What is Intent-Based Marketing and why is it important?

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Companies around the world are increasing the amount of data they collect. This provides a huge opportunity for B2B marketers to make marketing campaigns more effective. In marketing, data means knowledge. Marketers with access to data can make use of intent-based marketing to generate higher quality leads. So, what is intent-based marketing and why is it so important?

The definition of Intent-based marketing is directing marketing campaigns at people whose online behavior shows purchase intentions. B2B intent data shows you the products or services that your target audience is researching online. Intent-based marketing helps with making campaign decisions and making marketing more effective.

To illustrate, let’s say you are a marketer at a CRM software company. Intent data tells you that one of your target accounts is researching for your competitors such as Salesforce. With this intelligence, you can allocate more programmatic advertising budget to this account. In addition, your banner ads will say something like: “A cheaper and better alternative to Salesforce”. This will trigger people from that account to click on the banner ad.

With intent-based marketing, you can allocate more budget to a portion of your target audience who is more likely to buy. This is based on the intent data that you have. This means that the leads you generate will be of higher quality and this will improve your conversion rates.

Understanding B2B Purchase Intent to improve sales prospecting

Did you ever hand over leads to sales and then sales gave your feedback that the leads are terrible? If you’re in B2B marketing, I’m sure you can relate to this!

As marketers, it’s our job to generate leads that are high quality and are warmed up for a conversation with sales.

Salespeople are not cheap resources and the last thing you want to do is waste their time with low-quality leads. Not only will this waste their time, but it will also reduce their confidence in marketing. Commercial teams work best when they are aligned with each other.

The collaboration between sales and marketing will only improve when marketing wins the trust of sales. This can only be achieved by proving your impact on their pipeline.

Intent-based marketing significantly helps with sales prospecting. Imagine sitting down with sales and showing them the leads who are actively showing purchase intent. Your sales team will be very happy.

In marketing you have access to two primary sources of data:

  1. Internal data, so what happens on your website and your campaigns;
  2. External data, what your prospects are doing on external platforms.

Intent-based marketing is mostly focused on external data. Intent data gives your insights into what your target audience is researching on external websites. Actually, 67% of B2B buyers do internet searches before purchase products.

intent-marketaing stats

Imagine watching the computer screen of your prospects and seeing exactly what they type into Google. This would be a gold mine right?

Well, intent-based marketing is not that creepy but it does give you access to the search topics of your target audience.

The marketing and sales teams can use this to generate leads if they search for a particular topic. You can use this to place dynamic banner ads based on the research intent of an account.

You can also adjust content syndication whitepapers based on what an account is researching. This will provide a greater likelihood of your target audience downloading the content. Of course, this will result in highly targeted leads generated and will improve conversions.

Intent-based marketing will reduce marketing costs

A marketing budget is always finite. You need to make the most of the dollars you have available to you.

With intent-based marketing, you direct marketing campaigns to people who have a buying intent. This means that you minimize the money you spend on broad-based marketing.

In practice, this means that you will be able to obtain your commercial goals with less budget. The remaining budget can be directed at other marketing campaigns to overscore on your targets.

Successful B2B marketers are not satisfied with achieving their target. The goal should be to overperform and generate the most value for your company.

The cost per lead of intent-based marketing is higher than let’s say your traditional content syndication campaigns.

So why will it reduce your marketing costs?

Because the leads that you generate will be of a higher quality. Let’s say you need to generate 1000 leads to drive $100k in revenue. With targeted marketing through intent data, you might only need 500 leads to drive the same $100k.

Intent-based marketing makes campaigns more effective

Many marketers are already using a simple form of intent-based marketing. When you are selecting the keywords for Search Engine Advertising, you want certain ad groups to show when people search for certain keywords. This is a form of intent-based targeting.

This is one of the simplest forms of intent-based marketing. The next step up is through programmatic advertising. It’s a more advanced way of intent-based targeting.

Through programmatic advertising, you can place dynamic ads to people depending on the content they are reading, as an example. In addition, you can only decide to show ads if people read a certain number of articles first.

The buying intent will be higher and then it might make sense to increase your bid for the ad space. With programmatic advertising, this is all automatic and it’s really a great example of intent-based targeting.

You can only spend your money once. So if you have the option to only spend on people with a buying intent, what would you do?

Intent data and account-based marketing

Account-based marketing is a common and effective strategy for B2B companies. With ABM, your direct marketing campaigns to certain target accounts.

Using intent data in account-based marketing is so powerful! Imagine knowing exactly what topics your target accounts are researching. Perhaps they are researching your competitors or a topic related to your company.

You can now direct extremely targeted marketing campaigns to this account. Making messages highly relevant to their current research questions. The chances of generating leads and converting them are much higher than broad-based messages.

You can also use intent data to understand the business challenges your target accounts are facing. When reaching out to them, your sales can provide a solution in the initial conversation. This is huge! 

Where do I get intent marketing data from?

There are companies that analyze the digital footprints of buyers. They collect data related to the content the person is consuming online. Think about things such as:

  • Product reviews;
  • Website visits;
  • Time on pages;
  • The content topic on web pages;
  • Downloads such as whitepapers.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, those companies collect much more data about your digital footprint.

However, this is raw data; and a lot of it! This where companies start differentiating themselves.

Raw data in itself is not valuable enough for marketers like you and me. We don’t have the time to go through millions of data entries to see if we can detect a behavioral pattern.

Fortunately, there are companies that do this for us. They use algorithms to detect behavioral patterns and consolidate that data to make it useful for us marketers.

Some popular companies that do this are Zoominfo, MRP, Bombora, and TechTarget for the B2B markets. These companies provide intent marketing software. 

Intent-based marketing is the future. The data that companies will collect will only increase. The algorithms will get better so that we can make more sense of the data. Consequently, we as marketers are able to run very effective marketing campaigns.

When buyers have pain points, they are most open to having a conversation with your sales. 

Merging intent-based marketing and other digital marketing campaigns will generate high-quality B2B leads

What is intent based marketing and why is it important
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Written by:
Ricky is the founder of Markletic. He is an expert in Marketing Technology with over 10 years of experience in testing and reviewing MarTech. Ricky's passion is to help companies with fine-tuning their MarTech stack to optimally impact revenue growth.

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