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HubSpot Marketing Hub OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

HubSpot Marketing Hub is #3 ranked solution in top Marketing Automation tools. IT Central Station users give HubSpot Marketing Hub an average rating of 8 out of 10. HubSpot Marketing Hub is most commonly compared to Salesforce Marketing Cloud:HubSpot Marketing Hub vs Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 33% of all views.
What is HubSpot Marketing Hub?
HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform, integrating blogging, social media monitoring and publishing, contacts, SEO, email marketing, marketing automation, and analytics in one easy to use and powerful platform. HubSpot's customers worldwide leverage the company's software and services to transform their marketing from outbound (cold calls, email spam, trade shows, TV ads, etc) to inbound lead generation, enabling them to leverage remarkable content and an integrated experience to deliver leadS. Aimed at optimizing inbound marketing by helping promote useful and original content, HubSpot also offers free marketing advice on its blog. HubSpot's inbound marketing software gives organizations the tools necessary to run successful inbound marketing campaigns. Through HubSpot, companies can monitor social media, create optimized landing pages, control SEO campaigns, monitor email marketing, and curate their blog. Integrated on a single platform, companies can automate their inbound marketing efforts to close customers. Integrates with existing HubSpot accounts or individual business needs.
Buyer's Guide

Download the Marketing Automation Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

HubSpot Marketing Hub Customers
Emyth, CRS, ClearPivot, Stitch Live, SoldOut, Waterfall, SnapEngage, Duo
HubSpot Marketing Hub Video

Archived HubSpot Marketing Hub Reviews (more than two years old)

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AA
VP Marketing at Igneous
Real User
Good form capabilities and integrates well, but the API capabilities are minimal

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution as a central marketing automation tool, integrated with SFDC CRM. We are also using HubSpot CMS but will be moving off of this soon.

How has it helped my organization?

HubSpot has been very useful for a startup when we didn't have marketing ops expertise. It provides basic email automation tools, leads capture/scoring, and integrates with SFDC.  

What is most valuable?

Their blog platform and form capabilities are very easy to use and integrate within our web site.

What needs improvement?

API capabilities (including the performance) are minimal and the email workflow capabilities are too rigid, which results in very complicated workflow management.

For how long have I used the solution?

One and a half years.

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution as a central marketing automation tool, integrated with SFDC CRM. We are also using HubSpot CMS but will be moving off of this soon.

How has it helped my organization?

HubSpot has been very useful for a startup when we didn't have marketing ops expertise. It provides basic email automation tools, leads capture/scoring, and integrates with SFDC.  

What is most valuable?

Their blog platform and form capabilities are very easy to use and integrate within our web site.

What needs improvement?

API capabilities (including the performance) are minimal and the email workflow capabilities are too rigid, which results in very complicated workflow management.

For how long have I used the solution?

One and a half years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
reviewer1054386
User
Real User
It saves a lot of time

What is our primary use case?

We use it as a CRM and as a CMS.

How has it helped my organization?

It saves a lot of time. 

What is most valuable?

Marketing module Contacts Reports.  

What needs improvement?

Analytics system could be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

Still implementing.

What is our primary use case?

We use it as a CRM and as a CMS.

How has it helped my organization?

It saves a lot of time. 

What is most valuable?

  • Marketing module
  • Contacts
  • Reports.  

What needs improvement?

Analytics system could be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

Still implementing.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Find out what your peers are saying about HubSpot, Salesforce, SAP and others in Marketing Automation. Updated: November 2021.
552,305 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Tracy Butcher
Web Coordinator at LyntonWeb
Real User
Ease of editing and creating templates after initial development with the Design Manager

Pros and Cons

  • "Customer support is helpful and responsive."
  • "Ease of editing and creating templates after initial development with the Design Manager."
  • "It can be disorienting when they put out a new release/beta test without informing us. It can be a bit disorienting to have to figure out how to access and adjust things in a new layout unexpectedly."

What is our primary use case?

  • Helping to create client websites
  • Adding content
  • Minor template tweaks
  • Custom website and landing pages
  • Blogs
  • Templates
  • Widgets
  • Workflows
  • Email

How has it helped my organization?

  • Overall speed and ease of use.
  • Sandbox environment allows for real-time examples to test and share with clients on the environment. 
  • It allows us to shine with a deep understanding of the platform.

What is most valuable?

  • Sandbox environment: Provides a great way to test new templates and create content in the environment, then share it with the client for real-time evaluation.
  • Great file manager: Easy to work with, edit images, and organize files. 
  • Design Manager: Ease of editing and creating templates after initial development.
  • HubDB: Great for modules, tables, resources and beautiful dynamic pages

What needs improvement?

HubSpot is constantly working to improve and innovate. A downside to this is that sometimes it can be disorienting when they put out a new release/beta test without informing us. It can be a bit disorienting to have to figure out how to access and adjust things in a new layout unexpectedly. 

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer support is helpful and responsive. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partnership.
Deepak  Kumar
Vice President Global Growth & Demand (AI Cognitive & Advanced Analytics ) at ECS Inc.
Real User
It has eased managing the sales team and the sales journey right from setting up appointments

Pros and Cons

  • "We can choose the necessary stages as per the lead, and update it accordingly, then proceed it further."
  • "It has eased managing the sales team and the sales journey right from setting up appointments."
  • "They should integrate a bot, as it would be easier to get the status to the management team without logging into the CRM to get all the required details."

What is our primary use case?

Sales enablement, where it has been hard to manage leads and forgetting following up with clients, as we manage multiple geographies and managing data in a worksheet can be hard. 

How has it helped my organization?

It has eased managing the sales team and the sales journey right from setting up appointments. The best thing is the ease to customize per our needs. 

What is most valuable?

  • Deals and closing
  • Task reminders
  • Call logs

We can choose the necessary stages as per the lead, and update it accordingly, then proceed it further.

What needs improvement?

They should integrate a bot, as it would be easier to get the status to the management team without logging into the CRM to get all the required details. I would recommend trying to use ElliQ, which is an excellent smart bot that can be used for automation.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Marketing Executive | Strategy | Automation | Digital | Social | Content | Ops | VOC | CRM | CX | at DZone/AnswerHub
Real User
Collected all of our digital content and allowed us to repurpose and share with other relevant content over time.

What is our primary use case?

I use HubSpot to aggregate all of my content, create calls to action and landing pages, to generate leads for my consulting practice. As a research analyst and marketing strategist, I use HubSpot to disseminate my content across my social media channels and to keep me up to date on comments so I can respond in a timely manner.

How has it helped my organization?

Collected all of our digital content and allowed us to repurpose and share with other relevant content over time. Able to put together lead nurturing programs based on personas to move MQLs to SQLs and trials to customers.

I am able to continue to share information of value with several different personas depending on the content I am sharing.

What is most valuable?

Content management and dissemination since we are always creating more content. Lead management and nurturing customized for target personas.

What needs improvement?

I am not in a position to afford the CRM at this point. I would like to get to a point where I can justify using it.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

10+

Technical Support:

10+

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No, I have not found a solution that meets my needs better than HubSpot.

How was the initial setup?

Very straightforward and CSRs were very helpful any time I have a question.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented the solution myself.

What was our ROI?

Undetermined at this point.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Take the 30-day free trial with HubSpot and any other vendor. Some marketing automation solutions are better for lead scoring and lead management, but I have not found a better solution for someone using content marketing as their primary lead generation strategy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Eloqua, Marketo, Act-On, Silverpop, Adobe, Pardot

What other advice do I have?

Easy to use. Great customer support.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Marketing Executive | Strategy | Automation | Digital | Social | Content | Ops | VOC | CRM | CX | at DZone/AnswerHub
Real User
Great for content curation and dissemination

Pros and Cons

  • "We are now able to manage and measure content (blogs, CTAs, and landing pages)."
  • "Increase the CRM size for sole proprietors before increasing the fee."

What is our primary use case?

I continue to use HubSpot for content curation and dissemination. I have written more than 500 blog posts on marketing, employee, and customer engagement, and also more than 1000 articles on the state of different aspects of IT. I have a lot of information on the value of various constituencies. As such, that is what I am using HubSpot to do at least three times a day. 

The analytics enable me to see which content is driving the most page views and click-throughs.              

How has it helped my organization?

We are now able to manage and measure content (blogs, CTAs, and landing pages). HubSpot serves as my Content Management Network for more than 500 of my own articles and gives me access to those that I have written for DZone.

What is most valuable?

Content creation and dissemination. I love that I am able to access the 500 plus blog posts on my site, as well as the more than 800 articles I have written for DZone.com.

What needs improvement?

Increase the CRM size for sole proprietors before increasing the fee. As an employee working to get some consulting projects, in addition to my full-time work, I am not in a position to accumulate a large number of MQLs. These are unlikely to nurture into SQLs given their geography.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has not been an issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Excellent.

Technical Support:

Excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No.

What about the implementation team?

In-house; myself.

What was our ROI?

Undetermined.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Have sufficient content before signing up for the 30-day trial.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes. Eloqua, Marketo, Act-On

What other advice do I have?

Great customer support and information of value on the site.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Account Manager at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Very User-friendly And Incredibly Scalable While Allowing For Intelligent Automation

What is most valuable?

CMS, social media tool, and analytics reporting.

How has it helped my organization?

I work for a marketing agency. We use the platform for a number of our clients. We typically run our client blogs and their social media programs through HubSpot. For some clients, their websites and reporting also goes through HubSpot. We don't typically rely on the HubSpot CRM or sales tools. The tools we do use are very user-friendly and incredibly scalable while allowing for intelligent automation. Scalability is hugely important to our clients and for me. As the person executing the marketing plan, it's very helpful to a have such a breadth of functionality accessible at one central portal.

What needs improvement?

Most of HubSpot's shortcomings come in functionality that is stopped just shy of the finish line, so to speak. For example, the social calendar tool should have a multi-select drag-and-drop functionality. The social scheduling tool similarly should be able to handle more than 15 unique messages at a time. The LinkedIn API seems to be somehow limited, as the social inbox tool often fails to pick up interactions/conversations on LinkedIn and frequently cannot retrieve the names of those individuals interacting with user messaging.

That said, there are some real issues, especially in the analytics reporting, where unexplainable gaps tend to show up. For example, the discrepancy between the number of social clicks reported and the number of social-media-generated visits reported often cannot be explained by the usual suspects - clicks directing to third-party content, partially-loaded page bounces, filtering, double clicks, etc. In fact, I've encountered instances where the reported number of social media generated visits exceeded the reported number of social clicks which makes for a real head scratcher. HubSpot support is usually of little help in explaining these discrepancies.

Another example can be found in the page performance reporting tool. In this view, the user is presented with a list of pages and some information associated with those pages - information like publish date, views, CTA %, etc. The problem is the figures presented under the CTA % column almost never match up with the numbers found if you click through to the individual page's reporting environment and divide the number of CTA clicks by the number of page views. In running AdWords campaigns, we've also found enormous discrepancies between the AdWords and HubSpot reporting. For these and other reasons, we tend to prefer data from Google Analytics.

Another feature leaving tremendous room for improvement is the keyword tool. This provides data on keyword difficulty and search volume that is frankly not very reliable, often contradicting more authoritative tools such as MOZ and Keyword Planner, as well as basic intuition.

For how long have I used the solution?

Over two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For a web application, HubSpot runs fairly heavy, which can cause stability issues on the side of the user (due to processing issues). While effectively the same, it should be noted that when these problems occur, they are not technically issues with the stability of the platform.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

Fair, a seven out of 10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

As an agency, we have to work with many CMS, marketing automation, and social media tools. In these capacities, I find that HubSpot tends to provide for a superior user experience while allowing for a more effective, scalable digital marketing program. In terms of analytics and SEO, HubSpot offers a subpar solution. As a CRM, HubSpot is infinitely more user-friendly than Salesforce but considerably less robust in its offering.

How was the initial setup?

In my experience, this depends more on the DNS you use than on HubSpot. I've been part of extremely smooth and easy setups and extremely difficult setups.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The Pro package should be adequate for most operations.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As an agency, we don't chose the solutions employed; our clients do.

What other advice do I have?

I'd offer my strong endorsement. This is a very powerful tool that gets better each year.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: The agency that I work for is a Certified HubSpot Partner Agency.
it_user572442
Digital Marketing Coordinator at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
The most important features are email marketing and lead scoring.

What is most valuable?

The most important features are email marketing and lead scoring. We attend a lot of trade shows, host webinars, etc., so email marketing is a key part of our inbound marketing strategy.

Lead scoring helps us track our leads when we’re determining which ones are hotter and should be followed up. It allows marketing to pass more qualified leads to sales, so that the sales team can prioritize.

How has it helped my organization?

Before using HubSpot, we weren’t able to track our database activity as much. We were using MailChimp, which is a great beginner tool for email marketing and marketing automation. However, HubSpot is your all-in-one inbound platform. It allows us to track visitors' web views, download history, and more. Since using HubSpot, we’ve at least doubled our leads generated.

What needs improvement?

Sometimes the product can be glitchy in the email marketing and landing page creation and I find myself having to refresh the page. It’s not often and it usually fixes itself, but it can be frustrating if you need to turn something around quickly

For example, when building a new email or landing page, sometimes when I insert something like an image or Call-to-Action, it won’t show up - it’s blank. I have to try multiple times and usually have to refresh and/or leave the page entirely and come back to it later. .

I also wish there were more capabilities with the new Lead Flow tool. I believe they are working on some upgrades since it’s still a new product as of today.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used the solution since August, 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We didn't really have any stability issues, but I’ve encountered some glitches that usually fix themselves. Overall, it’s a very reliable platform and their support is very helpful and responsive if you have any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We didn't have any scalability issues. That’s the best part about HubSpot. It allows you to scale your business.

We have multiple users in HubSpot for various reasons. I manage the email marketing piece and lead scoring, where our web person manages landing page creation and SEO reports. As we add more people to our team and grow our business, it’s very easy to manage.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the technical support as 10/10. I’ve never had a problem they couldn’t fix.

Usually, most issues are fixed within a day or two. I’ve had some larger scale technical problems, but their team is very thorough and even if it takes a week or so, they figure it out and get it right.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used MailChimp, but we needed a more all-in-one platform. MailChimp was only offering email marketing services and we needed to add lead scoring, landing page creation, SEO, reporting, etc.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a big task, but HubSpot sets you up with an on-boarding specialist for your first three months. This is in addition to your customer success rep. They really focus on getting you started.

My on-boarding specialist was awesome. She really helped get me set up and she guided me through all the tools. We met on a weekly basis and I took action items away each week. She answered any questions I had when executing, and was very helpful.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It’s a costly product and it takes a little while to get set up. We didn’t see leads increase until about six months into using the product, but we’ve been increasing ever since. While it isn’t a cheap tool, we definitely see the value it brings.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Marketo. HubSpot seemed to be a more user-friendly interface, incorporated more of what we needed, and in the end, it was more affordable.

What other advice do I have?

Take advantage of the free trial to take a look at the product. Once you start, really take advantage of your on-boarding specialist and ask a million questions.

HubSpot is a really robust tool, so there are a lot of features. Try to master one at a time (email marketing first, landing pages second, etc.).

HubSpot has a lot of great sources. Their online academy has video tutorials and example projects for you to master tools. They also offer certifications so you can take a test to check your knowledge. It’s a great way to study up and learn things about tools you might not have known existed.

There’s also a yearly conference called Inbound, which I attended as a new HubSpot user. It was really helpful in learning all about the product/service, making connections both at HubSpot and with other marketers to bounce around ideas.

I’ve also attended local trainings in my city which have been really helpful. I encourage everyone to go to at least one. The classes are usually 10-20 people, so you can really focus on what you need.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
VP of Marketing at OurCrowd
Real User
Has been a mostly successful solution as a CRM and communications channel for our various communities. There are specific functions that we require that don't exist yet.

What is most valuable?

On my team, we mostly used Hubspot as a CRMand communications channel for our various communities. Hubspot has been a mostly successful solution for those two areas. 

We did not use the social media function; we've never been able to pin down a value for us there; we already had our social media system in order and were comfortable with the setup we had. 

How has it helped my organization?

Absolutely, hands-down the best platform of its kind that we've experienced. Our communications are better tracked, and the 'story' created around every user in the CRM is extremely helpful for us, especially since we integrated with Salesforce. 

What needs improvement?

There are specific functions that we require that don't exist yet. The landing page building feature leaves much to be desired; we abandoned it and integrated with Unbounce. The customer service is touch and go (speaking with a human; the docs are great). 

For how long have I used the solution?

Two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

It was complex but we hired a consultant to help guide us through it. Some technical issues lasted a while but that was because we needed the right resources on our side and didn't have them in place. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For the most part, fairly stable. 

How are customer service and technical support?

You get what you pay for (literally, by level of payment plan). 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had several solutions scattered around; this made our CRM world unified (along with Salesforce). 

What about the implementation team?

In-house, with the help of a consultant for one-time guidance. 

What other advice do I have?

This is the first solution of its kind/caliber that I have personally used. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Director of Marketing Communications at a tech vendor with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It gives us the ability to create automated workflows that will operate certain flows-of-action automatically on a duration of time I set.

What is most valuable?

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.

We can script it beforehand and then set it so that it automatically goes out to segments. The workflow abilities are quite wide so we can make a complex workflow and play with its logic based on conditions, triggers, actions, level of engagement, etc.

The modules of workflow are also quite well developed and give us a lot of flexibility to play with actions I take inside of it.

The landing pages are also great as we can quickly create them from the UI. My team and I have the ability to create pages in just minutes and we can make new templates quickly.

We can also perform A/B testing on landing pages without working too hard. They have smart content that will dynamically change when users change and I can segment users based on database, source, and different conditions.

What needs improvement?

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.

Also, it's quite basic on SEO. There's only a keywords module, but not much you can do with it because it's not very developed.

They've inserted new modules over time, but they're add-ons and require additional licenses depending on packages. Instead of adding to purchased package, they require you to pay extra, even if you're an enterprise customer.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for over two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

With the CRM integration, it wasn't as smooth as we wanted in the beginning and we had to work with support to get it up and running. There was an issue with the number of API calls that could be made, and other issues that weren't so clear. But it wasn't a big issue. Otherwise, deployment was good.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've detected a few bugs here and there, mostly related to the UI, and sometimes behind the scenes in the database, but very rarely. They don't happen very often as we've only had downtime once in three years of use.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've scaled it based on number of users in database.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good. They're responsive and never neglect problems, but sometimes their solutions are too superficial and not deep enough. They'll always stick with you until they find a solution, but the solution is not always future-proof.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

There was no previous solution in place.

How was the initial setup?

We started with a free trial, and inside of it I could already set up some of my platform, and when we moved to the paid version, I didn't have to start over. Integration with Salesforce wasn't too complicated. What is complex is, as a marketeer, we have to load, and design a lot of our content to the system. But I don't think that's a limitation of the platform.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it in-house with our IT department who had Hubspot's support.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I think pricing is fair compared to others. It's average -- not too expensive and not too cheap. They didn't limit the number of internal users and sales people I could onboard, unlike Pardot, which limits and requires additional payment for additional users.

What other advice do I have?

Work with an agency for deployment to make it easier on yourself to begin. Plan out content inside the platform (i.e. workflows, content, landing pages, emails, etc.).

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Application Developer at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Good marketing tool and support. Lacks some features.

Valuable Features

One of the companies I'm involved with is using HubSpot for their marketing automation. They also integrate their cloud solution with HubSpot to allow for lead nurturing based on their activities in the software.

Improvements to My Organization

It works well for email automation and workflows.

It has reasonable social tracking module.

Room for Improvement

They need to improve their report and the ability to customize them, especially as some of the more fancy reports they have are not available unless.

Deployment Issues

Pretty smooth

Stability Issues

HubSpot have had multiple cases in the past 3 month where their performance was not good. Pages wouldn't load or require refresh.

Scalability Issues

No

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

Pretty good and very responsive support.

Technical Support:

Very good

Other Solutions Considered

Yes, I've considered Marketo and Pardo.

Other Advice

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

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
James Kumara-Lloyd
Senior Business Analyst - CRM at Kumara Lloyd Associates
Real User
How to Improve Sales Using Hubspot
There is much hype around the “inbound marketing process” and a product called Hubspot.  I wanted to find out how effective it was and what type of businesses might benefit from it. I took up Hubspot’s offer of a 30 day free trial to try it out in anger, using inbound marketing for my own business as a template for the trial. What is Hubspot? Hubspot is an inbound marketing tool for generating sales leads for a business. The ‘inbound marketing business process’ was invented by Hubspot, so with Hubspot you are buying into the philosophy and business process alongside the software tool itself. The process is built on established web marketing techniques like blogs, search engine optimisation, social media and email marketing. Hubspot's process brings these techniques together to create a…

There is much hype around the “inbound marketing process” and a product called Hubspot.  I wanted to find out how effective it was and what type of businesses might benefit from it. I took up Hubspot’s offer of a 30 day free trial to try it out in anger, using inbound marketing for my own business as a template for the trial.

What is Hubspot?

Hubspot is an inbound marketing tool for generating sales leads for a business.

The ‘inbound marketing business process’ was invented by Hubspot, so with Hubspot you are buying into the philosophy and business process alongside the software tool itself. The process is built on established web marketing techniques like blogs, search engine optimisation, social media and email marketing. Hubspot's process brings these techniques together to create a single methodology and tool to generate leads for your business.

Wikipedia definition: “Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospect's attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.”

Hubspot helps you automate most of the elements connected with inbound marketing (web pages, free offers, contacts management, etc.) by bringing them together into a single integrated software tool. To some extent Hubspot is marketing eating itself. Once you sign up to their mailing list, you get bombarded with their inbound marking offers of free material on how to do inbound marketing!

How did I get on with the trial?

The trial proved to be a very useful exercise for testing various marketing ideas for promoting my company.

Most of Hubspot’s functions were available during the trial with the exception of being able to send emails. On line help was also promised in the software during the trial but although messages to technical support were answered, my more general questions were not (for example an offer to help me send the test emails).

What did I think about Hubspot as a marketing tool?

This might sound obvious, but Hubspot is only suitable for companies intending to have an inbound marketing strategy. You should only consider Hubspot of you are serious about using inbound marketing. You need to put in considerable amount of marketing effort to make it work. It did not seem to be easily adaptable to other marketing methods.

However on the premise that you are serious about inbound marketing, you should seriously consider it due to the increased efficiency it can bring you.

What did you like about it?

I found it very simple to use. Help and tips of how to get the best out of the tool were close to hand. Web pages, landing pages, calls to action and emails were very easy to set up, edit to experiment with and update without the need for specialist website editing skills (a big productivity gain).

All the major elements of inbound marketing were integrated together in one place. This saved time over dealing with all the inbound marketing activities separately. This frees you to experiment to develop the best ways attracting new customers and improve your content.

Being able to control all you branding in the same place also gives you better control over it.

Finally I liked the ability to easily measure your overall marketing success and test the outcomes of different marketing and advertising tactics. Thus you can determine your marketing cost per lead generated and thus fully justify your marketing expenditure.

What was disappointing?

To get the most from the tool, you will need to transfer your web site into Hubspot. This is a big ask for many organisations who have other stakeholders using their website (like recruitment and investor relations). You will also need to pay Hubspot at extra cost to transfer your website. It is possible to run your website separately from Hubspot and tools are in place to help you do this, but it results in more work for you and is less neat in terms of reporting.

It is expensive! The basic package will set your back approximately £2,100 in the first year. Functionality is limited to 100 contacts in the database and useful CRM integration and automation is not available in this package. Although this package is enough to get you started, I would anticipate that most companies would end up using the professional package costing £8,200 in the first year.

You can however measure your success with Hubspot and thus easily justify this expenditure against the additional sales you will gain! You also need to consider the additional cost in light of your overall marketing budget. Other marketing expenditure may no longer be needed to gain the same level of awareness and number of leads thus offsetting the cost.

What was average?

The standard reports I would only rate as average. I had difficulty setting up “tracking URLs” to appear correctly - I eventually worked it out but it was very complicated!

The web publishing tool was nothing special either. As we do not use Facebook, we already publish on LinkedIn and Twitter at the same time and I find LinkedIn better for this. Larger marketing teams would however benefit from being able to monitor all of their social media interactions from different people on different social networks all in one place.

I found the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) keywords report good for finding and improving my keywords. However I still needed Google Ads, to help me find additional suitable keywords - Hubspot did not work for me in isolation.

Conclusions

The main benefit I found from Hubspot is that it makes inbound marketing much more efficient. However to get to this point you need to:

a) Establish that inbound marketing process is suitable for your own business

b) Seriously invest in social media and website marketing for it to be worth the money in terms of improved productivity (expenditure inclusive of cost of staff time of more than £10,000 a year)

For my own company, our web presence is not yet mature enough to make an immediate return on our investment from the functionality on offer. Most of the tools in Hubspot are available elsewhere cheaper (e.g. Mailchimp, Google Analytics, Jimdo, etc.) which will enable us to develop our web presence using inbound marketing without having to buy Hubspot. There will however come a time when the time saving offered by having all these things linked together within one tool will justify us moving over to Hubspot.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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