Intent marketing is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on identifying and targeting potential customers based on their demonstrated intent or interest in a specific product, service, or topic. It involves analyzing user behaviors, such as search queries, website visits, or social media interactions, to understand their intent or purchase readiness. Marketers can use this intent data to deliver highly targeted and personalized content, ads, or offers to engage and convert these potential customers. Intent marketing makes it possible to reach users at the right moment when they are most likely to make a purchase decision.
Below are some step-by-step actions you can take to effectively harness your intent data:
Step 1: Identify Your Data Sources
In order to anticipate the right offer or piece of content to accelerate conversion, marketers need to understand what intent data is available and how they can best use this information to create personalized customer experiences that meet their business goals. The first step is to identify the sources of intent data that are relevant to your business. These sources may include website analytics, consumed content analysis, social media monitoring, third-party data providers, purchase history, existing customer data, and more.
Step 2: Define and Align Your Business Goals
This step involves evaluating the data sources and the information that can be obtained and aligning it with your business goals. Determine what specific marketing or sales goals you want to achieve with intent data. For example, let’s say that your marketing department has a goal to increase lead generation by 15% year-over-year. Continuing to promote the same outbound content and campaigns is only going to get you so far. Using intent markers, you can anticipate the moment when customers are most likely to purchase. Listening for intent behaviors such as specific search engine terms or visiting high-value web pages, you can then target those identified contacts with a special offer, free trial, or your “hook piece” of content via email campaigns and ads designed to drive lead generation. Other possible goals may be increasing conversion rates, optimizing ad targeting for a certain potential customer audience, or retargeting existing customers with new or augmented offers.
Step 3: Data Integration
As we all know, our marketing is only as good as the data we have to inform it. It is important to integrate intent data into your existing customer relationship management (CRM) system or marketing automation platform (MAP). This ensures that you can effectively use the data in your campaigns. Taking it a step further, many companies are expanding their integration into a Customer Data Platform (CDP) where they are able to marry purchase history, behavior attributes and demographic indicators in real time to identify targeted audiences when their propensity to purchase is at its peak. Engage with your IT and Operations teams, identify the data points you need, what you’re missing in your CRM, MAP or CDP,, and formulate a plan to add the data to your integration syncs.
Step 4: Segment and Personalize
Next, work on segmenting your audience based on their intent signals. This allows you to tailor your messaging and offers to specific groups of potential customers who are showing similar interests or behaviors. Once you’ve identified your segments, create personalized content and messaging that aligns with the intent signals of those target audiences. This should include customized email campaigns, website content, and ad creatives that are aligned with your business goals that you identified in Step 2.
Step 5: A New Way to Think About Lead Scoring
Lead scoring has been around for quite a while, and marketers are adept at using it to identify the right demographic fit as well as overall activity/engagement fit during a defined timeframe. Take the next step and think about using intent data to prioritize leads. Hone in on those intent markers that are most likely to indicate a propensity to buy and assign a lead score based on the level of interest and engagement they have demonstrated. This will allow your sales team to focus on the most promising prospects and tailor their outreach efforts.
Step 6: Utilize Predictive Analytics
With any intent marketing effort, it is important to consider implementing predictive analytics models to forecast future intent. There are a number of platforms such as Oracle Unity, Treasure Data or Twilio Segment in the marketplace that can pull data from a range of sources, such as customer profiles and sales data, and then use data modeling, machine learning, data mining, and artificial intelligence (AI) along with historical information to predict who will purchase what, and when. This can help you anticipate customer needs and plan your marketing strategies accordingly.
And it almost goes without saying that you need to continuously monitor intent data in real-time. Trends and interests can change rapidly, so staying updated is crucial for timely marketing actions.
Step 6A: Are you B2B? Think about ABM
For B2B marketers, consider using intent data for account-based marketing (ABM). All of the same intent data you gather to identify an engaged person can be rolled up to the account level to identify target accounts that are showing strong intent signals. Instead of focusing just on individual buyers, use the aggregated account signals to understand the overall business need and tailor your outreach to them.
Step 7: Test & Optimize
Testing different marketing strategies and messages based on intent data insights is important to understand what works for your business and your audience. Not connecting with email campaigns? Try targeted ad placements instead. Once you have honed in on the marketing channel mix, continue to measure the effectiveness of these strategies and refine your approach over time. Ask for feedback from your sales and marketing teams on the quality and relevance of the intent data you are using and use this feedback to refine your data sources and strategies. The goal is to continuously optimize your intent data-driven campaigns by analyzing performance metrics and adjusting your tactics based on what works best.
Harnessing intent data can be a powerful tool for your marketing and sales efforts. Doing it effectively requires a data-driven approach, a deep understanding of your audience, and the ability to adapt your marketing and sales strategies in real-time. It can be a valuable asset in gaining a competitive edge in today’s data-driven marketing landscape.
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