Intent Data Paves the Way for Marketing Innovation

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Today’s marketing strategies involve accumulating, analyzing, and leveraging many kinds of data. Intent data is a crucial data type that looks to play a more significant role now and in the future. Here’s what you need to know about this source of information and how to use it to boost marketing outcomes.


The Basics of Intent Data

As the name suggests, intent data provides a snapshot of users’ intentions as they interact with content online. It mostly comes from either first- or third-party sources, i.e., gathered directly by a brand monitoring user activity on their website/ social media/etc., or by a third party providing a broader overview of users’ online behavior, searches, and so on.

Intent data comprises various elements of a user’s online activity, including web activity, clicks, time spent on a page, social media engagement, putting items into carts, and more. Depending on the data source and the marketing research requirements, it may focus on how a user interacts with a specific brand or paint a picture of a user’s general behavior, as in, what they’re searching for and interacting with.

The key to gathering intent data is asking two questions: is a user likely to buy a particular product or service, and how likely are they to take that action?


Types of Intent Data

Several key types of intent data can help marketers achieve goals, from improving inbound marketing to focusing on high-value accounts, personalizing marketing techniques, and more. Researchers at Gartner separated the most common intent data uses into four categories.

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Search intent data interprets users’ requirements based on queries entered into a search engine. SEO marketing is a common way to leverage this kind of data. You can use this to direct more traffic to your brand by researching keywords common among your target audience, running ads targeting those keywords, and producing content that answers those queries.

Engagement data is usually collected through social media sites and email marketing, focusing on the connection between frequency and intensity of user engagement and how those relate to purchasing behavior. This data can indicate which users are the most engaged and, thus, the best prospects for targeted content and which content leads to the most engagement. Engagement on emails, such as open rates and click-throughs, can give you a starting point to segment your audience and follow up with targeted marketing, while social media engagement data can lead marketers to place targeted ads for users on those very same platforms.

Firmographic data is primarily used to better understand B2B prospects. Usually gathered through third-party research like business directories and subscription services, it comprises key information about a firm’s revenue, size, and activities. By using this information to research companies in your target market, you can then segment your prospective audiences and create more content tailored to specific industries, locations, company sizes, and other factors that could determine a likely success.

Technographic data – mostly significant in the B2B arena – focuses on understanding the technological capabilities of prospects. It’s particularly relevant for brands that sell tech-related solutions, giving them the ability to better see what prospects’ needs are and how to craft content that addresses it. This information can be gathered through scraping techniques, as well as through direct questioning like surveys.


How to Leverage Intent Data

Once you’ve determined which type(s) of intent data are best suited for your purposes and then collected it, the next step is to figure out the most effective ways to utilize that data. Intent data can tie in with several common marketing strategies, including:

  • Lead Scoring: Match intent data to your ideal customer profile, score high-intent leads, and target them with relevant content.
  • Tailored Marketing: Segment and deliver tailored content to high-intent leads based on the content they already seek out and/or engage with.
  • Upselling and Cross-Selling: Review intent data to see where customers are indicating interest or intent in a new product or service and target them with information about it.
  • Reducing Churn: Monitor intent data – especially engagement data – to segment and target clients most at risk for churn.
  • Keeping an Eye on Competition: Don’t just track prospective clients – track your competition’s activity to see where they’re succeeding, perhaps by filling gaps you’ve left open.

Intent data paired with predictive analytics can identify the buyer personas and demographics most likely to provide long-term revenue growth. In turn, these techniques can help marketers more accurately target high-intent leads and improve marketing ROI overall.

Predictive analytics and intent data can also work together in other ways. Sophisticated data analytics can compare the datasets generated by your research and predict the segments most likely to convert, while look-alike models can target high-intent prospects demographically like your ideal customers, leading to higher conversions. Intent data is also critical for customer recency, frequency, and monetary (RFM) analysis, allowing for more accurate content targeting to the customers most likely to convert and/or return.

With intent data and analytics to guide your strategy development, your marketing team can create more personalized communications at more points in the customer journey, leading to higher success rates.

At the heart of intent data is the same concept that underlines all marketing strategies: understanding what people need and delivering it to them. With the thoughtful use of intent data, your brand can better determine where to meet your customers and what will be most compelling to them, leading to greater success for you and greater satisfaction for your customers.