRM software, Pardot streamlines the process of creating and executing automated campaigns. Its Engagement Studio comes complete with a rule-trigger-action sequence, which leads prospects down defined paths based on key actions.
Pardot is uniquely suited for creating complex and connected workflows. The technology powering the engagement studio is truly turnkey and state of the art. Any business using Salesforce that needs robust marketing automation support should take a hard look at the Pardot platform. From simple to complex workflows and automations and a two-way integration into Salesforce CRM, Pardot is an incredibly robust tool.
While Pardot is the pinnacle of marketing automation, the tools provided by the platform come with one major setback: the price. As of March 2020, the base price of the Pardot Growth plan is $1,250 per month for up to 10,000 contacts.
Besides the price point, one other weak point for Pardot lies in its onboarding process and integration, which is time-consuming. Additionally, because it’s primarily designed for business to business (B2B) marketing, Pardot’s functionality could prove limited for many organizations, which may be better served by HubSpot or MailChimp.
Ideal for small businesses, MailChimp is affordable and easy to master. It provides a wide range of premade templates, as well as extensive options for customization. It is not the most robust solution available by far, but its accessibility is a major selling point for small businesses on the hunt for simplified automation solutions at a very reasonable price point.
As with Pardot, the onboarding process can prove frustrating for MailChimp users. Before sending tailored emails, targeted lists must be constructed from scratch. Not only is this process time-consuming, but it can also prompt considerable human error.
MailChimp is also not nearly as scalable as HubSpot, making it a potentially poor option for rapidly growing businesses. For those unwilling or unable to invest in Pardot or HubSpot, however, MailChimp proves to be a viable alternative.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the difficult decision between HubSpot, Pardot, and MailChimp depends on how your business is classified and how robust of an automation system you need or can handle. Pardot might involve a steep learning curve, but the effort could prove worthwhile if you expect to scale up your marketing efforts to include advanced and complex workflows or automations in the near future. However, if you desire a simpler approach with more linear workflows, HubSpot is an excellent choice. For small businesses with limited financial resources, Mailchimp provides a quick and easy way to set up simple marketing automation processes at a reasonable price.
Feeling stuck in your efforts to select and establish a marketing automation solution? The team at Zero Gravity Marketing can help. Contact us today for more information about our services!