Hubspot CMS is interesting, but at what price?

Hubspot CMS is interesting, but at what price?

May 11, 2020

Several weeks ago, HubSpot announced it’s newest CMS — CMS Hub. CMS Hub seeks to take "the pain out of website management," and attempts to let you focus on the experience you’re providing your B2B customers.

From a ten-thousand-foot view, HubSpot CMS Hub does many things that will be attractive to a non-technical B2B marketing user: It has a theming system so that users can easily change common elements across their sites. It sports a nifty drag-and-drop interface that allows for rapid page building against an existing template. Most importantly, it is built to tie directly into your marketing streams with robust prospect tracking and personalization based on user behavior and data. This is all great.

But if you are a site developer, you already know what we're going to say: Like most low-code/no-code web CMS systems, doing anything beyond the delivered off-the-shelf functionalities is going to be akin to tying your shoes with your elbows. HubSpot did not design this CMS with you in mind. In fact, to even get into the internals, you must learn their own language that just works on their platform, HubL (what?). Further, the system uses the HubSpot internal database, so there is no direct access to your underlying data. This would make even simple integrations with other platforms a nightmare to take on.

The fact is, there are other CMS platforms that offer most, if not all, of the functionalities that HubSpot CMS Hub is offering. The marketing integration is nice, but it can be largely accomplished by other integrations. The challenge for this offering is that it is trying to provide a one-size-fits-all monolith for marketing and sales operations. This, I am sure, is attractive in principle to many non-technical marketers that imagine themselves sitting down in front of a monitor and cranking out the next iteration of their site. But what they will find is that as soon as they try to do any sort of custom functionalities-like a dealer/store locator, for instance-they will be suddenly stymied as they realize that their new, very expensive CMS does what it does and not much more.

Finally, as I alluded to above, the final nail in the coffin of this offering is price. At the low end, the price seems reasonable at $50 per month. However, in my humble opinion, they would have been better positioned to offer this service level as they do their entry level of CRM: Free. The entry level “Starter” package is, like the entry level “free” CRM package, so limited that there is really no point in working with it. And the next level up, “Pro” starts at a whopping $800 per month with an onboarding fee of $3,000. So, your first year on the platform will likely set you back over $12,600. All this for a CMS that really doesn't what you need it to do beyond static-though personalized-content pages.

So let me give you a little sound advice: Set up a WordPress site, install a decent page builder, and integrate with your existing HubSpot instance. Long term, you will be much happier-and have a much thicker wallet.

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