Intent Data: A Quick Explainer

Remember the last time you wanted to send flowers to a friend? You found your favorite browser, typed “flower delivery” into the search bar, and picked one of the first few companies that popped up. You went to their website with the intent to purchase, and you did. While the transaction is complete, many flower companies would record the search before it as “intent data.” Now, when you see targeted ads for flower companies even though you already sent the bouquet, you’ll know why!

Of course, this is a simplified example. Intent data is individual or organizational online behavioral data collected and associated with the research and purchase of products and services. According to Marketing Insider Group, “This data will help you determine the intention of a lead during the buying process. By tracking a lead’s digital footprints, you can learn about their pain points, interests, and habits.”

Intent data can be very powerful to capture. In fact, according to a recent report by Ascend2,

    • 94% of B2B marketers report intent data is effective in solving critical digital marketing challenges, and
    • 70% of intent data users report their strategies as very effective.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. With only 25% of B2B companies currently using intent data and 50% of B2B marketers struggling with making intent data actionable, marketers must pay attention to the topics and context of the online behavior of their prospects to be able to establish true intent from the start.

TCI’s market research indicates the #1 reason intent programs fail is the incorrect association of behaviors with an imminent intent to purchase. For example, a company may assume reading three articles about a type of solution means a prospect is automatically sales qualified. Top marketers vet their intent vendor’s data analysis to ensure its associations of behaviors and outcomes is accurate.

We’ll talk more about intent data in future blogs. In the meantime, if you have anything to add to our discussion of intent data or ideas for how to help make marketers’ jobs easier, send us a note. We love hearing from our smart marketing friends!