As a business owner, selecting the right software is crucial for achieving your marketing goals while staying within budget. The platform you choose impacts your ability to segment contacts, create personalized content, automate workflows, analyze performance, and ultimately see a return on your investment.
When it comes to choosing the right email marketing and automation software for your business, Drip and Marketo are two of the top contenders. Both platforms aim to help companies nurture leads, drive sales, and build relationships through targeted email campaigns and workflows.
In this in-depth Drip vs Marketo comparison, we evaluate both email marketing platforms across ten categories to reveal the key differences so you can determine which is the better fit to take your business’s digital marketing to the next level.
1. Understanding the Basics
Founded in 2013 by entrepreneurs Rob Walling and Mike Perham, Drip launched as a simplified email marketing and e-commerce platform. Over a decade later, Drip has powered over 4,500 businesses and currently leads the market for small business marketing automation. With 11K members in their official Facebook community, they have an extremely engaged user base.
Marketo was founded in 2006 by Phil Fernandez, Jon Miller, and David Morandi. The software quickly became popular for its innovative marketing automation features aimed at B2B companies. Today, Marketo has over 5,000 customers and is owned by Adobe, solidifying its position as an industry leader. Check out the Marketo Facebook Page with over 174K followers.
2. Features and Functionality
Drip enables users to create multi-step workflows and campaigns based on customer actions and other triggers. Its visual workflow builder makes it easy to set up “if this, then that” sequences with drag-and-drop blocks. Users can automate welcome series, lead nurturing workflows, subscription management, post-purchase follow-ups, and more.
Advanced options like filters, branching logic, timers, tags, variables, and custom actions provide robust targeting and personalization without coding. Workflows can leverage the built-in CRM, custom fields, product catalogs, RSS feeds, pop-up forms, and other platform tools.
Drip offers native e-commerce functionality for cart tracking and order management workflows. It also seamlessly integrates with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce using plugins.
Marketo touts its proprietary marketing automation engine as providing enterprise-grade capabilities for sophisticated nurture programs, multi-channel engagement, and account-based marketing initiatives.
The cloud-based platform equips users to map buyer journeys, build dynamic personas and segments, set smart lists and programs, and trigger customized content experiences through email, web, ads, and more. Everything ties back to ROI through native analytics.
Robust features include AI-powered behavioral tracking, predictive content recommendations, real-time personalization, and an array of intuitive drag-and-drop widgets to simplify complex campaigns. The Custom Program Canvas provides a freeform design environment for creating custom lead management workflows beyond the constraints of pre-built templates.
While powerful, Marketo requires more technical expertise compared to Drip. It also relies heavily on third-party apps for e-commerce functionality.
Drip takes the prize for easier automation setup and management. Its highly visual workflow builder enables intuitive campaign creation in just minutes without specialized training, while still providing advanced logic and personalization. Combined with its integrated e-commerce features optimizing post-purchase experiences, Drip ensures small business marketing teams can maximize results faster.
Drip provides hundreds of professionally designed email templates spanning categories like welcome campaigns, promotions, announcements, newsletters, and more to help you send the right message to the right people.
Users can fully customize templates by editing, rearranging, adding, and removing different modules and blocks through an intuitive drag-and-drop editor designed for easy email formatting.
Additional customization options include changing colors, fonts, images, and backgrounds, and adding CSS. Dynamic content fields connect to customer profiles, past actions, purchase data, and other sources to enable targeted, personalized messaging. Templates are mobile-responsive out-of-the-box.
While Drip lacks A/B testing capabilities, the template analytics show open, clickthrough, and conversion rates to inform optimization. Users can also clone existing emails to test and refine new versions.
Marketo touts over 1000 mobile-optimized templates designed by email experts, covering common marketing use cases, niches, holidays, industries, and more. Dragging different elements enables easy customization without coding.
However, options limit font selections and advanced edits compared to Drip. The templates connect to SFDC CRM data but lack built-in e-commerce hooks. A/B testing lets users experiment with subject lines, content, layouts, sends times, and lists to improve results.
While templates save time, Marketo further accelerates email creation with AI-driven content suggestions based on channel, industry, goal, and other parameters. This includes relevant images and dynamic text from integrated Salesforce data. Batch approvals streamline collaboration and governance.
Both email services offer ample professionally designed email templates covering typical marketing use cases which users can customize through drag-and-drop editing. Drip provides greater creative liberty and personalization with its modules and dynamic content while Marketo leverages AI and testing to optimize templates.
For the needs of most small businesses, both platforms provide excellent easy-to-use options out of the box.
Drip enables users to segment contacts based on standard criteria like email activity, engagement scores, tags, campaign exposure, and custom field values. Dynamic lists automatically update based on user-defined filters to add or remove subscribers over time.
The platform leverages tags and custom profile attributes to track customer behaviors, interests, and attributes for advanced targeting. Users can combine multiple data points with AND/OR logic to define granular subgroups for personalized messaging.
While powerful for most small business needs, Drip lacks complex predictive segmentation capabilities or AI-powered lookalike modeling available in some enterprise platforms. But its segments seamlessly port over to campaigns, workflows, reporting, and other areas to streamline targeting.
Marketo equips users to create highly advanced segments combining attributes like demographics, lead score, behavioral activity, CRM data, custom objects, engagement metrics, and more. Smart Lists automatically maintain segments based on real-time changes, while programs feature sophisticated entry and exit criteria.
The AI-powered functionality identifies lookalike contacts who resemble existing high-value individuals to discover new opportunities. Predictive scoring and segmentation leverage machine learning algorithms to model the probability of future actions and adjust targeting accordingly.
While extremely robust, the technical complexity caters more toward enterprise analysts than small business owners without more user-friendly visibility into the predictive models driving certain recommendations.
When it comes to sophisticated, large-scale segmentation and predictive targeting, Marketo defeats Drip.
The fine-tuned control over segment logic, real-time automation, and AI-enabled lookalike modeling provide unmatched intelligence for hyper-personalization across channels. While overkill for many small business owners, Marketo perfectly meets the advanced needs of enterprise marketing teams.
Drip provides robust email campaign analytics showing opens, clicks, unsubscribes, spam reports, and conversions over time. Users can drill down into individual messages to view real-time metrics and A/B test performance.
The built-in CRM tracks customer lifetime value, along with detailed profile timelines recording every site visit, form submission, order, support ticket, and campaign exposure. Custom reports and segments enable filtering data by tag, campaign, source, geography, and other attributes.
However, Drip lacks more advanced functionality like multi-touch attribution, predictive modeling, or AI optimizations. It focuses more on email and conversion analytics vs holistic big-picture customer intelligence and journey analytics.
Marketo touts enterprise-grade analytics capabilities, including its proprietary Engagement Score powered by AI and machine learning algorithms. This evolving measure of customer potential helps drive predictive recommendations and segmentation strategies.
Robust multi-channel features map the entire lifecycle across the web, email, ads, chat, sales interactions, and more. Sophisticated modeling attributes conversions across multiple recent touchpoints, while seamlessly integrating CRM activity occurring in Salesforce and other systems.
While incredibly powerful, the scope and complexity seem excessive for most small business teams. Many lack dedicated analysts to leverage advanced intelligence. A scaled-down interface presenting key metrics and suggestions more accessible would benefit SMBs.
Marketo stands as the clear analytics winner based on the unparalleled breadth and depth of its natively integrated multi-channel intelligence. While potential overkill for SMBs without dedicated analysts, the ability to track customer journeys holistically, predict future behaviors with AI, and leverage insights across initiatives makes Marketo enterprise-ready.
A standout capability offered by Drip is its built-in e-commerce engine and shopping cart tracking enabling powerful post-purchase experiences. Users can leverage customer order data to trigger personalized flows for confirmation messaging, reviews, replenishment cadences, and more.
Drip also provides a native landing page and pop-up form builders to easily collect emails and expand your audience. Forms integrate directly with campaigns for instant activations once a visitor converts.
While not unique by itself, the combination of automation, email, CRM, e-commerce, forms, and analytics in one seamless, affordable platform gives small businesses an essential all-in-one martech solution capable of tackling their biggest growth challenges.
Marketo differentiates itself through its engagement programs powering personalized cross-channel lifecycle campaigns. These leverage AI and vast volumes of data to model progressive customer experiences across email, mobile, web, ads, chat, and sales channels.
Another standout capability is Marketo’s extensive ecosystem of over 500 tech integrations through LaunchPoint. This includes tools for webinars, surveys, demand generation, chat, and more – while native Salesforce integration covers critical CRM capabilities out-of-the-box.
For larger, more complex organizations, Marketo’s enterprise-grade feature set for executing broad ABM and marketing strategies provides robust scalability unavailable among platforms designed foremost for SMBs.
Both platforms offer excellent unique capabilities suiting their respective target customers. Drip’s all-in-one martech toolbox enables small business owners to tackle critical strategies from one intuitive platform. Marketo’s advanced enterprise feature set ensures complex global organizations can execute intricate cross-channel campaigns and account-based sales plays.
3. Ease of Use
Drip shines when it comes to simple, intuitive use. The sleek, modern UI neatly organizes all key features into clean sidebar navigation while prioritizing immediate access to campaign and workflow builders from the dashboard.
Drag-and-drop workflow creation, template customization, and form building enable quick setup without any coding know-how. Drip also offers a hands-on 7-day onboarding course guiding new users through launching their first campaign.
The platform dynamically surfaces helpful quick tips and educational walkthrough overlays explaining how certain features work. Additional onboarding resources like help docs, videos, live chat with “Happiness Heroes”, and an active community forum foster smooth user adoption.
With its clear navigation, visual builders, guided education, and support channels, Drip makes it easy for novices to quickly become self-sufficient.
Given its robust enterprise-level capabilities, Marketo unsurprisingly presents a much steeper learning curve—especially for non-technical users. The expansive platform can feel overwhelming to navigate at first.
Moving beyond basic email requires understanding Marketo’s technical terminology around programs, tokens, canvases, smart campaigns, and its proprietary Engagement Score. Leveraging more advanced tools like AI-based behavioral modeling and predictive segmentation requires solid analytical skills.
While Marketo provides an online university offering training courses and certifications, the reality remains that fully capitalizing on its extensive feature set requires significant ramp-up time as well as continued education as new enhancements emerge.
With its simple but powerful UI, guided education, and intuitive automation, Drip wins for faster onboarding and ease of use by small business owners and solopreneurs without requiring advanced skills. While Marketo provides greater long-term scalability for larger teams, Drip offers immediate time-to-value.
4. Email Deliverability
Drip leverages deliverability best practices out-of-the-box to help customers achieve inbox placement. Features like confirmation opt-in, spam checkers on forms, and list cleaning maintain compliance with top ISPs.
The platform automatically warms up new sending IPs and domains gradually to build the sender’s reputation. Customers can view aggregated deliverability and open rates to monitor effectiveness. For more advanced monitoring, Drip recommends integrating with third-party inbox placement tools.
While Drip handles foundational deliverability capabilities, further optimization requires tackling factors externally like content personalization, sender address, and recipient engagement. But overall, Drip strives to make deliverability easy for small teams.
Marketo touts proprietary machine learning models that optimize every customer email sent for maximum inbox placement and engagement simultaneously. Advanced targeting, predictive segmentation, dynamic content, and robust analytics enable extremely customized messaging.
The platform provides deliverability consulting and coaching for customers needing to improve metrics. Extensive IP warm-up capabilities and close relationships with ISPs bolster domain sender reputation. Native integrations display inbox placement percentages down to the ISP level.
For enterprise customers sending high volumes, Marketo offers premium deliverability programs leveraging dedicated IPs and IP rollover features to maximize effectiveness.
With its advanced personalization and segmentation capabilities powered by AI models, Marketo has a clear upper hand in enabling customers to achieve strong email deliverability through hyper-relevant messaging. Drip handles email best practices well but relies more on external tools for in-depth optimization.
5. Customer Support and Community
Drip offers email-based customer support access to a dedicated “Happiness Hero” for assistance with onboarding, troubleshooting issues, and optimizing the use of the platform. Support hours are limited to weekdays, with a 12-24 hour response time depending on the plan.
Self-help resources include documentation, webinars, an online knowledge base, and email courses introducing features. The Drip blog also provides tips for maximizing results.
While light on formal resources, Drip fosters an engaged user community on platforms like its 7,500+ member Drip Engagers Facebook group where members openly discuss best practices.
Marketo provides 24/7 support with faster response times under 2 hours. Customers gain access to an online portal with an extensive knowledge base, documentation, training materials, tips, and troubleshooting guides.
Robust formal self-education offerings include free courses for learning the platform, certifications in Marketo skills, and a library of best-practice thought leadership content.
Additionally, Marketo powers a thriving community of over 100,000 members focused on strategizing effective B2B marketing automation tactics across multiple channels.
Marketo edges out Drip when it comes to customer support due simply to its 24/7 availability, faster response times, and wealth of self-service educational materials for ramping skills development. While Drip offers email access to helpful representatives and an engaged user community, Marketo’s resources are vastly more robust.
Drip focuses its core integrations on connecting popular small business software tools for e-commerce, payments, web building, and media like Shopify, WooCommerce, Stripe, LeadPages, Zapier, and Calendly.
Tight e-commerce platform syncs automatically track customer activity like cart abandons and purchases to trigger workflows. Zapier support enables connecting hundreds of other apps through workflows while the Drip API allows developers to build custom solutions.
For the typical solopreneur or small marketing team, Drip’s portfolio covers the most vital integrations to manage online sales funnels, email, and CRM data for lead scoring in one place. However, larger teams may desire access to additional enterprise-level tools.
Marketo boasts over 500+ pre-built integrations with apps spanning practically every marketing category from analytics and personalization to events, demand generation, PR, and more. Major platforms like Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, Tableau, and Adobe Creative Cloud integrate natively to centralize data.
The LaunchPoint ecosystem features connectors for Marketo to communicate bidirectionally with best-of-breed martech solutions, ensuring enterprise teams can create truly customized stacks tied to their unique strategies. Robust API support enables in-house development as needed.
Marketo easily wins for the breadth and flexibility of integrations offered through LaunchPoint and native platform support—exceeding over 5X more options than Drip. While Drip covers the basics well for everyday SMB needs, Marketo ensures enterprises can execute sophisticated strategies interconnecting data across martech stacks and CRM tools.
Drip has a simple pricing structure based on the number of contacts in your list. You can start with a free plan and the lowest plan costs $39/month for up to 2,500 people. You can sign up for a free trial on the platform to test out the software before committing to a paid plan.
All plans include unlimited emails, and access to core features like automation, analytics, and integrations. Higher tiers offer more contacts, additional CRM, and e-commerce integrations. You can compare multiple versions and use each version generated to see which one has better open rates and how much revenue you can expect.
Overall, Drip’s platform offers competitively priced and its free tier provides excellent capabilities for early-stage businesses.
Marketo pricing is customized quote-based depending on usage needs. Entry-level plans start around $1,250/month for up to 10,000 contacts. Mid-tier pricing ranges ~$2,500+ for expanded email capability, multi-user access, and sales integration features. Enterprise-scale packages are $4,000+/month.
While Marketo carries higher price tags than Constant Contact, the robust functionality, API connections, predictive modeling capabilities, analytics, and premier support provide immense value from the investment for established, high-volume marketing teams.
The Marketo Engage Drip comparison shows that Drip is the winner. Because of its clearly defined tiers at accessible rates for startups through growing small businesses, Drip emerges as the pricing winner versus Marketo’s expensive and opaque enterprise quotes. While Marketo likely outguns Drip for large organizations, its undisclosed pricing presents barriers to entry for most small companies.
8. Reviews and Reputation
Drip earns strong positive marks from users for its intuitive, user-friendly interface that makes email marketing automation accessible for beginners and seasoned marketers alike. As noted across reviews on sites like G2 and Capterra, both new and experienced customers praise Drip’s approachable platform design and versatility in accommodating growing businesses.
However, a common critique cited by a portion of users focuses on Drip presenting some limitations with its reporting functionality. While the tool provides valuable analytics insights, some customers believe the native tracking and dashboards lack deeper, more advanced analytics typically expected with higher-tier enterprise software.
Additionally, Drip’s pricing model receives mixed feedback. Many users highlight the reasonable monthly rates providing strong ROI for small businesses. But others feel key features like A/B testing get locked behind the higher-priced plans, desiring more functionality be included for the entry-level tiers.
As a veteran marketing automation leader, Marketo benefits from years of product maturity reflected in overwhelmingly positive reviews praising its robust B2B lead management and nurturing capabilities. The platform’s vast suite of email, advertising, CRM, and analytics tools earns high marks for enterprise scalability.
However, a consistent critique centers around Marketo’s steep learning curve—especially for SMB owners lacking dedicated marketing resources and analytics teams. While Marketo offers deep functionality, mastering the platform poses challenges requiring significant ramp-up time and continued education as highlighted on sites like G2.
Additionally, periodic customer support issues noted on Trustpilot point towards opportunities for Marketo to continue improving client guidance, training, and account management—particularly during the complex onboarding journey common with advanced martech adoption.
Thanks to its intuitive design winning over beginners and experts alike, paired with inclusive features catering to early-stage SMBs, Drip emerges as the review/reputation leader—specifically among the small business segment. Marketo however remains the undisputed enterprise-class choice for large, complex organizations desiring truly scalable solutions despite its steeper adoption curve.
- What is Drip’s primary focus in email marketing?
Drip primarily focuses on providing advanced automation tools and segmentation capabilities, enabling businesses to create personalized email campaigns tailored to individual customer behaviors.
- Does Drip offer a free trial for users to test its features?
Yes, Drip offers a 14-day free trial, allowing users to explore its functionalities and determine if it aligns with their marketing needs before committing to a subscription.
- How does Drip’s pricing structure compare to other email marketing platforms?
Drip’s pricing is competitive, offering tiered plans based on subscriber count and advanced features. While it may be pricier than some entry-level platforms, users often find the investment worthwhile due to its robust automation capabilities.
- Can I integrate Drip with other marketing tools and platforms?
Absolutely, Drip offers seamless integrations with various third-party tools and platforms, including CRM systems, eCommerce platforms, and social media channels, ensuring a cohesive marketing ecosystem.
- What customer support options does Drip provide?
Drip offers multiple customer support channels, including email support, live chat, extensive documentation, and webinars, ensuring users receive timely assistance and guidance when needed.
- What sets Marketo apart from other marketing automation platforms?
Marketo stands out for its comprehensive suite of marketing automation tools, robust lead management capabilities, and scalability, making it a preferred choice for medium to large enterprises.
- Is there a learning curve associated with using Marketo?
Yes, while Marketo offers extensive functionalities, users often face a learning curve, especially those new to marketing automation. However, with access to training resources and support, mastering the platform becomes more manageable over time.
- How customizable are Marketo’s email templates and campaigns?
Marketo provides extensive customization options, allowing users to create personalized email templates, landing pages, and campaigns tailored to their brand’s specific needs and audience preferences.
- Can I integrate Marketo with other business systems and platforms?
Absolutely, Marketo offers robust integration capabilities, enabling seamless connectivity with CRM systems, analytics tools, social media platforms, and more, ensuring a unified marketing ecosystem.
- What customer support options are available for Marketo users?
Marketo offers various customer support channels, including 24/7 phone support, email assistance, an extensive knowledge base, webinars, and community forums, ensuring users receive comprehensive support and guidance.
Choose Drip if…
Drip is an excellent choice for businesses seeking an intuitive and user-friendly email marketing platform with robust automation capabilities. Whether you’re a small business owner looking to scale your email marketing efforts or an experienced marketer focusing on personalized customer engagement, Drip’s advanced segmentation and automation tools cater to a wide range of needs.
Its seamless integration capabilities and comprehensive analytics further enhance its appeal, making it a preferred choice for businesses prioritizing user experience and scalability.
If you’d like to learn more about other platforms, check out my collection of the best Drip alternatives.
Choose Marketo if…
Marketo is ideal for medium to large enterprises requiring a comprehensive marketing automation solution with extensive customization and scalability. If you operate in a competitive market and need advanced lead management, analytics, and campaign orchestration capabilities, Marketo offers a suite of tools designed to drive results.
While it may have a steeper learning curve, its robust functionalities, seamless integrations, and enterprise-level support make it a go-to platform for businesses looking to elevate their marketing efforts and achieve long-term success.
Selecting the right software platform for your business is crucial to achieving your marketing goals and driving growth. While Drip excels in user-friendliness and automation for smaller to mid-sized businesses, Marketo offers enterprise-level capabilities for businesses with complex marketing needs. Consider your business requirements, budget, and long-term goals when making your decision.
If you have any questions or need further guidance, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. We’re here to help you make an informed choice tailored to your specific needs.