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HubSpot is not a Marketing Automation Tool

Many marketers know HubSpot as a marketing automation tool. It’s not hard to understand why – HubSpot still scores very well in all areas compared to other marketing automation tools (as shown by independent international comparison sites such as TrustRadius, G2 Crowd or Gartner Peer Insights, which are all based on real user reviews).

As wonderful as those high user review scores from HubSpot are, marketers are still missing out on opportunities to use HubSpot – combined with their own knowledge and skills – to add further value to their organisation’s entire commercial process. 

Swap your marketing-only glasses for customer-centric glasses

Marketers can now use HubSpot to include the rest of the commercial organisation in the inbound methodology. To achieve this, you'll need to swap your marketing-only glasses for customer-centric glasses. This might be a welcome step for some marketers, but for others, it might be a bridge too far.

HubSpot has been listening to its customers in recent years. It has bundled not just the fragmented marketing activities into smart and useful functionalities, but the entire commercial process. Or, from the customer’s perspective: the entire customer journey.

You can now use the Marketing Hub, as well as the Sales Hub and the Customer Service Hub – all based on the highly sophisticated HubSpot CRM – to perfectly shape the entire customer journey in one single platform. This is aided by more than 300 integrations with external applications such as Eventbrite, Salesforce, and Outlook. And all these Hubs have the same intuitive interface and useful functionalities in both the app and the desktop version – now that's pretty neat!

But wait, there's more...

HubSpot discovered that some overzealous and tech-savvy marketers built fully functional websites based on the landing page functionality in the Marketing Hub. Even though a limited CMS was available in HubSpot as of 2012, not many people were actually using it. This was because this CMS only had very limited functionalities that were almost similar to the landing page functionality.

When Webs started helping customers optimise their commercial processes in 2015, we kept far away from HubSpot when it came to building new websites for customers. In fact – given our customers' wishes, we weren't even able to use it!

Here we are, five years down the track, and the HubSpot platform's CMS is the only way we build websites. Not because we don't have any other options, but because it makes things so much easier for us, and, more importantly, for our customers. It would be almost criminal to let our customers use any other CMS to develop their websites.

Having to switch between, say, a WordPress site, an additional hosting party, the internet agency with the specific WordPress knowledge, and then HubSpot is a thing of the past. Everything under the one roof with the same look and feel.

What was once a big fat lie...

Three years ago, a number of agencies were still spreading the rumour that by choosing HubSpot Marketing Automation, you were supposed to create your website in HubSpot as well. This was a big fat lie, but an understandable argument from their point of view to persuade customers to go for something other than HubSpot. After all, who wants to completely redo their website once they choose HubSpot? That would be a waste of capital, plain and simple. Imagine what your boss would say: I want to spend 10k on marketing automation, oh and by the way – our website that we painstakingly developed last year and which cost us a lot of money also needs to be updated at a cost of 25k - 50k. Yeah right!

The HubSpot CMS is now up to par with any other CMS provider

We can safely say that we now use HubSpot CMS for 99% of all our customers, with excellent results. Not quite 100%, but we might soon hit that number given the roadmap that HubSpot Management has presented to us. HubSpot's CMS is up to par with providers such as Joomla, Drupal, Sitecore, TYPO3. It does require you to look at CMS systems in a different way.

A different perspective

When it comes to choosing a CMS, we find that too many companies still rely on their IT department to make the selection. We see a lot of Programs of Requirement being drawn up that consist for more than 50% of technical requirements. This is a shame – we at Webs believe that choosing a CMS should never be determined by IT. Now, you'll never hear IT say that they make that choice on their own, but in many cases they're the ones who steer the selection process. Hardly surprising, given that CMS systems used to be part of the local IT landscape, as they had to be controllable and manageable.

Choosing a CMS today should be a business-driven process

Many modern CMS systems are cloud-based solutions and, as such, must be scalable and flexible instead of controllable and manageable. This is necessary to solve/answer queries in the market using a multichannel approach, based on the customer journey. Choosing a CMS today, therefore, should be a business-driven process. And when we say business, we don't mean product-driven managers, but customer-driven managers who take the customer journey as their starting point.

If you truly adhered to your core value of 'putting the customer first', you wouldn't just go for a CMS system based on technical excellence alone. Customers don't care in which system something was created, where it is located on a server, if it easily links to your ERP system, etc.

That's an Inside-Out approach. The Outside-In approach, on the other hand, no longer uses the term Content Management System; they call it a Customer Engagement Platform instead. This is the best way to serve customers across all customer disciplines, including marketing, sales, and customer service, which is exactly in line with HubSpot's vision: Grow Better.

Picture of Emiel Kanters
Emiel Kanters

Managing Director & Partner