What is Intent Data and Why Should a B2B Company Care?

B2B intent marketing is collected information about customers’ online activities which signal when they are preparing to make a purchase decision (Martin Jones). This data provides insight into the customer’s interests and allows companies to identify when a prospect is actively looking to purchase a service or product, or something similar (Strategic ABM). This data can provide your business with the competitive edge it needs- you can perfectly time campaign responses to encourage a sale or conversion. Targeting the right audience at the right time in their journey is far more beneficial than other forms of advertising, such as email blasts or display and banner advertising that are not always timed appropriately to maximise the chances of converting (Martin Jones).

B2B buyers want to ensure a company is trustworthy before making an investment, and intent data gives marketers the information they need to create a more personalised experience for the buyer, which builds trust and credibility (Jaymi Onorato). Intent data is collated mainly from the use of cookies that track customer activity (Strategic ABM). There are two main types of intent data to understand – first-party and third-party.

First Party Intent Data

First-party intent data is all data collected onsite – data that is generated through your prospect’s engagements with your own digital content (Lead Sift). Many marketers rely on first-party data because it provides a direct view of your audience–people who are already interested in what you are offering (Inbox Insight). You may already track first-party data through marketing automation platforms, or analytics tools such as Google Analytics, your CRM, or the backend of your own website. First-party data may only provide you with customer data at one part of the buyer journey, however, it is crucial in creating a personalised experience for your prospect (On Audience). But with first-party data, you are missing the ideal prospects who are searching or buying elsewhere and haven’t yet made it to your website – this is where third-party data comes in…

Third-Party Intent Data

Third-party intent data is data collected from offsite destinations – all websites, content platforms, and social media channels (Inbox Insights). You can gather a more comprehensive view of your prospects’ activities through the data collected from their engagement on third-party websites – watching webinars, reading articles on specific industry publications, and discussing key industry topics on social media (Lead Sift). This type of intent data is great for businesses to understand their prospects buying cycle and harvest interest earlier in the buyer journey (Inbox Insight). Third-party data helps marketers oversee the total customer experience, access many more new prospects, and encourage them into their pipeline efficiently (Inbox Insight). Utilising third-party data allows companies to grow their target audience and go beyond their usual consumers (Stirista).

Intent data is most beneficial when first and third parties are combined. Together, they create a holistic picture of what an account is researching, their business goals, challenges, and susceptibility to buy (Strategic ABM). According to the latest research from Inbox Insight, 19% of B2B marketers use only third-party data, 26% utilise first-party data, and 55% use a combination of both in their demand generatiostrategies. 75% of those who use a combination of both rely on first-party data more than third-party data (Inbox Insight).

Why your Business Should be Using Intent Data

Without buyer intent insight, it’s difficult to maximise the value of sales and marketing activity (Strategic ABM). There’s no point in targeting people who aren’t interested in what you offer, so intent data is the perfect business solution. Intent data saves time and resources all whilst keeping you one step ahead – The B2B buying cycle is typically much longer than the B2C buying cycle, so being able to target prospects when they are most likely to purchase is crucial for business success.  Having the ability to identify intent to purchase at exactly the right time will give your sales and marketing campaigns maximum results (Strategic ABM). Intent data is a valuable tool for B2B marketers in a highly competitive world, allowing companies to generate personalised marketing strategies and optimise revenue (Marketing Insider Group). Intent data is the key to all marketing strategies, creating personalised content and effective interactions. Targeting strategies based simply on demographics will no longer suffice (Marketing Insider Group). It’s no surprise that more and more B2B marketers are utilising intent data to grow their pipeline – intent marketing forms the foundation for sales and strategy and is therefore the future of B2B marketing success (Martin Jones).

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Joe Allen

Joe has vast experience and knowledge accumulated and honed as a New Business Development Manager and Relationship Manager. Presently the Director at Belu Media.

Responsible for generating new business clients, looking after existing clients, sourcing new ventures and managing the company.

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