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Quick Start Guide to Intent-Based Marketing

Since the beginning of B2B marketing as we know it, marketers have struggled with the question of how to get in front of the right prospects at the precise moment they’re ready to buy. For decades, the only solution was to use firmographic data (company size, industry, geographic footprint, etc.) which unfortunately offered no insights into whether the target would be ready to buy today, next quarter, next year, … or ever. Things improved somewhat when technographic data came on the scene. By finding out which tools, technologies, and applications a company used, marketers could gain deeper insights into what they buy, how they operate, and what they might be looking to do next.

Technographics offered more advanced clues as to which businesses might be a good fit, but still gave no intelligence regarding where targets might be in the buyer’s journey. Then along came predictive analytics, providing further improvement by predicting buying activity based on past experience through the use of algorithms and mathematical models. As useful as this approach could be in improving targeting for likely prospects based on a lookalike model, getting in front of those prospects at the right time — when they were actually in market for the solution in question — still involved a large amount of guessing.

The result was a great deal of time and energy wasted on uninterested prospects while many of the good ones slipped away. Along the way, B2B marketers acquired advanced tools that helped them make better strategic use of the data available to them. Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions allowed them to track relationship building interactions with current and prospective customers across platforms. Marketing automation platforms (MAPs) let them automate routine tasks and build custom, personalized campaigns that run automatically when triggered by a specific action. And sales engagement platforms consolidated communication, content, and analytics tools to help sales teams maximize their productivity. All these tools are useful, but only as valuable as the data that goes into them. If that data is missing a vital component — the target’s level of interest and position in the buyer’s journey — even the most advanced marketing stack can only take you so far.

Today, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and other technologies, marketers have a new strategic weapon in their arsenal: intent data. By monitoring online activity around topics related to their products, marketers can identify previously unknown prospects and track behaviors within the organizations that are already on their radars. They can find out which problems prospective customers are looking to solve, how they’re looking to solve them, and which solutions they might be considering. They can see spikes in activity that indicate a warm lead has suddenly become hot. And they can spin this intelligence into personalized marketing and sales actions to place themselves in the ideal position when the customer begins showing signs they are ready to buy. For example, a marketing team for a data security software provider can track online activity on topics related to their product — topics such as online security, data breaches, cyberattacks, ransomware, etc. Their intent data platform can reveal which IP addresses the activity is originating from and match those IP addresses to organizations and locations. The marketing team can then add those organizations to its target list and create focused campaigns incorporating email, programmatic ads, and offline activities such as telephone-based lead qualification. As powerful as intent data is, a surprisingly small number of B2B marketers have caught on. According to Demand Gen Report’s 2017 ABM Benchmark Survey Report, only 25 percent of B2B companies are currently using intent data and monitoring tools. The reason could be a simple matter of education — marketing teams know about this powerful tool, but lack the knowledge to be able to use it to its full potential. This presents an enormous opportunity for nimble, forward-looking B2B marketers who can put intent monitoring to work today and create a sizable advantage over their competitors.

In this e-book, we’ll briefly explore the basics of intent data — what it is and how it’s different from other approaches. Then we’ll show you how to prepare your organization to leverage intent intelligence and explore 10 powerful tactics you can use today to put intent data to work for your organization.

  1. Outsourced Lead Generation
  2. Prospecting 
  3. Account Prioritization 
  4. Topics for Content Marketing
  5. Improved Digital Campaign ROI
  6. Advanced Nurture Streams
  7. Renewals and Competitive Threats
  8. Sales Intelligence & Cross-Selling
  9. Market Exploration
  10. Competitive Intelligence