Marketo Email Marketing Review And Comparison

Categories: Email marketing
Updated: May 26, 2021

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Marketo is one of the most well-known names in marketing software, especially among corporations that are serious about email marketing. The platform offers a wide range of business solutions – from lead management to marketing automation, email marketing, in-depth analytics, and more.

If you’re looking to level up your email marketing efforts with solid automation technology, Marketo will undoubtedly be one option that you should consider. However, this platform is not the cheapest piece of software for email marketing out there, and you really should know what you’re purchasing before you sign up.

In this Marketo email marketing review, I’m going to look at the pros and cons of this infamous software: what it can do well, what it can’t do, and how much you should be willing to pay for it. In the end, I will also compare Marketo with a more accessible email marketing software of our own - AVADA Email Marketing.

Let’s get started!

Table of contents:

What is Marketo email marketing?

What is Marketo email marketing?
What is Marketo email marketing?

Founded in 2006, Marketo has emerged as one of the leading email marketing automation platforms in the world. Today, Marketo has more than 2,300 customers as companies and over 100,000 users from all around the world. The thing that makes Marketo a popular option for many B2B companies is the ability to simplify the marketing process and streamline many email marketing related tasks to improve performance and garner more revenue for the users.

On top of the focus in marketing automation, Marketo is also built to be sophisticated and flexible, enabling users to do many marketing tasks and achieve good results. It is a comprehensive platform that can grow with an enterprise. The platform can also be used in other areas of a company such as marketing management and customer engagement marketing.

With real-time personalization, users can add their own touch to the system and make the platform more suitable for their own requirements and preferences.

Marketo email marketing pros and cons

Before we review this platform in detail, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of Marketo email marketing. I’m basing these opinions on my own experience with using the platform and comparing Marketo to its alternatives such as ActiveCampaign, Hubspot, and, of course, AVADA Email Marketing.

Marketo email marketing pros

  • An extensive marketing solution - Marketo is a comprehensive email marketing suite covering all the essential needs of a modern brand. The platform also separates itself into multiple products, creating flexible packaging for different needs of users.

  • Ease of use – Marketo has received a lot of praise for their platform’s usability. While it may not have the prettiest user interface, everything in the dashboard is well labeled and easy to get used to, helping users to adapt more easily than some other tools.

  • Quick and easy to set up - It’s relatively easy to implement Marketo email marketing and get it running, compared to some other email marketing platforms on the market.

  • Flexibility - Marketo offers separate usages for email marketing, marketing automation, email sending, analytics, etc. You can pay only for what you use and forget about the rest.

  • Salesforce integration - Marketo email marketing offers an exceptional integration with Salesforce. While the syncing process between Marketo and Salesforce can take some time, the two platforms work together flawlessly.

Marketo email marketing cons

  • Pricing: Marketo has never been the most affordable email marketing option but its price has increased rapidly over the years – and Adobe isn’t particularly transparent about the platform’s full cost either. Each tier in the pricing plans has a steep jump in cost, which means you need to purchase a lot more per month for just a handful of extra features.

  • Poor landing page & form builder: Marketo still lags behind compared to industry leaders when it comes to landing pages and form builders. This is partly due to the fact that Marketer started as a lead management tool. While many features of the product have been updated, some remnants remain such as the clunky landing page builder.

  • No CRM: There isn’t a built-in CRM inside Marketo although it can integrate with many customer relationship management platforms.

  • Reports & analytics – One of the most common complaints about Marketo is for their limited analytics and reporting functionality. If users don’t use additional extensions, it can take a long time to have reports that other platforms’ users are able to produce in the click of a button.

  • Speed: Many Marketo users also complain that the platform can be sluggish at times and I also have the same experience when trying their software.

  • Usability: While Marketo has an overall good experience, some of the specific tools can get frustrating to use in Marketo.

Make no mistake, Marketo email marketing is still a true leader in the industry but there are always some issues. For me , the cost of Marketo is out of touch with its own features and its alternatives. Also, there are too many issues inside small (but important) features that can justify such a hefty price tag.

To make my point clear, I will dive deeper into Marketo’s features in the next section.

Marketo’s key features review

Marketo's key features review
Marketo's key features review

Marketo email marketing divides its platform into many different apps, allowing users to essentially use the features they need without the other getting in the way.

This is important because an enterprise platform like this can drown users in features and dashboards, which makes the app difficult to navigate and use. Marketo email marketing does a good job of splitting its features into dedicated apps so users can easily get to what they need, when they need it.

Here is a list of features that is available with Marketo’s users:

  • Marketing automation: Build, automate and measure automation campaigns across channels.

  • Email marketing: Engage subscribers with relevant conversations in minutes.

  • Account-based marketing: Focus on engaging with the most important accounts using AI.

  • Mobile marketing: Communicate with the audience wherever they are.

  • Marketing analytics: Measure marketing campaigns to prove their impact and improve results.

  • Social media: Integrate social accounts to find customers and convert them into customers.

  • Web personalisation: Create dynamic interaction for each group of customers on your website.

  • Digital ads: Target your preferred customers by displaying personalized ads.

  • Content AI: Provide customers with the content they want automatically.

  • Marketo Sales Engage: Give your sales team more power to identify most valuable leads and keep customers engaged.

For email marketing, here are the most important features that you can find in the Automation module:

  • Lead generation – A tool to easily attract and engage with potential buyers from the start of their buying journey through tactics like landing pages, web personalization, search marketing, forms, social media and behavior tracking. Users can qualify leads using custom scoring models and automatically routed them to the applicable sales rep.

  • Landing pages – Create web and mobile responsive landing pages with a drag-and-drop builder. Marketo can dynamically personalize content for known and anonymous site visitors. Users can also create custom forms to place across multiple landing pages.

  • Lead nurturing – Build cross-channel, automated email campaigns to personalize a lead’s experience and scale them into a customer. Lead nurturing includes real-time triggered emails, automatic segmentation based lead behaviors, and mobile marketing abilities to reach the audience wherever they are.

  • CRM integration - Marketo integrates with most well-known CRM systems, allowing users to identify the most valuable leads and automatically leading them to the care of your sales team. Your team can then focus more on lead conversion instead of dead-end contacts.

  • Campaign tracking – Marketo has useful tools like a web-based calendar to easily coordinate with members, dashboards and ad hoc reports for you to quickly identify and share new findings, and campaign performance analysis to quickly spot what’s working and what’s not.

Marketo’s features should give you solid coverage across all of your email marketing strategies and plenty of tools to automate the marketing process. Something that can be added is a CRM tool which lets you integrate with a third-party platform for customer management. Marketo can integrate nicely with some leading CRM platforms, but you can’t do it for free.

Other frustrations I found while testing with Marketo were the poor form builders and landing page. Analytics and reporting is also a weak point and, despite the effort of dividing into individual apps, the UX of specific features inside Marketo can use some upgrade to meet modern day’s design style.

Marketo's key features review

I mean, look at the picture from the beginning of the section, Marketo looked like a music player from the 2000s. Luckily, they have had updates for the design of Marketo. Now, it looks more clean, simple, and less 3d. However, it still has the look of an old software with too much information to handle on one screen.

Marketo email marketing support

Since Marketo is a premium email marketing service, users are assigned a consultant to help them with onboarding and training. Marketo also offers other services to help companies create effective marketing campaigns for their business. Their services include:

  • Strategic advisory services – Marketo’s digital marketing experts will help companies assess the current status of their digital marketing efforts, align marketing goals with the business goals, and create a suitable digital marketing strategy to follow.

  • Expert consulting – Marketo’s consultants are experts in the field, available for advice on strategic marketing guidance, marketing best-practices, and hands-on assistance.

  • Creative services – The creative team from Marketo can help companies design and create attractive emails, landing pages, and mobile templates to engage with customers.

Users can use the support portal to browse guidance articles or submit a ticket. You can also contact phone support from Marketo for critical issues, as well as communicate with other users through the Marketing Nation Community.

The support from Marketo email marketing is a reason why many big companies still choose Marketo as their main marketing platform. Some of the big companies that still use Marketo email marketing can be named as: Panasonic, Fujitsu, CenturyLink, Microsoft, Hyundai, Canon, etc.

Marketo email marketing pricing

Marketo email marketing pricing
Marketo email marketing pricing

Marketo email marketing doesn’t put any pricing on their website and you will need to call their sales team to get a quote. For some reason, Marketo decides to separate plans into four categories: Select, Prime, Ultimate, and Enterprise. To be clear, those pricing may have changed since I used Marketo, so use them as a guide only. On an annual contract, those are the monthly prices you’ll pay, and depending on whatever plan you choose, you may save anywhere from $250 to $2,500.

These costs are comparable to those of many other enterprise marketing software choices on the market, but there is no low-level option or a free trial for smaller businesses so this isn’t a platform you can use to scale your company from the ground up, especially if you are trying to save some budget.

Here is more information on each Marketo packages:

  • Select – This package is designed for growth marketers that wish to scale their marketing operations by migrating from an existing marketing automation platform. Audience segmentation, lead scoring, webinar marketing, email marketing, advanced dynamic content, social marketing, landing pages, and native Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration are among the capabilities included.

  • Prime — The Prime bundle is designed for forward-thinking marketers who desire account-based marketing and AI capabilities. It adds website retargeting, target account management, website personalization, and predictive content for up to 50 assets to the Select package.

  • Ultimate — The Ultimate bundle is designed for marketers who require enhanced functionality. It includes email deliverability, a sandbox, and premium multi-touch attribution, in addition to the Prime package’s features.

  • Enterprise - The Enterprise package is designed for international teams and includes a variety of bespoke features. For further information, please contact Adobe.

Depending on the package selected, Marketo email marketing has several add-on features such as SMS messaging, mobile push messaging, advanced business intelligence functionality, SugarCRM and SAP CRM, dedicated IP addresses and integrations with NetSuite.

Either way, Marketo is one of the most expensive options for email marketing, even at the enterprise level. It is estimated that the Select package starts at $895/month and the Ultimate package can be more than $3,200 per month.

How does Marketo compare to AVADA Email Marketing?

How does Marketo compare to AVADA Email Marketing?
How does Marketo compare to AVADA Email Marketing?

Marketo email marketing’s feature list is about as good as any other high-end marketing software provider and I’ve given you insights on its strengths and weaknesses. Now, I want to quickly compare Marketo against our own email marketing platform – AVADA Email Marketing - which has become a software of choice for many eCommerce businesses in the last two years.

The most obvious difference between AVADA Email Marketing and Marketo is that AVADA has entry-level options for small to medium businesses. Actually, users have a free plan to try out all the most basic features before deciding to commit to a higher plan.

Aside from email marketing features such as automation, workflow, email editor, templates, AVADA Email Marketing also covers users for opt-in form, SMS marketing, and analytics.

Unlike Marketo, AVADA Email Marketing doesn’t position itself as an enterprise platform, even though its premium features can certainly reach that level of needs. Instead, AVADA is designed specifically for small to medium businesses and small email marketing teams that want to grow.

The price of AVADA Email Marketing increases as the user’s contact list grows, which means it increases at a more reasonable rate. With the Pro plan starting at only $9 per month, users can already send unlimited emails to ensure the best connection with customers.

This is a key reason that many smaller brands are using AVADA Email Marketing to automate growth - the platform will be cost-effective even if a company grows tremendously in five years’ time.

AVADA Email Marketing’ automation features are up there with the best, too. It doesn’t have as many features as Marketo, but with a few integrations and a focus in email marketing, you can do just as much at a fraction of the cost - and the overall user experience is much more friendly.

Marketo email marketing final verdict

Marketo is a platform packed with industry-leading features that can deliver everything an enterprise brand needs for email marketing software. The lack of a CRM and the outdated interface can be frustrating, but it is still one of the top options for the enterprise level.

If you are not yet in the category, though, Marketo is likely out of your budget range. This is where an option like AVADA Email Marketing starts to take the lead, thanks to modest entry-level pricing that allows small businesses to grow with email marketing.

All that said, what is your thought on Marketo email marketing? Do you have the budget for such an email marketing platform? Share your opinion in the comments.


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