Marketing automation platform Marketo has announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Insightera, a marketing platform with a focus on real-time personalized messaging. Let’s take a deeper look:

1. The next frontier for marketing is real-time personalization of our websites.

We all spend a lot of money (I’m looking at you Adwords) and time (yes, a keyword-optimized-blog-a-day takes time) driving people to our websites.  We are inventing new ways for driving traffic to our sites, but our sites themselves have stayed static. That has to change - and will change for all of us in 2014 - as the mission for every marketer will be to make their website the company’s very best salesperson.

2. We have to be engaging with anonymous visitors.

Marketo saw the trend. Even in B2B, prospects are staying anonymous for much longer: up to 85% of the buying process happens without a visitor identifying herself. In this world, email nurture is toward the end of the funnel, not the beginning.  For Marketo to be maximally relevant in this world, they had to add real-time personalization to their suite.

3. A deep understanding of behavior is key to identifying persona and intent.

There are three aspects to any visitor's interaction with your B2B company:  their relationship (prospect, stage of funnel, account, customer or not), their persona (role, buyer, set of things in which they are interested), and their intent (just visiting/browsing, ready to buy, researching).  Understanding attributes can sometimes help with understanding the stage of relationship and some aspects of the visitor persona.  But, to deeply understand the visitor relationship, persona, and visit intent, a deep understanding and ability to respond to visitor behavior is essential.  Solutions that simply capture page visits without the ability to capture clicks and without the ability to group page-views into meaningful categories are not able to optimize conversion.

4. Marketers should be engaging in real-time throughout the customer lifecycle.

Even within B2B, the web is breaking down traditional categories.  A customer who starts as an anonymous prospect on your marketing website could become a user of your SaaS application, a visitor or logged-in user of your support portal, or a member of your customer community.  The task of any marketer should be to understand the customer throughout their lifecycle (through their purchases, behavior, form field submissions, surveys, and any personal interactions with the company) and communicate in a relevant way right in their online experience.  This requires a solution that can track behavior across anonymous users, named users and named accounts, and respond to each in real-time.

5. Marketo, suites, and best-of-breed

Ultimately, Marketo’s acquisition of Insightera is only of relevance to B2B lead generation marketers who are Marketo customers and prospects. At Evergage, we are helping companies in a broad range of vertical markets in real-time, right in the web experience:  travel, ecommerce, membership commerce, B2B lead gen, content, hosting, education, non-profits, web apps and B2B SaaS applications.

If you are a B2B lead gen marketer and are looking to choose between a solution like Evergage and Insightera, you may be wondering - is it better to buy a suite or to buy best of breed?

I’m curious how Marketo would answer:

- If the answer is that it is better to buy a suite, then shouldn’t Marketo customers seriously consider the Salesforce – ExactTarget – Pardot suite?

- If the answer is that it is better to buy best of breed, and combine a Salesforce CRM with a Marketo marketing automation solution, then for many of the same reasons  it will be better to leverage a more powerful stand-alone real-time web-personalization platform.

Evergage’s answer when it comes to something as important as increasing your online conversions and understanding and responding appropriately to your customers, is that you should buy the best solution possible, the one that is best for your company.