Marketo’s $20M buy of Insightera shows marketing automation software land grab continues

Marketo(s mkto), which went public last April, just bought Insightera, an Israeli company specializing in website customization, for a reported $20 million in stock and cash — $6 million of which was reportedly cash.

The acquisition should help marketers ensure that consumers get a personalized view of a given website by pairing Marketo’s own behavioral data with what a spokesman called Insightera’s “content science.” Insightera identifies site visitors and tailors their online and mobile experiences based on what it knows about them so that two people hitting the same site see different things. The idea is if folks get content targeted to their wants and needs they’re more apt to buy. (Or in my case, get creeped out and leave the site immediately.)

Insightera competes with Demandbase, which is a Marketo partner, although a Demandbase spokeswoman said Demandbase “goes beyond” Insightera’s targeting and personalization capabilities.  Hmm.

Last year there was a flurry of marketing automation action with buying ExactTarget for a whopping $2.5 billion. That deal came six months after Oracle dropped $871 million on Eloqua, another marketing automation player. Adobe Systems made its presence felt with its $600 million buy of Neolane in July.

Much of this free-for-all is driven by the notion that marketing execs at companies of all types are getting a much bigger piece of the company’s budget to make things happen. And as we all know, smart tech vendors follow the money. Whether chief marketing officers really do (or should) have more control over IT spending remains a different, but related question.