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HubSpot Vs. Inbound Marketing Agency: What’s the Difference?

For some, the difference between a marketing software/platform provider such as HubSpot and an inbound marketing agency like Bluleadz is obvious. However, there are many who don’t know the difference between the two.

In recent months, the sales team at Bluleadz have come across some prospects who have been confused as to what services inbound marketing agencies like our own provide and what HubSpot itself does.

This confusion is easy to understand since many inbound marketing agencies actively partner with HubSpot and work with HubSpot users. While many inbound agencies do work closely with HubSpot, there are many distinct differences between the two.

So, to clear the air, here are a few of the key differences between HubSpot and an inbound marketing agency like Bluleadz:


1: HubSpot Provides Tools, Agencies Use Those Tools to Provide Service

HubSpot_Tools.jpgHubSpot is, at its core, a software and service platform that gives users a suite of tools that make it easier to perform key inbound marketing tasks. The platform comes with different levels of service and accessibility, from the basic platform that provides just a few core functions for content creation & optimization, to the enterprise package that includes A/B testing for CTAs & emails among many other advanced services.

While HubSpot gives you access to these tools, they don’t typically take any responsibility for actually using them to improve your marketing. That’s left up to you and/or your inbound marketing agency. Inbound marketing agencies take these tools and actively use them to help drive traffic and leads to your company site.

Using an inbound marketing agency for marketing is kind of like going to an independent mechanic for services to your car. A manufacturer might make the part, but it’s the mechanic who takes that part and uses it to fix your car.

2: HubSpot Fees and Inbound Marketing Agency Fees Are Billed Separately


While many inbound marketing agencies are HubSpot partners and specialize in using the HubSpot platform, they rarely directly sell the HubSpot service under their own inbound marketing contract.

There are a few reasons for this. One of the biggest reasons is that HubSpot’s marketing software is billed on an annual basis. Inbound marketing is a “long-run” form of marketing that rewards patient and consistent effort. As HubSpot notes, “customers who can commit to a full year of using HubSpot will be more successful inbound marketers in the long run.”

Additionally, HubSpot has a fee on top of the service fee for new customers to cover the costs of training (including classroom training), onboarding, and consulting new customers so they’re familiar with the software.

So, when looking for inbound marketing services from an agency, it’s important to keep in mind that the costs for the agency’s services will be separate from the cost of access to the HubSpot platform.

Note: different marketing agencies will have different billing models, so be sure to check with the agency for details before signing!

3: Agencies Can Work Independently of the HubSpot Platform

While many inbound marketing agencies, especially ones that are tiered HubSpot partners, prefer to work with the HubSpot software, most can work with other website hosting, customer relationship management, and content management platforms as well (which is another reason such agencies bill their services separately from HubSpot).

HubSpot conveniently collects tools for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), marketing, and sales under one umbrella. This makes it easy to manage core inbound marketing functions such as managing contact lists and tracking the results of your marketing campaigns.

However, there are countless other software and platform providers that can deliver many of the same services.

Just be aware that if you do use disparate software/platform providers for managing contacts, marketing automation, content management, and other needs, it will likely complicate the process of managing your inbound marketing. This, in turn, can lead to increased costs for managing your inbound marketing.

Long Story Short, or TL; DR

Basically, HubSpot and inbound marketing agencies are two separate entities with different roles and responsibilities.

HubSpot provides a platform and software for managing your marketing, customer relations, and sales—but doesn’t usually do things like make content or manage your contacts list for you.

Inbound marketing agencies actually provide service and expertise for things like website design, SEO, content creation, and contact/lead management.

To go back to the mechanic analogy from earlier, the manufacturer (HubSpot) might make the car you drive, but it’s the mechanic (inbound marketing agency) who adds the engine and body mods that make it run and look better.

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Douglas Phillips

Douglas Phillips

Former military brat, graduated from Leilehua High School in Wahiawa, Hawaii in 2001. After earning my Bachelor's in English/Professional Writing, took on a job as a writer here at Bluleadz.