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8
minute read
October 2, 2019

Intent-Based Marketing Strategy: How it Can Help Your Business

Written by
David Scott

Intent marketing is growing in popularity, and for good reason.

According to The Drum it’s the next wave of marketing.

If you want to grow your pipeline with qualified leads searching for solutions like yours, then you’re going to want to learn about intent marketing. What is Intent Marketing? It is the way to capitalize your potential customers’ intent to purchase your solution based on criteria that indicate they are becoming purchase-ready.

B2B buyers do 12 different searches before engaging with any vendors. If you had the power to know when a company started their buying journey you’d be in a great spot to engage with them.

Intent Based Marketing
B2B Buyers spend significant time researching before engaging with vendors

You can determine how purchase-ready someone is by using buyer intent data. It’s particularly useful if you’re using ABM to target key accounts and want a high close rate.

What Types of Intent Data Are Used in Intent Marketing?

When talking about intent marketing, we need to understand where the term comes from.

Intent data is the source of truth for any intent-based marketing strategy. You can uncover first-party intent data from your own marketing automation tools and lead scoring processes. If a lead is engaging with your site and content, you'll be able to judge their intent looking at your user analytics.

You can also use third-party intent data, which is data sourced by external vendors who can provide you with it. Internal Results is an example of an intent data provider. Third-party data includes all offsite interactions. It's usually collected through data sharing by publisher networks.

If you’d like to learn more about first and third-party intent data, check out our guide to them both here.

Why is Intent Marketing Growing in Popularity?

According to research by Forrester, 74% of firms say they want to be “data-driven”, but only 29% say they are good at connecting analytics to action.

Businesses see the opportunity that data gives them. That’s leading to marketing and sales teams constantly searching for data that will make their lives easier, and help them close more deals.

Intent marketing means that companies are looking at intent data to uncover new sales opportunities that they previously wouldn’t have been able to find.

It shows marketers a range of factors and buying signals to determine whether an account is worth targeting (or not).

What are the Benefits of Intent Marketing?

1. Stop Marketing to “The Average” Buyer

Buyers respond to brands that meet their needs. Your ideal customer should be clearly defined, and you should know what their pain points are and be on a mission to solve them.

When you know enough about your customers you can start to answer their questions in your website content, and during sales calls.

However, most marketing teams are marketing to ‘the average’ buyer. They don't know what their buyer is searching for before they find their solution, and can only rely on onsite analytics to gather insights.

If you’re following a marketing strategy that incorporates intent data you’ll know what target accounts are researching and asking before they find your business. Then, you can focus on answering their questions with your targeted ads and outreach campaigns.

When you understand intent marketing you can focus on the right leads, at the right time.

2. Discover Hidden Opportunities

When starting a new outreach campaign or a new ABM program, you’ll begin by defining your target accounts.

Your target accounts will be based on criteria such as industry, company size, technographics, and other key indicators that they’re a good fit.

The problem here is that you risk missing companies who are in their buying cycle but not included in your lead list.

Intent marketing means you can start to add leads to your campaigns that you know are in their buying cycle.

If you know that companies are actively looking to solve a problem that you can help with, your team will have a far easier time engaging with them and closing new business.

3. Improve the Purchase Experience for Customers

Information asymmetry between sales reps and buyers is a common problem. It causes the purchase experience to become disjointed and potentially confusing for buyers.

Intent data enables your team to find what problems leads are looking to solve and discover what kind of content they’re looking at to answer their questions. Then, you can personalize your sales process to their exact needs.

Emotion major influence on purchase decisions and if you can be the first vendor to reach out to a lead and can answer their questions, you’ll be in a prime position.

If you can use intent marketing to provide a better buying experience for your potential customers you’ll have a competitive advantage.

4. Optimize Marketing Resources

Intent marketing means you’ll have far more insight into your leads’ buying journey.

Intent data solutions like Internal Results can help you discover what type of content your prospects are researching around the web, and use that to inform your marketing strategy.

For example, if you identify buyer intent keywords that you aren’t answering, or find common questions that you should be answering on your landing page, you can update your content strategy to address those.

Intent Marketing
Discover the types of keywords your buyers are using to research your solution

If you identify companies actively researching who you didn’t know about previously, you can add them to your existing ABM campaigns to give your team a good chance of closing them.

Challenges to Intent Marketing

1. Access to Quality Data

Many organizations struggle with intent marketing due to a lack of quality data.

Your onsite data collection and lead scoring will need to be set up perfectly if you want to identify buying signals as early as possible.

Even if you have a sales funnel setup, you’ll still only see buyer intent once they’ve interacted with your content.

Working with an intent data provider is the ideal way to access intent data, but can be costly if you choose the wrong provider. If you want to learn more about working with Internal Results, get in touch with us here.

2. Combining Intent Data with Existing Data

Another barrier to success is the ability to combine intent data with your existing lead scoring systems.

The more data sources you have, the more complicated it can be to organize your data.

To simplify the process you can use Internal Results to build out ABM campaigns based on buyer intent, as well as assess the buyer intent that your existing leads are displaying.

Applying Intent Data to Account-Based Marketing campaigns

Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the best ways to target larger accounts. You can build buy-in from decision-makers across an organization and make closing deals more straightforward with a coherent ABM strategy.

Now, thanks to intent marketing, you can combine your ABM with automation and machine learning to more effectively target accounts that are showing high purchase intent signals.

Within your ABM strategy, you’ll be able to prioritize accounts based on their purchase intent, and used behavior-based marketing insights to provide leads with the most useful content for them, when they want it.

By applying buyer intent data to your ABM, you can transform your results and use resources in your ABM campaigns far more effectively.

Using Intent-Based Ad Targeting

Intent marketing is all about optimizing your resources and reaching people at the right time.

That can be a major pain point when advertising to cold audiences - you never know if you’re targeting someone at the right moment.

However, intent-based ad targeting changes that.

Rather than targeting retrospectively (i.e. “this type of targeting worked in the past, so it should work in the future”) you can target by intent. This means your ads will be shown to people displaying signs of purchase intent.

Intent-Based Ads
Target buyers actively researching products and solutions with Google Ads

This could be based on the types of content they read, videos they watch, and vendor websites they visit.

Either way, research found that YouTube campaigns using intent-based targeting have a 50% higher brand awareness lift compared to campaigns using traditional demographic targeting.

Intent-based ad targeting is an amazing way to laser focus your ads, and ensure that decision-makers within target accounts are targeted at the right time, with the right message.

Using Internal Results’ to Fuel an Intent-Based Marketing Strategy

Incorporating intent into your marketing will give you a whole new way to discover and engage with leads.

Internal Results can provide you with intent data that will help you grow your lead pipeline and optimize your sales and marketing efforts.

With intent data, you can start to channel resources towards leads that are displaying purchase-ready behavior and personalize your communications with them to the fullest extent.

If you’re ready to start using intent data in your marketing, get in touch with us here.

Wrapping Up

Intent marketing is a powerful way to approach B2B marketing. You’ll have access to data and insights to help optimize your team’s effort and resources.

Intent data can be applied to ads, as well as your content, to improve targeting and increase conversions from your ABM campaigns.

If you’re ready to start using an intent-based approach to your marketing and sales, we can help. Schedule a time to talk with our team of intent experts here.

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