Content + Intent Data: Intent vs. Predictive Data

intent data Mark Ogne
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We recently gathered 10 intent data experts and power users and collected their tips and insights in The Content + Data Connection: 10 Top Marketing Executives Explore the Rewards of Integrating Intent Data into Content Strategies.

To keep that conversation going, we’re posting a series of Q&As with those experts to share their perspectives on how content marketers can make the connection between data and content. 

Intent Data vs. Predictive Data

Today, we feature a Q&A with Mark Ogne, Founder and CEO of ABM Consortium. Mark and the ABM Consortium have focused on “high performance” ABM for nearly seven years. Many companies have benefited from their help in addressing the complexities of ABM—particularly those surrounding data and insights-driven ABM orchestrations.

Here, he addresses the types of available signals brands can collect as well as clarifying the lines that often get blurred between intent and predictive data.

Let’s start with the different data types and how you think they could and should be applied to content strategy. What’s your advice?

Marketers already own the most valuable intent data; it’s in their sales and marketing systems today. From prior interactions to website visits, marketers must first identify what their target accounts are already signaling. The value of external, third-party intent-data signals grows once connected to this first-party insight.

Intent data is not predictive. Period. It’s a reflection of past digital behaviors. All too many vendors say that high intent scores indicate that marketers should prioritize an account. Intent is a topic, and predictive analytics is the indicator of potential future action. 

We know intent data can help inform topics and formats in the content creation process. How else can marketers optimize content with intent data?

This conversation has a three-legged barstool: intent data, predictive analytics, and buyer’s journey stage. Without all three, and perhaps more, you’ll not be so successful. Intent data is a topic of interest, predictive analytics is the propensity to act and the buyer’s journey stage defines the format and form of content. Marketers need all three, working together, to be successful.

What are some of the challenges to applying intent data for content strategy? Any tips or suggestions for brands that are just starting to do this?

Insights, of which intent is a part, can only create value if when actioned… operationalizing account-structured data in contact-centric technologies is super hard.

Let’s say you’re a marketing operations professional, and you receive a spreadsheet with target account topic scores. What do you do with that? A few years ago, my team logged all the steps to action this data and found about 25 decision points. As a result, far too many marketers get that spreadsheet and blast it to their sales and marketing teams and let them do what they may.

What are some of the challenges around applying intent data to content strategy?

There are two critical flaws to intent data, ones that marketers need to solve if they want to use this source of insight to create and select content successfully:

First, people express intent in languages other than English. Consider it this way: Even in the U.S., perhaps 15% of intent signals come from other languages, like Spanish or simplified Chinese. In other regions, even in English-fluent countries like Brazil, most of the intent is indicated in different languages, like Portuguese. The flaw is in assuming that English is the predominance of how people research. Knowing this, you might be in a better place if you consider versioning your content in different and more appropriate languages.

Second, intent data isn’t just company-specific; it’s geographically specific. Consider it this way: Today a marketer is building programs for North American target accounts and receives an intent signal. What they don’t know is that the signal came from the U.K. and not the U.S. The North American portion of that account may have no intent score, yet today the marketer is apt to spend money on a false signal. 

To learn more about how B2B marketers are approaching intent data, listen to our recent panel discussion. In Why Intent Signals May Be the Missing Ingredient in Your Content Strategy, we discussed the intersection of intent data and content with Latané Conant, VP of Marketing at 6sense, Nirosha Methananda, VP of Marketing at Influ2, and Jon Russo, CMO and Founder of B2B Fusion Group.

For additional perspectives, read our interactive E-book, The Content + Data Connection: 10 Top Marketing Executives Explore the Rewards of Integrating Intent Data into Content Strategies and our previous Q&As with Jon Miller, John Steinert, Latané Conant, Justin Keller, Jon Russo and Randy Brasche.

Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian. 

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