Intent Data Basics: Make The Content + Data Connection

intent data basics

Marketers are quickly discovering the value of intent data to identify and engage the buyers actively researching their solutions. If you’re not there yet, chances are you will be soon. According to Gartner, more than 70% of B2B marketers are expected to be targeting buyers with third-party intent data by 2022. We’ll start with some intent data basics here.

Early use cases centered on alerting sales teams to “surging” buyers and helping prioritize accounts for ABM programs. Other progressive companies are finding ways to apply the insights across a variety of marketing and sales disciplines.

Content4Demand assembled an expert panel of thought leaders and power users in the intent data arena to delve into intent-based marketing in our session at the Buyer Insights & Intelligence webinar series hosted by Demand Gen Report.

In “Why Intent Signals May Be the Missing Ingredient in Your Content Strategy,” you’ll hear perspectives and valuable tips from: Latané Conant, CMO at 6sense; Nirosha Methananda, VP of Marketing at Influ2 (formerly VP of Marketing at Bombora); and Jon Russo, Founder/CMO at B2B Fusion. Be sure to join us for a valuable discussion about the best ways to develop an intent data-driven marketing strategy.

In the meantime, here are some intent data basics you’ll need to know to get started.

Understanding the Intent Data Types

Each type of intent data offers unique benefits (and constraints). Here’s a brief breakdown:

First-party data is typically driven by our own websites, landing pages and other direct sources. It can include both anonymous and known visitor data, but it’s typically considered richer data because it doesn’t rely on aggregate views of outside sources.

First-party data gives you intelligence about how customers and prospects interact with your content to learn what’s resonating with them in almost-real time.

Second-party data is usually collected from publishers, review sites or content syndication partners from visitors who’ve opted in. Here again, data is richer and comes with fewer privacy concerns.

It’s useful because you can see the information that’s being served to particular target audiences so you can understand their buying triggers and build future content that’s ultra-relevant.

Third-party data is the most widely utilized pool of intent data to date. It’s popular because it identifies the companies actively researching your solution area—but maybe not directly through your website. The data isn’t tied to specific buyers, but on companies, and it includes things like web search terms and high-interest topics.

This data is helpful for ad retargeting and can guide you toward the kind of content you should be distributing to specific verticals or particular accounts.

Intent Data Do's and Don'ts

Leaning too heavily on one type of data can leave holes in your buyer personas and content maps. Steve Casey, a Principal Analyst at Forrester explains how the different data types can complement one another.

Most third-party data offers insights into the kind of content that prospects consume, he says, but that data is typically aggregated at an account level rather than a contact level.

“Its efficacy can be limited with analyzing persona preferences or understanding the makeup of a buying team,” he says.

He recommends first understanding what data you have in-house before tapping outside sources.

“Make sure to gather and analyze as many of the other intent signals you can from your owned first-party sources—like website analytics, campaign data and even CRM data on closed/won deals—to start building a picture of buying teams and their content preferences.

These kind of actions may include:

  • Resolving anonymous site visitors to an account by IP address
  • Identifying visitors as existing customers
  • Mining data from recent campaigns to find contact-level insights

Expand Your Intent-Data Intentions

These intent data basics are a great foundation for getting started on your quest to develop your own intent marketing programs. Be sure to pull up a chair at our panel discussion at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, July 23, to take the next step on your intent marketing journey.

Once your intent data-gathering processes are ready to go, you’ll need targeted content that resonates with your new understanding of what prospects need at each point of the buyer’s journey. Contact one of our experts to learn how we can help you stock your library with the right strategic content assets.

Read The Content + Data Connection: 10 Top Marketing Executives Explore the Rewards of Integrating Intent Data into Content Strategies for perspective on the role intent data will play in the future of your content.

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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