Marketing Software Platforms – Detailed Comparison

In my previous post I covered The 5 Must-Have Marketing Tech for SMB’s in the B2B space. Today I will be doing a detailed comparison and analysis of leading Marketing software platforms.

Before we start, let us answer this question Why do we need a marketing platform?

Well, the simple answer is to put your marketing strategy and plan into action, which is:

  • To perform all your marketing activities using one single platform, without worrying about the technicalities.
  • Automatically measure all your marketing activities and campaigns.
  • Act on recommendations and continuously improve your marketing performance.

And what is the bottom line after all?

  • Build Brand Visibility.
  • Generate Qualified Leads.
  • Acquire new Customers and Create Brand Promoters.

Makes sense? Let us dive in then.

Which platforms we will evaluate?

  • HubSpot
  • Marketo
  • Act-On


HubSpot is by far one of the most comprehensive Inbound Marketing Platforms out there. It has most of the features and capabilities a marketer will ever need. HubSpot is not just a software platform, it’s an ecosystem which ties technology, people and processes together. It is mainly targeted towards SMB’s and Startups.

They boast about 99% renewals year on year. The reason for such high renewal rate is their consulting & implementation service. Their team will make sure you follow the best practices, processes and methods so that you can achieve your desired marketing goals. They also do not offer monthly or quarterly plans for this very reason. As the entire process of building a web presence, engaging prospects and closing deals takes time.

I would rate HubSpot amongst the best, especially for SMB’s and Startups who are just beginning with their marketing journey.


Marketo is placed towards the higher end of the spectrum. It is built for enterprise customers who need complete control and flexibility with regards to their marketing platform.

Few capabilities which stand out for Marketo include Digital Ads, Predictive Content and Account-based-Marketing. Enterprises need these capabilities as they spend big on paid marketing and high-value account specific campaigns.

Given its capabilities and market focus, Marketo is highly priced compared to other platforms in this space.


Act-On offers best of both worlds i.e. capabilities and relative affordability. It has all the key modules and features bundled in one robust platform. Inbound, Outbound, Automation, Account-based-Marketing – name it, Act-On has it all.

I would say it is more close to HubSpot in terms of capabilities and positioning. Their pricing is also based on active contacts which is unique, as most other vendors will bill you based on total contacts in your database as against the active ones.

The Verdict

So which one should you choose? Have I confused you even more in your hunt for the coveted Marketing Platform?

Well here is my take.

  1. If you have a decent budget but not enough skilled resources to execute your marketing plans, then go for HubSpot. Their Onboarding and Account team will make sure your Goals, Strategy and Plans are properly chalked out so that you don’t suffer setbacks later.
  2. If budget is not an issue, at the same time you need scale, effective paid and account based marketing then go for Marketo. It’s the best you can get.
  3. If you are tight on budget but have the skills to do it yourself then go for Act-On. It’s the most affordable of the lot, yet offers the complete package.

Bonus Tip

If you don’t have the budget nor the skills then watch out for my next post. I will be sharing my experience on how I built an integrated marketing platform using several low-cost disintegrated products.

Thanks for reading my blog. Do consider sharing it on your social channels, it really keeps me going 🙂

That’s your lot, bye for now.

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