Hubspot vs Silverpop: Battle of the Marketing Automation Systems

 

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.

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Workflows

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).

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Silverpop Workflow

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.

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Hubspot Workflow

Email

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.

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Silverpop Reports

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Hubspot Reports

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.

Testing

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.

Segmenting

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.

Miscellaneous Features

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.

Conclusion

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Silverpop is less user friendly

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.

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About the Author: Sumair Sattar

Sumair is a graduate of Math & Business from the University of Waterloo. He's a technology lover and marketing automation expert

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