IBM recently added Silverpop to its portfolio of marketing assets. This is another sign that marketing automation and mass personalization has become a crucial part of today's marketing arsenal.
Recently I had the chance to demo Silverpop Engage and inevitably, I found myself comparing it to Hubspot, which I've been primarily using this past year.
Silverpop has visual, drag and drop workflows (similar to Eloqua). The capability is quite extensive and it's flexible in developing very specific and custom workflows (more so than Hubspot).
A neat feature of Silverpop's workflows is that you can add a step to send direct mail. This step will automatically email instructions to a printer to print a customized mailing label for a contact in the database. I assumed (before I did some research), that direct mail was a mostly dead marketing tactic. Blame Generation Y thinking here, but it turns out this feature may be in use for a little while yet. According to this Huffington Post article: "A study done by the Direct Marketing Association found that the response rate for direct mail to an existing customer averages 3.4 percent, compared to 0.12 percent for email."
As I mentioned in my previous post on Eloqua vs. Hubspot, Hubspot workflows consist of a list of steps, a trigger, and a goal, which I find is not the most intuitive way to plan out a campaign.
Silverpop emails have a send time optimization feature. Based on a history of user opens, emails will be sent at a time the contact is most likely to open them. This is a great feature (and lacking in Hubspot) since I find there's a constant debate over the best time to send out an email blast (there really isn't ONE good time).
Hubspot has a built-in email testing feature (powered by Litmus) which provides you with the ability to preview an email on multiple devices before sending it. There is a similar paid add-on in Silverpop, but I do think that by now this should be a built-in feature since responsive design and optimizing for mobile are more important than ever.
Reporting & Dashboards
Based on the Silverpop demo of their reporting feature, it seems that the capabilities are about the same as Hubspot but the Silverpop UI is extremely dated. I found that reports are not as visually appealing in Silverpop as they are in Hubspot, nor did the interface seem as user friendly.
Silverpop also allows you to alter widgets on the home screen for a look at stats at a glance. You can add widgets to view scheduled emails, top forms, and top sources. This is a bit more detailed than Hubspot's dashboard, which does not have as many options for personalization and is more focused on visits, leads and customers.
I found that Silverpop offers more extensive email and landing page A/B testing. You can create up to four test versions simultaneously vs Hubspot's two. This type of multivariate testing is great for testing numerous elements simultaneously but requires a lot more traffic to produce statistically significant results.
Silverpop queries allow for a very granular level of segmentation. For example, you can segment all the contacts who clicked on a specific link within a specific email. Hubspot's segmentation abilities cover most cases but are definitely not as specific.
Silverpop allows you to send text messages. Hubspot doesn't do this, but I don't feel that this is a crucial feature.
Silverpop doesn't have a blogging tool. Hubspot on the other hand provides a platform that puts every aspect of your marketing in one place (including a blogging tool).
Silverpop automatically adds your preferred device as a field into the contact database (based on common devices you've used to access emails). You can then segment your contacts based on that field. I see this being useful in a situation where you wanted to perhaps encourage the use of mobile with specific offers or rewards.
UI & Usability
This is my biggest complaint when it comes to Silverpop. The interface just reminds me a lot of Eloqua 9. I find the Silverpop UI to be very dated and it's definitely not as intuitive as Hubspot from a usability standpoint.
In my opinion, Silverpop is very similar to Hubspot in terms of its capabilities, aside from a few minor nice-to-have features. A major flaw in my opinion is the UI and usability of Silverpop - I think that a visual, modern UI is something we all expect from any software, especially one aimed at marketers.
If you've used both platforms, let us know which you prefer in the comments below.
- Compare Hubspot vs. Eloqua