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When starting any business, choosing the right email marketing and lead generation software can set your company up for long-term success. SendGrid and Marketo are two of the most popular platforms for email, marketing automation, CRM, and analytics—but which should you choose?

In this comprehensive comparison article, we evaluate SendGrid vs Marketo across a range of factors small business owners should consider before making a purchasing decision.

Specifically, we analyze market position, ease of use, design customization capabilities, features, functionality like e-commerce and SEO tools, third-party integrations, analytics and reporting, website speed and reliability, customer support, pricing models, online reputation, and more.

Understanding the strengths and limitations of both SendGrid and Marketo will empower you to select the best email marketing solution tailored to your business needs.

1. Understanding the Basics

Founded in 2009, SendGrid started as an email delivery service. The founders are Isaac Saldana, Jose Lopez, and Tim Jenkins. Over time it evolved into a leading email API platform now serving over 80,000 customers. With 9 data centers worldwide, SendGrid delivers over 60 billion emails per month.

Marketo was founded in 2006 by Phil Fernandez, Jon Miller, and David Morandi. As one of the market leaders in marketing automation software, Marketo serves over 5,000 customers globally. The popular Marketo Nation Facebook community has over 60,000 engaged members.

Both SendGrid and Marketo have strong brand recognition in their respective spaces. SendGrid focuses specifically on email while Marketo provides a broader suite of marketing and customer engagement tools.

When choosing between the two, small businesses should consider whether they need a dedicated email solution or a full marketing platform.

2. Features and Functionality

Marketing Automation


SendGrid offers robust email automation capabilities. You can create triggers like welcome emails, run workflows based on subscriber actions, and set up segmented campaigns targeting custom audiences. With drag-and-drop creation, you don’t need any coding expertise.

Specifically, SendGrid automation allows you to build sign-up forms to capture leads, customize welcome emails new subscribers receive, and create nurture campaigns that engage users over time.

Workflows can be based on actions like opening an email, clicking a link, visiting your website, making a purchase, and more.

You also get A/B testing to refine campaigns and lift metrics. Overall, SendGrid takes care of email deliverability behind the scenes while you focus on strategy.


Marketo is a comprehensive marketing automation platform that makes it easy to set up multi-channel nurture programs across email, mobile, ads, web, and more. Its visual workflow editor lets you map out complex buyer journeys with intuitive drag-and-drop functionality.

You can segment your audiences and tailor content experiences around their interests. Marketo automation is powered by complex lead-scoring algorithms that track engagement across channels to determine user intent.

As leads progress down funnel stages towards becoming marketing-qualified or sales-qualified, Marketo adjusts messaging automatically.

With robust A/B testing capabilities and integration with Salesforce CRM, Marketo gives enterprise teams in-depth data to personalize content at scale. However, for smaller businesses, its advanced features may be overkill.

Winner: Tie

Both SendGrid and Marketo offer excellent automation solutions. SendGrid provides robust email functionality while Marketo excels at cross-channel campaign orchestration.

For focused email marketing, SendGrid is likely the better choice whereas Marketo suits those needing complex nurture journeys. Either platform can scale as your business grows.

Email Templates


SendGrid provides hundreds of professionally designed email templates you can customize for your brand. Templates are mobile-responsive out-of-the-box and optimized for major email clients like Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, and more.

You can edit templates directly in the app or use HTML/CSS for advanced customization. Dynamic content blocks let you insert images, text, and custom fields that populate with subscriber-specific data when emails are sent.

Overall, SendGrid focuses specifically on email, so its templates are refined to the needs of email marketers. The template options suit most use cases like welcome series, promotions, newsletters, and more.


Marketo has a library of free and premium email templates crafted for various industries and campaign types. Templates feature dynamic content modules you can drag and drop to customize layouts without coding.

While Marketo templates get the job done, they tend to focus primarily on lead nurturing rather than more advanced transactional and promotional email use cases. As Marketo isn’t email-first, its templates may require more customization compared to SendGrid.

Winner: SendGrid

With email being its sole focus, SendGrid offers superior pre-designed email templates out of the box.

Marketo templates work but are geared towards long-form content to nurture leads rather than concise, hard-hitting emails. For quickly setting up professional email campaigns with minimal effort, SendGrid is the winner.



SendGrid allows you to create segments based on user behaviors and attributes to target emails. You can segment by email activity like opens, clicks, bounces, and unsubscribes as well as by customer properties pulled from your database like demographics, order history, etc.

Segments update dynamically as users take action. You can then target emails specifically to these segments with relevant messaging. Basic segmentation is available for all users while more advanced options come at higher tiers.


Marketo is renowned for its powerful lead scoring and behavioral segmentation capabilities. You can track every user interaction across the web, mobile, email, ads, and more to identify high-value leads based on engagement.

As leads progress through your defined lifecycle stages, Marketo will automatically update their score and segment them into appropriate lists and groups for further nurturing. You get a unified customer record showing interactions across all channels.

Winner: Marketo

When it comes to detailed behavioral segmentation powered by artificial intelligence, Marketo is the undisputed market leader.

While SendGrid has basic segmentation, Marketo offers enterprise-grade lead intelligence identifying high-value prospects based on complex scoring algorithms. For in-depth customer insights, Marketo is the winner.



SendGrid provides email tracking and activity analytics to track opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, spam reports, and more. You get insights into email performance overall or for specific campaigns. Basic analytics are offered for free while more advanced options come at higher pricing tiers.

Reporting covers email stats, deliverability metrics, storage usage, and subscriber engagement over time. While focused specifically on email, SendGrid’s analytics are quite comprehensive for optimizing email marketing performance.


Marketo is renowned for its powerful predictive marketing analytics. It tracks every customer touchpoint across channels and uses machine learning to model attribution and forecast the revenue influence of each campaign.

Marketo also ties offline CRM data into its analytics for a single unified view of the customer. It goes beyond basic email and campaign metrics to uncover multi-touch buyer journeys, predict high-value leads, and recommend actions to improve ROI.

Winner: Marketo

Although Marketo has a steeper learning curve, it wins this round. For deep predictive analytics that models the customer journey to optimize conversion across every channel, Marketo is far more powerful than SendGrid.

While SendGrid offers excellent email reporting, Marketo has enterprise-grade analytics perfect for complex global marketing teams.

Unique Features


One standout capability offered by SendGrid is advanced email deliverability tools to improve inbox placement. These include sender authentication like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to verify your domain and land in the inbox.

SendGrid also offers domain white labeling to brand-sent emails from your domain rather than SendGrid. Finally, dedicated IP addresses further improve trust and deliverability, essential for any serious email program.


Marketo differentiates itself with powerful account-based marketing tools for complex sales organizations. This allows coordinated messaging when multiple touchpoints across an organization interact with prospects.

Marketo also has superior demand generation, long-term data warehousing, and analytics functionalities powered by its proprietary Predictive Content algorithm. Machine learning models the entire customer journey to optimize future conversions.

Winner: Tie

Both SendGrid and Marketo have excellent unique features catered to their specialties. For email deliverability and inbox placement, SendGrid excels.

For account-based sales orchestration, transactional emails, and predictive analytics, Marketo is extremely powerful. Choosing the right platform depends on your specific needs.

3. Ease of Use


SendGrid provides an intuitive, user-friendly interface that is easy for email marketers to navigate. The dashboard allows drag-and-drop building of emails, automation workflows, and reports. Wizards guide you through setting up key functions like sign-up forms, contacts, and templates.

The interface uses clean, consistent layouts and terminologies familiar to email marketers. Getting started is straightforward even for beginners. SendGrid also has detailed help docs and tutorial videos for rapid onboarding.

Overall, while the platform scales to add more advanced capabilities at higher tiers, the core email functions remain simple and approachable for small business owners.


Marketo has a steep learning curve, especially for non-technical users. The tool provides immense marketing functionality from lead scoring to predictive analytics, but fully leveraging these features requires significant onboarding.

The interface can seem overwhelming with tabs, notifications, and dozens of cross-channel automation options. There are simply more moving pieces outside of just email. However, Marketo offers custom onboarding packages to ease implementation.

Winner: SendGrid

For quickly getting up and running with email marketing campaigns using an intuitive and user-friendly interface, SendGrid wins for ease of use.

Marketo provides top features for far greater marketing depth long-term but likely requires dedicated training time and resources to fully utilize and manage its platform.

4. Email Deliverability


SendGrid specializes in email deliverability, providing dedicated tools to improve inbox placement. This includes sender authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to verify your domain which boosts deliverability up to 100X.

SendGrid also offers domain white labeling so emails are branded from your domain rather than SendGrid. Finally, dedicated IP addresses further build the sender’s reputation critical for long-term email success.

With a global infrastructure delivering over 60 billion emails monthly, SendGrid has the scale, software, and feedback loops to optimize deliverability rates.


Email deliverability takes a backseat to Marketo’s broader feature set for multi-channel marketing campaigns. It utilizes basic authentication protocols by default but lacks some advanced tools offered by SendGrid.

While Marketo emails will generally land in the inbox thanks to their domain reputation, dedicated email marketers may desire more customization and insights available from other platforms.

Winner: SendGrid

This SendGrid Marketo Engage comparison shows that SendGrid is the winner thanks to its primary focus of email infrastructure and deliverability. The platform easily beats Marketo when it comes to specialized tools for improving inbox placement. For any business relying heavily on email marketing, SendGrid is the superior choice.

5. Customer Support and Community


SendGrid provides 24/7 customer support via live chat, email, and phone. As a large company focused solely on email delivery, it has extensive resources to resolve issues promptly. The support team is always on hand to respond to any issues promptly.

SendGrid also offers detailed self-help options like documentation, FAQs, and tutorial videos to complement one-to-one assistance. However, free community forums are limited compared to Marketo.


Marketo offers 24/5 support by phone and email for paid subscribers as well as access to its massive Marketo Nation community of over 60,000 members. This vibrant forum connects marketers to discuss best practices.

Between the community and formal customer support, the most common marketing automation issues can be resolved quickly by Marketo experts globally. Support tiers vary based on the plan selected.

Winner: Marketo

While SendGrid provides solid customer support, Marketo edges ahead with its unparalleled community forum hosting over 60,000 engaged members. For connecting with other marketers to swap ideas, strategies, and solutions, Marketo Nation stands out as tremendously valuable.

6. Integrations


SendGrid seamlessly integrates with all major email service providers like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, HubSpot, and Campaign Monitor to consolidate email delivery.

It also offers integrations with leading CRMs, analytics tools, email marketing automation software, lead management tools, landing pages, e-commerce platforms, and webinar/event management systems via APIs and plugins.

With 350+ app integrations, SendGrid fits easily into most common small business tech stacks to handle email while allowing a best-of-breed approach.


Marketo shines brightest when integrated directly with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, and Oracle as part of an enterprise CRM-driven tech stack.

It also offers native integration with marketing-focused platforms like Drift, HubSpot, Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others to unify cross-channel campaigns from ads to email, transactional email delivery, and more.

As an enterprise-scale platform, Marketo prioritizes major SaaS integrations over niche tools. But its broader scope also allows consolidation of data and insights.

Winner: Tie

SendGrid and Marketo take different approaches, but both enable easy integration with common platforms SMBs and enterprises rely on daily. SendGrid wins for email-focused integrations while Marketo is ideal for CRM and marketing stacks, making this a tie.

7. Pricing


SendGrid offers a free tier covering up to 100 emails/day and 2k contacts. Paid plans start at $15/month for 40k emails/month and 5k contacts. Volume pricing gives discounts for sending more emails.

There are also add-ons like dedicated IP addresses and domain authentication to improve deliverability. Given the email-focused specialization, most small business needs can be met fairly affordably.


Marketo pricing is customized based on lead volume, contacts, and usage. In general, plans start around $1,250/month for up to 10K contacts. Additional fees apply for add-ons like ABM, predictive content, or Salesforce integration.

As an enterprise-grade platform, Marketo offers immense marketing capabilities but at a heavy cost only feasible for large teams. A significant budget is required to leverage its automated cross-channel orchestration.

Winner: SendGrid

For small businesses on a tight budget, SendGrid easily wins based on affordable plans accommodating typical email volumes. Marketo provides far greater features yet its pricing makes the most sense for global enterprises with large marketing budgets.

8. Reviews and Reputation


SendGrid earns consistently positive reviews for its easy-to-use email functionality, deliverability tools, responsive customer support, and pricing. Users highlight intuitive drag-and-drop building, detailed analytics reporting, and scalability to handle large email volumes.

Some negatives cited relate to complexity at higher tiers and a lack of workflows/automation for advanced email nurturing. But for most core email marketing needs, SendGrid delivers solid results.

Read SendGrid user reviews on G2.


Marketo is beloved by enterprise marketing teams for its powerful automation and analytics unlocking coordinated cross-channel campaigns. Users praise its lead nurturing capabilities, predictive modeling, and integration with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

Downsides relate to a steep learning curve, fragmented interface, clunky A/B testing, and lackluster support forums. Given extensive features, Marketo reviews are resoundingly positive yet note a heavy lift to implement fully.

Read Marketo Reviews on G2.

Winner: Tie

Both platforms earn strong reviews related to their specializations – SendGrid for core email functionality and Marketo for enterprise marketing and CRM orchestration. The right solution depends on business needs and resources.

9. FAQ’s


  • Does SendGrid offer free trials?

    Yes, SendGrid has a 30-day free trial to test its Email API platform before purchasing.
  • What email deliverability guarantees does SendGrid provide?

    SendGrid guarantees your emails will land in the inbox or you receive a service credit based on their industry-leading delivery rates.
  • Does SendGrid integrate with CRMs like Salesforce?

    Yes, SendGrid offers integrations with all major CRMs like Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho, and more to sync contacts.
  • Is technical expertise needed to use SendGrid?

    No, SendGrid is designed for email marketers with easy drag-and-drop building, automation workflows, and detailed analytics.


  • Does Marketo provide onboarding assistance?

    Yes, Marketo offers customized onboarding and training programs to help implement and optimize usage of its platform.
  • What marketing channels does Marketo support?

    Marketo supports coordinated campaigns across email, mobile, web, ads, chat, social media, and more.
  • Does Marketo offer payment plans?

    Yes, Marketo allows annual subscriptions paid monthly rather than demanding full upfront payment for better budgeting flexibility.
  • Who is Marketo designed for?

    With its robust feature set, Marketo focuses on mid-market to enterprise B2B companies ready to scale marketing automation.

Final Thoughts

Choose SendGrid if…

With its sole focus on email delivery and functionality, SendGrid is the best choice for anyone wanting an intuitive way to set up professional email marketing campaigns.

If you need easy drag-and-drop editors, automation workflows based on user engagement, and detailed email analytics, SendGrid has everything covered at an affordable price.

Choose Marketo if…

For mid-market and enterprise teams ready to take a powerful automated approach to multi-channel marketing campaigns, Marketo is a juggernaut.

If you require complex lead nurturing workflows, predictive modeling, machine learning features, and deep integrations with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and other CRM platforms, Marketo is worth the heavy investment.

When choosing the right email and marketing automation platform, it’s critical to consider current business needs as well as future goals for growth.

Both SendGrid and Marketo can scale alongside businesses to meet expanding requirements over time. We urge readers to thoroughly assess all options to determine the best solution tailored to their unique situation.

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