What are HubSpot marketing contacts?

In over simplified terms, marketing contacts are the people you’re paying to email in HubSpot. You can have hundreds of thousands of contacts in your CRM, but you'll only pay for—and be able to market to—those specifically designated as marketing contacts

This is great news for companies who like to store historical data, but if you don't pay attention to how many marketing contacts you’re using it can turn into a costly mistake.

Why? Let's use Marketing Hub Professional as an example with its base contact tier of 2,000 marketing contacts. Should you exceed 2,000 marketing contacts, HubSpot will automatically increase your level by increments of 5,000 contacts at a cost of about $225 per month per increment. This cannot be reduced even if you drop below 2,000 marketing contacts at a later date. (So if you accidentally assign marketing contact status to 2,001 contacts, you are now paying for 7,000.)

Marketing contact status can be assigned to anyone at any time, even if you’ve revoked it in the past. But you can only remove the status on the first of every month, which is when HubSpot evaluates your marketing contact usage! (So no, you can't cheat the system by immediately marking someone as a non-marketing contact after you've sent that newsletter!)

How to remove marketing contact status

You can manually assign and remove marketing contact status, but that's a pain in the butt. Instead, use those automation tools you're already paying for!

To monitor costs and contact engagement, consider automatically removing marketing contact status every month from folks you don’t want to pay to email. Using a workflow, enroll contacts that:

  • have a negative lead score
  • are “bad” aka have bounced, unsubscribed, are unengaged or have an invalid email

You can also consider removing contacts with traits you find undesirable based on your ideal buyer persona:

  • has fewer than X employees
  • makes less than $X annually
  • located outside of your target market
  • in an industry or job title you’re not targeting
  • email domain has a generic domain, .edu, or .gov
  • email domain indicates they’re a competitor

Since there’s no limit to the number of non-marketing contacts you can have in HubSpot’s CRM, there’s no harm in keeping contacts that aren’t perfect (yet). After all, if you delete them, they could just get re-added later. And if you unsubscribe them, they can only get opted back in with a written request from the contact to HubSpot Support.

How to assign marketing contact status

We don’t recommend assigning marketing contact status upon import, automatically through integrated apps or via bulk update. That's a sure-fire way to exceed your contact limit and get hit with an unexpected bill.

Instead, make assigning marketing contact status the first step in any email-sending workflow.

This will ensure that only the contacts you’re targeting are awarded the status. It will also force you to think critically about how your audience is segmented and how accurately you’re targeting them with your messaging.


Remember, we are NOT proposing that you delete contacts you don't want to market to, since that could change in the future and keeping historical data is always a good idea. You just shouldn’t pay to email people who aren’t likely to convert.

How to manage marketing contacts in HubSpot