Acquia buys TruCentric to boost its cred in personalized content

Acquia, which netted $50 million in new funding last week, is putting that money to use. The company, which built a range of content management system services atop open-source Drupal, is buying TruCentric, a SaaS firm specializing in real-time customer profiling.

Customer profiling/user engagement is tech speak for digging out information from a user’s past browsing history and other interactions to find what she is interested in and then targeting marketing campaigns for her. While that strikes many as creepy, it is also the holy grail for companies trying to sell products and services to the most receptive audience and leave the rest of the world alone. Acquia is just one of many companies chasing this ideal, including Adobe(s adbe) Systems’ with Marketing Cloud, crm) (with its ExactTarget-marketing cloud) and Oracle via its Vitrue acquisition. The news was announced at DrupalCon in Austin, Texas.

In an interview, Acquia CEO Tom Erickson (pictured above at left with company Founder and CTO Dries Buytaert) said, while the company started out focusing on content management, it is now pushing into this brave new world of “digital engagement” where Toronto-based TruCentric can help. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a blog post, Buytaert wrote that TruCentric complements Acquia Lift, which adds testing and personalization capabilities for Drupal sites. He wrote:

“TruCentric uses real-time and historical data to build a deeper understanding of both anonymous and authenticated visitors. Paired together with Acquia Lift, the joint solution will provide site builders and marketers a higher level understanding of a website’s visitors. This enables more effective personalization of online content with the goal to increase user engagement and marketing effectiveness.

Burlington, Mass.-based Acquia may be moving on from pure CMS to focus on marketing rivals, but it faces competition in its base turf as well. On Tuesday, Pantheon, a SaaS company which offers Drupal- and WordPress -based content management services (see disclosure), announced the Boston Herald as a new customer. The Herald had been a reference account for Acquia.

Jim Stanton, senior web developer for the paper, said Acquia helped the company transition from an “cranky, old custom-built system”  to a modern Drupal-based replacement. But now that the system is up and running, moving to Pantheon’s SaaS made sense. Stanton particularly likes the development tools from Pantheon and said the new solution is “significantly more cost effective” than its predecessor.

Disclosure: Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of Gigaom