The marketing industry (like the IT industry) is in a continual state of change. Marketing and technology are like two peas in a pod these days. If you are marketing anything to buyers, you need data to do it well, and technology enables the delivery of this data. Many times, advances in technology bring about these changes; and for some companies, these changes help them grow. At Bit-Wizards, we are a long-time Kentico Gold Partner. As our client needs have expanded to include more digital marketing services, our team has adopted tools that aid in delivering the highest possible quality digital marketing services. As part of our technology growth and change, we entered into a Gold partnership with HubSpot to expand our digital marketing service offering.
Some of our customers need to use both Kentico and HubSpot for their project. And then some of our customers’ goals require the use of only one of the two. This blog dives into the reasons our customers use these two different yet similar tools, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to optimize the use of both in a successful way for your business.
To begin, let’s dive into how we use Kentico and HubSpot together referencing the Bit-Wizards website as an example. At Bit-Wizards, we use Kentico for our base Content Management System alongside HubSpot for both our customer relationship management software (CRM) and marketing engine. For us and several of our customers, this is a successful marriage of these two excellent platforms. To understand better how to choose between or marry these tools, you must understand their strengths.
Kentico is extremely flexible from an integration standpoint; this makes the foundation of their tool (Content Management System) incredibly versitile. Kentico is a fully integrated ASP.NET CMS, E-commerce, and Online Marketing platform that allows marketers to build websites and optimize digital experiences fully across multiple channels.
Web Content Management – Out-of-the box, Kentico is proven to integrate with almost any back-end system.
E-commerce – Allows your global online retail presence to align with your brand and integrates seamlessly with external systems, easy ways for consumers to pay, and supports multiple languages and currencies.
Intranet & Collaboration – Building out an integration with SharePoint or other custom back-end systems to deliver a customer or employee facing portal is simple with Kentico’s highly flexible intranet platform.
Bit-Wizards integrates Kentico with a variety of backend systems for our customers. Since 2009, we have worked with customers to connect financial and ERP systems to custom-built databases and portals of all kinds. And since Kentico is built on Microsoft .NET, it allows our team to develop integrated websites that connect essential data points for any business looking to improve processes and visibility into their business systems.
Some excellent examples of case studies for our Kentico integration projects:
Magnolia Home E-commerce Website and Integration
Shaw Integrated Solutions: B2B E-commerce Web Portal Integration
HubSpot is a powerful marketing platform, and it offers far more functionality than other solutions on the market today. HubSpot allows marketers to get their job done and empowers sales and marketing teams with data that provides alignment and the ability to meet business goals.
Free Customer Relationship Management Software – What? Free? Yes, I said free! Of course, there are limits to the functionality for the free CRM, but WOW! It’s still free to get started. I have used other CRM software, and this one is top notch. We use HubSpot Sales Pro here at Bit-Wizards. This tool is the perfect connector between our Sales and Marketing Teams. Once marketing passes over a qualified lead to our sales team using workflows our sales team begins to engage using warm emails and calls. The beauty of the HubSpot CRM is the contact record. Everyone can see all activity on a record from original contact through each marketing and sales touch all the way to the close of a deal.
Landing Page & Email Build Out – One word comes to mind here: FAST! Build it fast and GSD (get $#!t done). HubSpot is a marketer’s dream when it comes to building out emails and landing pages. They have taken “drag-and-drop” and simple SEO optimization to an entirely new level.
Campaign Management, Analytics, and Reporting – HubSpot allows you to connect all your data points including: Google Analytics, social ad accounts (Facebook, Google Ads, and yes, even LinkedIn) to social media accounts, blogs, and landing pages. The HubSpot campaign functionality brings all this data together to create a complete picture of your marketing efforts. The reporting tools in HubSpot have been growing in functionality since their launch. And since Inbound 2018, I have seen a dramatic increase in the marketer’s ability to close the ROI loop for the customer journey. Recently, the most impactful update is cross-object reporting and the ability to build custom object reports for contacts and deals. Most marketers need to show that the tactics they employ are having a positive ROI. With some effort, HubSpot’s reporting enables marketers to draw those straight lines from the beginning of the customer journey (lead) to the point when they purchase.
To understand the differences in integration types for Kentico and HubSpot, you must first understand the basic definition of the words system integration.
For Engineering: The process of bringing together the component sub-systems into one system (an aggregation of subsystems cooperating so that the system is able to deliver the overarching functionality) and ensuring that the subsystems function together as a system.
For Information Technology: The process of linking together different computing systems and software applications physically or functionally.
The first definition according to an engineer: Bringing together “component sub-systems” into one system and ensuring that the system can function together as one system.
The second definition according to IT teams (clearly different than software engineers): The process of “linking” different systems either physically or functionally.
The critical difference between those two definitions is that the phrase “function together as one system.” And although many SaaS applications (like HubSpot) allow for integrations, developers must still adhere to the components that the platform provides to enable them to build the integrations. These more limiting options mean there are fewer integration opportunities available than when a developer integrates with a purely ASP.NET application like Kentico.
Neither. Outside of the obvious features and functionality available for each tool, the integration flexibility is the main difference between these two platforms. These are the differences:
Integration with Kentico CMS - Developers can integrate anything with complete control over both the Kentico website and the application or database with which you are integrating.
Integration with HubSpot CMS - Developers are reliant on the options available for integration that HubSpot provides. They cannot pick and choose what they want to integrate with and how; they must conform to what HubSpot’s API allows. Although HubSpot is expanding rapidly, there are limitations that must be considered when choosing what to integrate and where.
The answer to this question really comes down to what are you trying to accomplish and what are your business goals and needs?
As usual, the answer comes down to: What is your business goal?
You need a deep integration that brings your website and another business systems together seamlessly into one and provides highly specific functionality. In this case, Kentico may be the right choice.
You may need to feed a simple data stream from a database or well-known web app into your website, which might mean that HubSpot is right for your project.
You may need both! If you have a robust website (which may already be built on Kentico) and you need a powerful marketing platform to launch your product or service to the next level with your customer base—Kentico and HubSpot together may fit your needs perfectly!
Understanding your business needs and the data your stakeholders require to make decisions and market properly will help you determine if you need two systems or just one and which one.
Bit-Wizards has years of experience integrating systems of every kind. Our team has the experience to know when HubSpot is the right solution, but we also know when to advise the use of a more extensible platform built on ASP.NET technology, like Kentico. Let us know if we can help you make that decision.
Director of Digital Marketing
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