Harnessing the full potential of intent-driven marketing, aka intent-based marketing, increases the quality of sales leads, landing-page conversion rates, and—ultimately—revenue. But businesses looking to capitalize on prospect intent data also need a solid plan to make the most of the information.
For a better understanding of intent-based marketing and how it can help tech firms grow their business, we spoke with Nick Vivion, the founder of Ghost Works, who serves as a fractional director of communications, public relations, and brand strategy for clients. Vivion describes intent-driven marketing as a prospect-centered strategy that focuses on user behaviors rather than what marketing teams think prospects want.
“Once marketers analyze data to get a precise idea of what their potential customers want, they can get ultra-specific with the groups they track,” says Vivion
Here’s an example to illustrate this point: If tracking online activity indicates a prospect is downloading white papers on how to integrate ERP and CRM systems, you can monitor that prospect as someone who is demonstrating an intent to purchase a new ERP or CRM platform, find a partner to help them with the integration, or perhaps both.
By taking this outside-in approach and thinking in terms of the prospect’s intent, you can then tailor specific messaging to them. Perhaps provide tips on how to integrate ERP and CRM. This shows them you identify with their pain points, which in turn will draw interest to your products and services.
Narrowing Your Parameters to Find Your Prospects
Narrowing your parameters helps you find the prospects most likely to purchase your products and services. According to Vivion, companies interested in an intent-based marketing strategy need to have a strong vision for a potential buyer’s journey.
“Intent-based marketing works especially well with brands that have a clear pathway for consideration,” Vivion notes. “When you have a specific route that buyers take from awareness to consideration in mind, you can leverage that knowledge to find leads. It’s about finding that inflection point where a user has clear intent for your product. This is where intent data can act as an extremely effective resource.”
Converting Your Leads
Once you identify your potential customer segment, it’s time to find those intent signals and take advantage of them. For this, Vivion draws upon an example outside of the tech industry—describing how a wellness brand offering restorative retreats applied this strategy.
The company identified several online moments that signal intent and which could be as specific as a search, such as <Find a spa near me for Saturday>, or a complex pathway that includes reading articles about retreats in Hawaii. This second moment was a clear signal to target that user with an offer for a retreat in Hawaii.
“Such targeted offers can lead to increased revenue due to the strength and suitability of the product offered,” says Vivion. “But not all pathways to consideration are straightforward. Companies need to get
creative in some circumstances to create their specific leads. For most brands, it’s actually about piecing together different pieces into a larger picture of prospect intent.”
Keep an Open Mind to Avoid Bias
Vivion advises businesses to keep an open mind when it comes to intent-driven marketing. This includes keeping prejudices out of how they formulate tactics. Implicit biases can scuttle even the most thoughtful campaigns.
There’s one simple way to ensure bias is not involved that Vivion emphasizes—test, test, and test again—test everything!
“If you think your prospects interact with specific websites immediately before purchasing products like yours, test your theory,” Vivion recommends. “If you review the purchase journeys of previous customers, look for the triggers that turned them into buyers. Testing theories weeds out an implicit bias, and once you test and identify true moments of intent, then you can replicate and amplify conversions with prospects.”
Your Marketing Team’s Best Friend
As the insights from Vivion demonstrate, intent-driven marketing has developed into a marketing team’s best friend. Data that identifies the intent of prospects based on their online activities can serve as a powerful resource for your business to refine your marketing strategy.
You can also more easily target potential customers who have demonstrated an interest in finding products or services like those that you offer, and then tailor messaging that makes sure they become aware of how you can meet their needs.