HubSpot vs. Mailchimp: Key Feature and Pricing Comparison
Authentic, personalized messaging is the secret ingredient in leading brands’ customer acquisition and retention strategy. The challenge is delivering the right message to the right person at the right time, and doing so at scale. A marketing automation platform (MAP) can be an indispensable tool for making it happen.
With a MAP, you can use segmentation to precisely target specific audiences, dynamically insert personalized content, and automate your campaigns to scale your business. Some platforms bundle MAPs with other solutions, like sales enablement, CRMs, content management, and customer data platforms; others focus exclusively on optimizing marketing automation.
As you evaluate MAPs, you might be considering two popular platforms: HubSpot vs. Mailchimp. This article offers an in-depth comparison of the platforms and explains why Customer.io may also be a good option for your MAP shortlist.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is HubSpot?
- What is Mailchimp?
- HubSpot vs. Mailchimp: feature comparison
- HubSpot vs. Mailchimp: pricing comparison
- Customer.io: an alternative to HubSpot and Mailchimp
- HubSpot vs. Mailchimp vs. Customer.io
What is HubSpot?
HubSpot is a CRM with a suite of complementary products (aka, the hubs), which include a MAP, a sales tool, a customer service module, a content management system, and operations software. Together, they comprise an all-in-one business management platform. HubSpot’s Marketing Hub is their messaging automation platform, which can be purchased as a stand-alone product or bundled with other hubs. HubSpot has offerings for small, midmarket, and enterprise businesses; it’s often used by software, marketing/advertising, information technology, and financial services brands. The Marketing Hub is particularly tailored to top-of-funnel marketing and lead nurturing for B2B companies.
Top HubSpot Marketing Hub features
- No-code email editor
- Dynamic email personalization
- Audience segmentation and visual workflow editor
- Event-triggered campaigns and internal notifications
- AI-assisted lead scoring and native Salesforce integration
What is Mailchimp?
Mailchimp is primarily an email marketing platform, and its feature set is narrower than HubSpot’s. In addition to a MAP, it includes a CRM and a website builder with built-in hosting, appointment scheduling, e-commerce support, and custom domains. Mailchimp’s customers tend to be nonprofits or smaller businesses in the information technology, software, academic, and marketing/advertising industries.
Top Mailchimp features
- No-code email editor
- Email template library
- Basic audience segmentation and workflow automations
- Suite of analytics tools, including Google Analytics integration
- AI tools to enhance content and messaging
HubSpot vs. Mailchimp: feature comparison
HubSpot and Mailchimp have many features in common, and both have a CRM and a MAP. HubSpot does offer more options than Mailchimp, and it has more advanced features, but it’s also significantly more expensive. Mailchimp, in addition to being more affordable, comes with a much shallower learning curve, which is welcome for smaller teams and resource-lean organizations. For many smaller organizations, Mailchimp’s feature set is more than adequate for their needs.
HubSpot allows subscribers to create static and dynamic segments (HubSpot calls them “lists”), using conditional logic if desired. Dynamic segments will automatically update when customers meet the set criteria; while static segments don’t automatically update, you can manually add and remove people. HubSpot provides 250 predefined attributes you can use to build segments, although Enterprise subscribers can use custom object properties. The number of segments you can build is capped; the Enterprise tier includes 1,500 dynamic segments and 1,500 static segments.
Mailchimp’s segmentation options are more limited, as each segment can have just five criteria. The platform provides several pre-built segments; subscribers can also build their own segments, as well as use tags to sort their audience members.
Data and integrations
HubSpot’s Data Model Overview provides a helpful high-level view of how you store and structure data. You can move data into the platform via native integrations, their API, in bulk (CSV, XLSX, XLS file), or manually. All tiers can use standard objects; Enterprise subscribers can create both custom objects and custom properties for standard objects. HubSpot’s app marketplace features over 1,000 integrations, which help expand the opportunities to ingest and leverage your data. That said, HubSpot’s data model is fairly rigid, and there are limits to events and attributes, so you may run into constraints when building highly personalized campaigns.
Mailchimp’s data model is more limited than HubSpot’s, with fewer options for moving data in and out of the platform. It features 300+ integrations to popular apps and web services like Shopify, Quickbooks, Stripe, and Yelp. The platform can accept data via integrations, CSV files, Mailchimp’s API, and manual entry.
With HubSpot, you can automate your marketing workflows, including conditional logic branching and time delays, and use events to trigger them; each trigger can be composed of up to 250 HubSpot filters. The platform provides a library of workflow templates. You can also clone an existing workflow or create one from scratch. The “minimap” feature overlays a small, high-level view of more complex workflows, making it easier to navigate them.
Mailchimp’s Customer Journey Builder also supports automated workflows. Subscribers can create up to three triggers and up to 100 actions or rules per workflow. Like HubSpot, Mailchimp offers a template library. It’s worth noting that active Mailchimp automations cannot be edited, which can make iterating on campaigns more cumbersome.
Anonymous event tracking
HubSpot tracks anonymous visitors with cookies and backfills event data if an anonymous visitor is later identified. Mailchimp does not support anonymous event tracking at all, so the only way to attribute anonymous events with known contacts is a labor-intensive manual backfill process.
A/B testing and experimentation
HubSpot offers robust A/B testing. Subscribers can vary the from email address, subject line, and message content. In some cases, you can automate A/B testing within workflows to reduce the need for manual updates. HubSpot also provides Enterprise subscribers with a sandbox to test out new ideas.
Mailchimp has A/B and multivariate testing; it also gives AI-assisted testing recommendations. You can test subject lines, message content, from email address, and send time.
While HubSpot allows cross-channel messaging, it only has native support for email and a live chat widget for websites. And while you can use the platform for transactional emails, it requires a fairly expensive add-on. That said, HubSpot’s many integrations include messaging via other channels, like SMS/MMS, in-app messaging, ringless voicemail, and direct mail. External apps are not covered in HubSpot’s pricing, so using an integration to access other channels may impact your budget.
In contrast, Mailchimp is basically a single-channel platform. It generally supports email only, although it does offer SMS for a few transactional and appointment reminder use cases.
Metrics and analytics
With multiple customizable dashboards that visualize campaign performance and custom reports you can share with stakeholders, HubSpot’s metrics and analytics tools help you understand and optimize your marketing campaigns. The suite also features customer journey analytics and multi-touch revenue attribution to help you understand how groups of marketing touchpoints drive revenue.
Mailchimp also has a simple but solid analytics offering, with dashboards, reports, surveys, and AI-assisted recommendations for improving performance.
All HubSpot subscribers can access the platform’s knowledge base, developer resources, learning community, and some areas of the HubSpot Academy. Paid plans also receive email and in-app chat, and Professional and Enterprise tiers have the option for phone support.
Mailchimp provides an AI chatbot for every tier, as well as email support for your first 30 days in the free tier. Paid subscribers receive email and 24/7 chat support, plus phone support in English on weekdays.
HubSpot vs. Mailchimp: pricing comparison
HubSpot’s pricing scheme is somewhat complex. Each product, or hub, within the suite is priced separately and includes some free services from the other hubs. The Marketing Hub has four pricing tiers:
- Free. No cost and no credit card required; includes some tools from every hub. Contacts are capped at 100.
- Starter. $20/month or $216/year, which includes 1,000 marketing contacts. Additional marketing contacts cost $18/month per 1,000, with step-down pricing for volumes above 3,000. Sends are capped at either 5,000 per month or five times your number of marketing contacts.
- Professional. $890/month or $9,600/year, which includes 2,000 marketing contacts. Additional marketing contacts cost $225/month per 5,000, with step-down pricing for volumes above 22,000. Sends are capped at either 20,000 per month or 10 times your number of marketing contacts. This tier also comes with a mandatory $3,000 professional onboarding fee.
- Enterprise. $43,200/year, which includes 10,000 marketing contacts. Additional marketing contacts are charged at $100/month for 10,000 contacts, with step-down pricing for volumes above 50,000. Sends are capped at either 200,000 per month or 20 times your number of marketing contacts. There’s a mandatory professional onboarding fee of $6,000 for this tier.
You can create bundles of two or more hubs, and every product includes HubSpot’s CRM. Total contacts are capped at 15,000,000 for all tiers. Other restrictions and limits apply at various tiers, and many capabilities (like transactional emails, dedicated IPs, and webhooks) cost extra. The features vary significantly at each tier, so it’s a good idea to study the details of each plan carefully.
Mailchimp has five pricing tiers, and each has caps with potential overages:
- Free. Limited to 500 contacts and 1,000 sends per month (or 500 sends per day). The Mailchimp logo cannot be removed from email footers.
- Essentials. $13/month for 500 contacts and 5,000 messages.
- Standard. $20/month for 500 contacts and 6,000 messages.
- Premium. Starts at $350/month with 10,000 contacts and 150,000 messages.
- Pay-as-you-go. If you send infrequently, you can buy non-refundable credits to use as needed. You cannot access Standard and Premium features (like dynamic content and send time optimization) on this plan.
Mailchimp’s pricing gets a bit more complicated when overage fees come into play. If you exceed your tier’s allowed contacts or messages, you’ll have to pay overage fees (unless you’re in the free tier, in which case your ability to send messages will be paused). The pricing for additional contacts and sends varies from tier to tier, ranging from pocket change to over $100 every month. If you have automated workflows in place and suddenly get a surge of new customers, you might find yourself with a hefty overage bill — a hindrance to companies that are scaling up. Mailchimp has also raised prices and revised message and contact caps on short notice several times in recent years, creating a hardship for smaller businesses.
Mailchimp’s feature list depends on the tier you select, just like HubSpot. For example, while all paid plans offer automated workflows, the Essentials plan only allows four rules or actions per workflow, while Standard and Premium plans allow 100.
Customer.io is an alternative to HubSpot and Mailchimp
Customer.io is a multi-product customer engagement platform comprising Customer.io Data Pipelines (the customer data platform) and Customer.io Journeys (the automated messaging platform). Customer.io Journeys is built to scale with your brand: a blank canvas ready for your unique messaging strategy. You can seamlessly include email, SMS, push, and in-app messages within a single campaign, create precise data-driven segments, and build complex automated workflows with unlimited event triggers. With Customer.io, you have the power to include hyper-personalized experiences at every step of a customer’s journey.
Top Customer.io features
- Target incredibly specific audiences with powerful segmentation, including unlimited attributes and triggers
- Leverage an exceptionally flexible data model, with custom objects and arrays with custom names and attributes, native data warehouse sync, batch updates for events or attributes, and complex nesting
- Take control of automations with a visual workflow builder where you can easily create sophisticated campaigns and multiple branches
- Integrate email, SMS, push, and in-app channels into every workflow
- Easily design on-brand emails with both a no-code email builder and native HTML coding with Parcel
- Ingest and export data with bulk uploads, direct and third-party data integrations, and Transactional and RESTful APIs
- Access top-notch customer support via chat, email, and dedicated customer success managers
- Connect first-party data to every tool in your tech stack with Customer.io Data Pipelines
Customer.io vs. HubSpot
HubSpot can be a good option for businesses that want an all-in-one solution and can tolerate a relatively steep learning curve. The downside is that all of HubSpot’s solutions might not be right for your business, which would negate any benefits of the one-stop-shop model. Customer.io , in contrast, is focused on best-in-class, easy-to-use marketing automation that gives you complete ownership and control of your data. You can easily integrate it with whichever best-in-class tools you need in your tech stack.
- Segmentation. Both platforms support segmentation, but Customer.io Journeys offers the same powerful, real-time segmentation engine at every plan tier, with no limits on segment conditions or the number of segments you can create. HubSpot has limits at every tier, and the restrictions increase as pricing goes down.
- Workflow automation. While both HubSpot and Customer.io Journeys have visual workflow builders, HubSpot limits trigger definitions for event-triggered campaigns; Customer.io Journeys does not. Many people also find the Customer.io Journeys zoom feature easier to use than HubSpot’s “mini-map” when visualizing complex workflows.
- True omnichannel marketing. Customer.io Journeys’ workflow builder makes every messaging channel easily accessible in every workflow: email, SMS, push notifications, and in-app messages. You can even automatically select a customer’s preferred channel. With HubSpot, you’ll need to purchase another app to go beyond email marketing.
- Transactional messages. With Customer.io Journeys, you can automate every type of message your brand needs to send, including both marketing and transactional emails. You can use HubSpot for transactional messages too, but there’s a catch: you’ll have to purchase an add-on.
- Simple, all-inclusive pricing. Customer.io Journeys places no caps on using your data, and every plan has clear, straightforward pricing. HubSpot’s pricing structure has multiple limits and potential overages, making it more difficult to predict what you’ll pay.
Customer.io vs. Mailchimp
Smaller organizations that only focus on email marketing (and with a fairly low volume of messages) may find Mailchimp’s straightforward functionality appealing. But its simplicity comes with a trade-off: flexibility and scalability. As your business grows, you may find your budget unexpectedly swelling or your ability to expand your messaging strategy constrained. Customer.io offers far more precise control over messaging and campaigns, with true omnichannel messaging and a data-first approach.
- Segmentation. Mailchimp does allow audience segmentation, but it’s limited, and your data is siloed in ways that make precision difficult. With Cutomer.io Journeys, you can build fine-tuned segments with no limits on criteria. It also enables manual segmentation, data-driven segmentation, and seamless cross-segment membership.
- Workflow automation. Customer.io Journeys’ easy-to-use drag-and-drop visual workflow builder can accommodate every customer journey, and it’s designed to support the entire customer lifecycle. Mailchimp does support workflow automation, but it isn’t built to handle complex workflows.
- Cross-channel messaging. With Customer.io Journeys, you’ll have access to every channel in every workflow: email, SMS, push, and in-app. Mailchimp includes email (and limited SMS) only.
- Anonymous event tracking. Mailchimp doesn’t have the capacity to match known individuals with previous anonymous activity, which means you’re left with missing data or a laborious manual process. Customer.io Journeys automatically merges each newly identified customer with their anonymous data, giving you a comprehensive picture of their behavior over the entire customer journey.
- Simple, all-inclusive pricing. Mailchimp’s pricing framework makes it difficult to predict what you’ll pay from month to month if you have automated workflows; an influx of customers could put you over your send cap without warning, leaving you with an unexpectedly large expense some months. Customer.io Journeys never limits your data usage, and our lowest-priced tier includes up to a million messages a month (way more than what’s included with MainChimp’s highest plan).
HubSpot vs. Mailchimp vs. Customer.io
Deciding which MAP best fits your marketing needs and business strategy calls for some reflection on where you are now as well as how you hope to grow in the future. The following questions may help as you weigh your options:
- Is it more important to have a unified platform that covers every business function or to have the freedom to select the best tool for every part of your tech stack?
- How much time do you want to invest in learning to use a product? And which do you value more: simplicity or flexibility?
- What messaging channels are you currently using? Given market trends, are there channels you expect to use more in the years to come?
- Does your number of contacts and monthly send volume fluctuate? Do you expect either number to grow significantly in the future?
- When you map out your workflows (or the workflows you intend to create), how complicated are they? Do you anticipate you’ll need to scale up the complexity in the future?
Customer.io was created to give you the flexibility and control you need to design a cross-channel marketing strategy that creates extraordinarily personalized experiences for your customers and makes the most out of your data. Get started with a 14-day free trial!