Act-On vs. Hubspot vs. Marketo: 3 top marketing automation tools compared

Enterprise users weigh in on their favorite features and offer suggestions for improvement

If you’re in the process of researching marketing automation solutions, Marketo, Act-On and Hubspot are probably on your short list.

These tools promise to free your marketing staff from tedious, manual processes so that they can get on with the business of nurturing quality leads for your sales organization. But how do they deliver on that promise?

[ Related: 12 questions to ask marketing automation vendors (before you buy) ]

Here’s what some enterprise users say are the standout features (and greatest shortcomings) of each of these products.

Editor's note: These reviews of select marketing automation products come from the IT Central Station community. They are the opinions of the users and are based on their own experiences.

Act-On

Valuable features:

Website visitor tracking, integration with Salesforce and Webex, landing pages and forms.
- Joe G., Marketing at a tech vendor with 1000+ employees
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Marketing Automation
  • Social Integration
  • CRM Integration
- Elizabeth C., Marketing at a financial services firm with 1-100 employees

Improvements to my organization:

Our organization was operating blindfolded before implementing Act-On. We're able to have complete visibility into our website visitor behavior and easily integrate this into our CRM. We're able to segment our visitors based on behavior and lead score and serve them to the sales team on a platter.
- Joe G.

Room for improvement:

One area of improvement would be ability to use dynamic content fields. It is available, but not to the fullest extent where it would help me.
- Elizabeth C.

Read more Act-On user reviews on IT Central Station.

HubSpot

Valuable features:

It works well for email automation and workflows.
It has reasonable social tracking module.
- James C., senior application developer at a tech vendor with 1000+ employees
The most valuable feature for us is the lead-nurturing workflows. They give us the ability to create automated workflows that will operate certain flows-of-action automatically on a duration of time I set. This enables us to decide that a certain segment of database will receive content throughout time without us having to do it.
- Efrat F., Senior Director of Marketing Communications at a tech vendor with 100-1000 employees

Room for improvement:

They need to improve their reports and the ability to customize them.
- James C.
The module of scoring can improve immensely. It uses manual scoring, which is a tedious process because you have to design in advance and update it all the time. They've recently added predictive scoring, but it won't replace manual scoring. It's only complementary and is too manual and cumbersome. It can't aggregate scores and I have to input them manually, which is annoying. What's also missing are guidelines for best practices for scoring so that it instructs you on how to build scoring strategy.
- Efrat F.

Other advice:

When considering this product, check if all the features you need are in the tier you are planning to pay for.
- James C.

Read more HubSpot user reviews on IT Central Station.

Marketo

Valuable features:

Email drip campaigns
- Maggie A., head of marketing at a company with 1-100 employees

Improvements to my organization:

Automated customer outreach from sign up to upgrade
- Maggie A.

[ See also: The 7 best marketing automation features in Marketo and 4 key marketing automation features Marketo lacks ]

Room for improvement:

Easier to create/modify graphic driven templates
Need automatic 404 reporting for links included in content
- Maggie A.

Other advice:

Hire a Marketo certified consultant prior to install and launch.
- Maggie A.

Read more Marketo user reviews on IT Central Station.

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