Cloud-based marketing provider Marketo scooped up a real time personalization platform for websites and mobile applications with its US$ 19.5 million acquisition today of Insightera. So what does this mean for Marketo and the marketing automation space?

Acquisitions Trending

For Marketo, this represents a "significant acquisition that will help Marketo deliver a better product for multi-channel behavioral marketing, which is a strategy that I have been advocating for more than a year now," said Lori Wizdo, principal analyst and marketing automation specialist for Forrester Research.

Wizdo told CMSWire the marketing automation space will continue to see acquisitions like this. We've already seen some earlier this fall and summer with Oracle, Marketo and Salesforce/Exact Target.

"There are a lot of point solutions that are necessary -- in addition to a core product like Marketo -- to automate the end-to-end lead-to-revenue process," Wizdo said. "In some cases, it's enough to have a 'plug and play' product in the partner ecosystem."

Leadspace, Wizdo said, falls into this category. However, in some cases, the functionality needs to be seamlessly integrated in real time to impact the execution of many core functions.

"The Insightera functionality falls into the latter category," Wizdo said. "Marketo's customer engagement engine is a very strong content delivery capability. It's a core part of the process. I see Insightera as improving that engine quite a bit."

Insightera gives that "engine" better navigation — by identifying which content path to take — and allows the engine to travel over more channels, not just email, Wizdo added.

'Pure Play' Marketers Need Flexibility

Marketing automation "pure play" companies — i.e. those that aren't gobbled up by a CRM vendor — will need to operate in more than a straight B2B world, Wizdo said.

"They will need to deliver value for B2C and B2B2C companies who are evolving from 'batch and blast' email to a customer engagement strategy," she said. "Although Insightera has been strongly positioned in the B2B space, the products, along with Marketo's recently announced Engagement Engine, can evolve, quickly, to a stronger B2C offering for Marketo."

Fattening Up?

Is the latest Marketo acquisition simply another way to gobble up someone to better compete with the big fishes in this space?

"I don't see it that way," Wizdo said. "I think this is an acquisition driven by a vision, not to increase critical mass or confuse the market with a features war. But, I think the vision is, in part, inspired by the desire to compete better with the big vendors." 

In a statement, Phil Fernandez, president and CEO of Marketo, said the acquisition advances Marketo's vision to "unify disparate channels and create timely, individualized relationships."

This acquisition, Marketo told CMSWire today in an email, is the next stage of the marketing first journey and makes available an increasingly unique 1-on-1 dialogue with existing and prospective customers. Marketo is approaching 500 employees, and this acquisition will put it right around that number.

"We are continuing to look at the market to identify opportunities to expand the breadth of our marketing platform and to bring more innovation to our customers," a company spokesperson told us when asked about future acquisitions.