Background Image

The Role of Intent Data in Driving Revenue, Relationship and Reputation

Matt Oakley

Matt Oakley

Global Head of Data & Analytics

Content is key to influencing hearts and minds. However, a lot of research goes into creating content that our audience wants to see, so we don’t waste their time – and we don’t waste our time either.  

Although 32% of people say they are overwhelmed by the amount of content available; the majority (44%) say they typically consume three to five pieces of content before engaging with a brand. But to wield its power, as that research suggests, you’ve got to find the sweet spot and understand what’s going to resonate with buyers. That’s where intent data comes in.  

What is intent data? 

Intent data is insight we can use to gain an understanding about the goals, desires, and interests of businesses typically gathered from an individual’s digital behavior and interactions with first- and third-party websites, apps or other digital content.  

It helps businesses understand the context behind a customer’s actions, such as their needs, preferences, and decision-making processes, so that they can tailor their marketing and sales efforts to better meet those needs and drive conversions. 

Intent data is the difference between the success and failure of a marketing and communication strategy. In fact, 70% of B2B marketers that use intent data rate their digital marketing strategy as very successful, in comparison to just 33% of non-users. 

What is B2B intent data? 

B2B businesses arguably have the most to gain from intent data. In the B2C world, customers make purchasing decisions often led by their heart as much as they are their head.  

B2B buyers tend to spend more time on research, and the sales cycle is longer. Typically, these purchases are larger in quantity, and the product has the ability to affect an entire company. 

So, there is theoretically greater opportunity to influence purchasing decisions. There is a lot of first, second and third-party data that can be collected from the different digital touchpoints that buyers make contact with on their journey to finding a solution that ticks all the boxes.  

However, whereas it’s been implemented in the B2C realm to better retarget prospective customers, B2B businesses’ gradual yet slow transition to digital marketing tactics have meant that intent data is yet to fully ‘come of age’ in the B2B world.  

How is intent data collected? 

A Demand Gen Report highlighted that 62% of B2B businesses are looking to incorporate intent data insights. While there’s a broad understanding that intent data can provide a competitive advantage, knowledge of how to collect and apply it is playing catch up.  

Intent data is typically collected through a combination of primarily online methods, including: 

  1. Web tracking: Using cookies, JavaScript, and other tracking technologies to gather data about a user’s interactions with a company’s website, including page visits, clicks, and searches.  
  1. Social media monitoring: Tracking mentions, likes, shares, and other engagement metrics on social media platforms to understand how people are talking about a brand and its products or services. 
  1. Content consumption: Tracking the consumption of content, such as white papers, e-books, webinars, and videos, to understand what topics people are interested in and what information they are seeking. 
  1. Surveys and polls: Gathering data through direct interactions with customers, such as surveys and polls, to understand their needs and preferences. 
  1. Third-party data: Purchasing data from data brokers or other sources, such as demographic data or purchase history, to supplement the information collected through the other methods. 

Once the data is collected, it is analyzed and processed to identify patterns and trends that can be used to inform marketing and sales efforts. 

So..why is intent data important? 

We’ve spoken in broad terms about the importance of intent data, but now let’s look at some of the key benefits: 

  • Improved personalization: Enhancing customer experience by providing tailored content and offers that align with their interests and goals. 
  • Better targeting: Helping brands identify potential customers who are in the market for a product or service, and to target them with relevant messaging and offers. 
  • Increased conversion rates: By understanding a customer’s needs and decision-making process, businesses can create more effective marketing and sales strategies that drive conversions. 
  • Increased customer engagement: By delivering content and offers that are relevant and valuable to the customer. 
  • Improved ROI: By making informed decisions about marketing and sales efforts, businesses can improve their return on investment in these areas. 

The application of intent data is maturing all the time. It was first looked at to help identify which accounts are likely to be in an active buy-cycle, but now marketers are taking the next step to identify what type of content to provide and message selection. 

In other words, intent data can not only be used to understand the sweet point at which to engage with a buyer or account – but how to do so in a way that is hyper-relevant and personal.  

How to leverage intent data to increase revenue and build reputation 

Intent data can be useful at all stages of the customer journey, for identifying, prospecting, converting and retaining buyers – all of which play into increasing revenue. 

First, to create a database of prospects who through their digital interactions, have shown an interest in either your brand or, more likely, the kind of solution that you offer. You can then target audiences using messages that highly resonate with their pain points and objectives. Next, identify in-market buyers early, giving sales and marketing teams the opportunity to nurture them with personalized outreach when they are more open to education and consideration. Intent data can also be used to enhance account-based marketing efforts by bringing in more quality leads and 76% of marketers saw higher ROI with ABM than any other marketing strategy.  

Beyond new customers, intent data can build on top of the experiences of existing customers to proactively identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities.  

Keeping up with the constant and rapid change of customer needs hasn’t always been straightforward. But by effectively leveraging B2B intent data, you’re giving yourself a chance to stay aligned and support buyers at the very point they’re reaching out for it – even when they’re still in the awareness/consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. However, intent data marketing can not only expedite the path to purchase for buyers, but also ensure the journey is frictionless and relatively linear.