Intent data, in today’s tough times, is playing a key role in helping B2B marketers get an insight into the wants of their possible clients. Capitalizing this data, the marketers are able to craft the best marketing campaigns that promise to meet the clients’ needs. With digital marketing in the scenario, it doesn’t take too long for marketing strategies to become obsolete even before they yield any success. But, with the use of intent data, marketers can stay one step ahead by understanding the buying behaviour of prospective clients.

What is Intent Data?

“Intent data is a set of digital footprints that lets B2B marketing teams identify organizations demonstrating an interest in buying their products and services.”

Customer intent data | iTMunch

When web users search something online or visit websites to consume particular content, there is a higher possibility that they are interested in knowing more about certain topics. Applying the same principle to B2B purchase journeys, we can say that buyers have to carry out extensive research to find the best solution for their business problem. Their online content interactions are nothing but the intent datasets that help marketers in predicting the buyers’ intent. The buyers’ content consumption pattern lets B2B marketers understand the stages at which the buyers are in the purchase journey, along with knowing the pain points that the buyers experience before making a purchase.

Why B2B Companies Are Using Intent Data?

B2B Companies have been implementing intent-based marketing to drive conversions. One of the successful intent-based marketing campaigns is run by Lenovo that clearly highlights the potential of intent data. In a one-to-one conversation with a former Sr. Manager of Digital Marketing at Lenovo North America, it was stated that with the use of intent data, Lenovo ran marketing campaigns across display ads, emails, and social advertising. And these marketing campaigns drove an engagement that was beyond their expectations. While the click-through rate on display ads saw an increase of 22%, their email channel saw an increase of almost 4X against their click-through benchmark.

In another case study about Dodge Data & Analytics which is a leading provider of construction intelligence in North America, you can find out how the enterprise sales were raised using deep personalization. With the intent database available at hand, one-to-one campaigns were run for those accounts that had run cold in the sales process. As a result of the personalized campaigns, Dodge Data was able to re-engage 30-40 website visitors per day.

Types of Intent Data

Being a powerful predictor of leads or accounts that are in the buying mode, intent data helps in boosting conversions and sales. Collecting information from a company’s digital activity or their online research behaviour, B2B marketers can identify active prospects who are considering to purchase a product or service that they provide. In order to get a clear insight into the client’s buying journey, you must understand the two important types of intent data, both of which use IP addresses and browser cookies to track prospective buyers.

  • First-Party Intent Data
    Also known as internal intent data or engagement data, this is the information that your organization can collect from tracking your website, using marketing automation platforms. Considering what the visitors are searching on your website or the time spent on a page of a particular topic, you can recognize their interest, the buying stage, and the challenges they are facing in the buying process.
  • Third-Party Intent Data
    This type is also known as External Intent Data and is collected by third-party providers. Using cookies and IP addresses, these providers gather data from different sources such as publications, review sites, and analyst sites. Marketers can buy relevant data from such vendors to target prospective clients visiting other websites that they don’t own.

Both types of intent data can be further categorised as Anonymous Behavioural Data and Known Behavioural Data.

  • Anonymous Behavioural Data – Visitors who are known only by tracking their IP addresses which can then be mapped to their organization’s name.
  • Known Behavioural Data – Visitors who fill out a form, offering their contact information.

Ways To Collect Intent Data For B2B Companies

Intent data is nothing but the online behavioural information of prospective clients. This info guides you in understanding the visitors’ journey. Starting with where the visitors have come from, what they are interested in, what would capture their interest in future, and if they have any intent of making a purchase, these footprints give you an insight into the web user’s behaviour.

  • First-Party Marketer Data – In this collection method, you analyze accounts of those who are visiting websites owned by you. This can be done by tracking IP addresses using different tools and by requesting visitors to register or fill out online forms on your site.
  • Third-Party Vendor Data – Numerous vendors collect data from various sources in partnership with B2B companies. These intent partners can help track visitors who engage with content on your competitor sites as well as other sites that are related to your field.
    According to a case study presented by Bombora which is a leading provider of intent data, one of their B2B clients witnessed a two fold increase in the opening rate of their intent-driven emails as well as an 18% increase in events registration that were promoted through intent-data driven campaigns.

Intent data fueled result | iTMunch

  • Social Widgets – Using social widgets, you can carry out surveys and identify prospective clients on an organization level who are actively looking to purchase your products or services.

To sum it up, below are some key online buyer activities that you can track to collect intent data.

  • Website visits
  • Subscriptions to newsletters
  • Product reviews
  • Downloads of case studies and publications
  • Spike in content consumption (videos, blogs, infographics, etc) of a specific topic
  • Attendance of online sessions and webinars

Privacy Laws That Regulate the Collection of Personal Data

GDPR and CCPA | iTMunch

While collecting buyers’ data, you have to be aware of privacy-conscious methods to avoid being blamed for obtaining or selling personal user information. To avoid the unethical exchange of personal information between businesses, certain sets of rules have been designed to give web users a better hold over their personal data. GDPR and CCPA are two such privacy laws that businesses have to comply with while collecting, using, or sharing consumer data.

  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) – For businesses and individuals to benefit from the digital economy, the European Commission formed GDPR which is a set of rules designed to prevent the malicious use of users personal data. In compliance with this framework, organisations that work under the EU, as well as those that are outside the EU offering goods and services to customers in the EU, have to collect data legally, under strict conditions, and protect it further from misuse.
  • CCPA (California Consumer Protection Act) – Brought into effect from 1st January 2020, CCPA is a data protection law that allows the residents of California (consumers) to control the usage of their personal information. This cookie law is applicable to all the for-profit organisations that collect personal information of California residents, has an annual gross revenue of at least $25 million, generates at least 50% of its revenue from selling personal data of California residents, or obtains the personal data of at least 50,000 California residents, households, and /or devices per year.

Following the data protection laws, businesses have to respect the rights of data owners and take strict measures to avoid the exploitation of their personal information. On failing to comply with these laws, companies might have to face severe penalties.

How to Use Intent Data to Drive ROI

Intent data to drive ROI | iTMunch

B2B marketers can improve their outreach by multitudes with the optimum usage of intent data. With a perfect blend of first-party and third-party intent data, they can deliver a deeply personalised experience to their buyers. Of all the numerous case-uses of intent data, following are a few ways that can help you enhance your B2B marketing campaigns and drive your ROI.

  • Enhancing Account-Based Marketing Programs – Using intent data, marketing and sales team can identify target accounts that are active in the market, seeking your product or service. Prioritising these target accounts, you can serve them content that is aligned to the specific point in the buyer’s journey.
  • Personalising Content and Campaigns – With first-party intent data, you can focus on offering a personalized website experience to the visitors. You can curate your organization’s website content that matches the visitors’ interest. Collecting their contact information through online forms, you can serve them deeply personalised emails or ads. With third-party intent data, you can identify leads engaging on competitor websites and lure them with customized campaigns or paid ads.
  • Reactivating Cold Accounts – One of the best things about intent data is that it helps you in understanding the pain points in the buyers’ journey. Besides just knowing what interests them, you can also identify what’s stopping them for making a purchase. You can list out accounts that met a dead-end during the buying process and create one-to-one campaigns to re-engage them.
  • Polishing Ad Campaigns – The buyer’s journey is primarily marked by four stages:
    – Awareness: Buyer recognises a problem and the need to find a solution
    –  Interest: Search for the right solution begins and buyer shows interest in a                     particular product
    – Consideration: Buyer weighs his options between you and the competitors to make        the most of the purchase
    – Purchase: Product is bought, justifying the consideration With the use of intent data,      you can design highly targeted demand-generating ad campaigns for the prospective clients who are in the Consideration and Purchase stage of the buyer’s journey.

Without using intent data that is readily available in today’s times, you are possibly limiting your B2B outreach. By leveraging intent data, you can provide timely service to clients that are actively looking for a solution. In 2020, it is high time to recognize the potential of this predictive intelligence data and put it to use for driving up your revenue.

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