Author: Jingcong Zhao / Source: hubspot.com As marketers, capturing buyer attention is everything. Without it, we're just throwing more c
As marketers, capturing buyer attention is everything. Without it, we’re just throwing more content, emails, ads, and offers into the abyss. Yet, there has never been a harder time to earn buyer attention.
Thanks to advances in technology and the abundance of information on the internet, today’s buyers have a lot more knowledge and power. They can learn about our companies and products through many channels — online and offline.
Meanwhile, technology has made it much easier for marketers to create more content, push ads, and send emails, — and we’re doing it more, more and more.
The convergence of these two forces has resulted in diminishing returns for marketers. Our prospects are overwhelmed by the amount of content they’re exposed to, and they are tuning us out.
Consider that the average office worker receives 121 emails a day. With that staggering number in mind, it’s not surprising that people are unsubscribing from emails at higher rates. Research shows that the number one reason users unsubscribe from email lists is because they get too many emails in general, not necessarily because they don’t like the content.
At Socedo, our nurture emails get a 1% CTR on average. A 2% CTR is now considered “good”.
At this point, simply turning up the volume doesn’t work anymore. As marketers, we need make sure that our engagement is more targeted and valuable.
To get there, we need to listen to our customers before we act.
Instead of pushing what we “think” customers want, we should wait for them to tell us what they care about. Instead of starting a campaign because a senior leader thinks it’s a good idea, we can use customer data to inform the campaign strategy, content and execution.
What is Intent-Based Marketing?
Intent-based marketing is a methodology of listening to signals that show a prospect is researching a specific topic or problem area so you can send the right message at the right time.
It’s the kind of marketing that aims to listen, learn, and then engage. For example, an intent-based email would be sent to a prospect as soon as they show interest in a relevant topic, and the email would reference the prospect’s interest and provide relevant content.
While intent-based marketing has been around for awhile now, marketers have traditionally just focused on buying intent.
But intent-based marketing is not just about serving the right ad or message to trigger a purchase. It’s about responding to people’s intentions in the right way, wherever they are in the buying journey. It is this level of personalization and relevant engagement that will make people choose your brand versus your competitors.
You can start this process by gathering intent data from the broader web.
What is Intent Data?
Intent data is generated from actions that tells you what a potential buyer is interested in.
It includes internal data (collected from engagement with your owned digital properties, such as website clicks, email opens, downloaded offers, etc.) and external data (collected from activities outside of your owned digital properties, such as social media platforms, user reviews, competitor mentions).
At this point, marketing automation platforms have enabled us to nurture leads, and personalize our emails, website content and ads based on the data we’ve collected. This is a great start, but it’s not enough.
If the only actions you’re tracking are email clicks, webpage visits and other engagements with your company, you are only tracking leads that are “in-market”, or actively in the buying process. In reality, the majority of the B2B buying cycle is over by the time a buyer lands on your website. According to Corporate Executive Board, prospects have made 60% of their buying decision before talking to a sales rep.
The buyer journey starts when someone starts to do research on the web to increase their understanding of a problem they want to solve. This is known as the Discover stage within the buying journey.
According to Forrester’s Business Technographics Survey in 2016, buyers use 15 vehicles during the Discover stage. More than half of these vehicles are online, and thus represent sources of digital insight.
Source: Lenovo’s presentation on Intent-Based Marketing at B2B Marketing Exchange 2017
Social Media-Based Intent Data
Social media is a good place to start because there is a wealth of intent data that exists within social media platforms and much of that data is public.
55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media and 84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions.
Social intent data includes any action potential leads take on social media. Today, many people go to social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to learn about and discuss news and business issues in our industry. Some of us go on Quora to get perspectives on how we might tackle certain business challenges, or go on Meetup.com to find in-person events where we can gain a broader view of our industry.
On Twitter, we can identify potential buyers based on their tweets and following relations. On LinkedIn, we could find potential buyers by looking at people’s group affiliations (i.e., specific product user groups), the influencers they are following, the articles they are sharing and commenting on. On Quora, we could do the same by looking…