Marketers are far from putting up billboards and running ads in newspapers.
Or do we have?
While digital marketing feels different to us, the biggest change our prospects are experiencing is a massive increase in the number of ads they are exposed to each day. Your prospects are blocked with 10,000+ ads every day (almost double what it was a decade ago), and they’re not interested in the vast majority of them.
We’ve been convinced that targeting is the best way to make sure our ads are getting in front of the right audience. However, we overlooked an important difference: targeting places our ads in front of people who we think should be interested in our solutions. not people who actually are.
So how do we find those interested who are actively looking for the products or services we offer?
Enter the following: Intention data.
Studies have shown that nearly half of B2B buyers identify a solution before ever reaching out to a seller. And we all know how they do it: they search online.
Intent data companies (like ours) collect all of the digital breadcrumbs that shoppers leave behind on their way to digital shopping, and this digital path paints a picture of which prospects are and which are not interested in your product or service.
In short, this is how intent data works.
How can you incorporate intent data into your current marketing efforts?
Here are four simple data strategies to start with today.
1. Reduce the clutter in your target account list
Just because you want accounts to be interested doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy. Intent data can help you figure out which accounts are currently most actively looking for your solution so you can spend your time promoting the right prospects without wasting time on accounts that are not ready to buy.
2. Know exactly what your prospects are researching
First party data is great, but it can leave some big gaps. For example, you may know who is visiting your website, but you may not know which of your prospects also spent the afternoon researching your competitors.
By combining your first-party data with high-quality third-party data, you get a clearer picture of your buyer’s actual journey by capturing what your prospects have been looking for all their digital journey – not just what they have done on your website.
3. Segment prospects by keyword clusters to create relevant ABM trips
Don’t rely on educated guesswork to segment your prospects. With a more holistic view of their activity on the internet, you can set up more customized ABM trips to ensure you reach the right prospects with the right message exactly when they need it most.
4. Create personalized content tailored to the current needs of your prospects
“I describe it as, ‘We can hear them sneezing and we offer them a Kleenex.'”
—Ben Howell, Head of Demand Generation and Paid Digital, Americas, Salesforce
Your prospect’s interests are not static, and their specific needs often change from week to week. Buyer intent data can help keep your content relevant so you have exactly what your customer is looking for every time.
If this all sounds overwhelming, it isn’t. Certain intent data providers can be integrated with HubSpot, Outreach, Salesforce, and other platforms you are already using today to help you personalize at scale.
Are you ready to incorporate intent data into your marketing toolbox?
Not so fast! Not all intent data are created equal.
Vendors use two main methods of collecting intent data at large, and it is important to understand the differences between the two.
1. Bidstream data
Bidstream intent data is collected indirectly.
User activity is captured by an ad pixel in an ad on a page, not the page itself. To understand the intent of the user, the intent data provider removes, for example, keywords and visitor information from the page on which the ad is displayed. and tries to put them together.
As you can imagine, this often results in inaccurate and incomplete information as it makes assumptions about the user and the page content and will only work on pages that have ad space available.
An even bigger problem with bidstream data is compliance. Because of the way the data is collected, you have no control over whether users have chosen to share their data or consented to it. If you use this data, it could lead to violations of GDPR, CCPA and other privacy regulations for users.
2. Co-op data
Unlike Bidstream Data, data collaborations consist of member sites, each signing up and agreeing to implement a tag that captures user information and content across the site (whether or not there are ads).
This means that user data is captured directly from the page, not the ad, and represents real user interaction with the website.
From a compliance point of view, data collaborations are much more secure than bidstream data, as the websites of the co-op members can obtain network-wide approval before collecting user data.
Where does your data come from?
Here are five questions to ask your prospect to make sure you’re using the best intent data available and keeping your company away from the compliance hot seat:
- Are you collecting your data from a high-quality data collaboration or are you collecting scratchy bidstream data?
- Are you limited to collecting intent data only from websites with ads?
- Is your solution fully GDPR and CCPA compliant?
- Do you rely solely on IP addresses to identify account-level activity?
- Do your data sources get your visitors’ consent before data is collected?
Get out there now and find the customers who are dying to hear from you!
Additional resources on intent data
Create an enterprise marketing strategy with B2B intent data
The Essential Intent Data Guide
How and why B2B marketers use intent data