For B2B marketers looking to drive targeted ads to their prospective customers, intent data is key. In fact, 52% of marketers currently use intent data to do just that. And this number is set to rise. By the end of 2022, Gartner predict that over 70% of B2B marketers will leverage third-party intent data to target prospects or engage groups of buyers in selected accounts.
With intent data, you can zero in on buyers who are ready to make a purchase right now. And this doesn’t just apply to individuals, but to entire accounts, making intent data the perfect partner to an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. Using intent data, you can identify accounts showing signs that they’re close to a buying decision, and at what stage, helping you to prioritize top accounts for your ABM campaigns.
Want to find out how this works in practice? Read on! But first, a quick reminder of what both ABM and intent data are.
ABM and Intent Data: A Brief Overview
What is Account-Based Marketing?
ABM isn’t particularly new—98% of B2B marketers already use, or are planning to use, an ABM strategy. It’s a tried-and-true approach to B2B marketing that focuses on targeting and engaging specific accounts rather than individual prospects or a broader audience. With ABM, your organization identifies and prioritizes companies to target, rather than individual leads. Once these companies are identified, you then research the personas comprising the buying committee within each company and develop personalized marketing campaigns for each of those buying committee members.
What Is Intent Data?
Two common forms of intent data are first-party intent data and third-party intent data. First-party intent data is information you collect about a buyer’s online (and sometimes offline) activity that demonstrates their interest in a particular product or service. First-party intent data tracks common activities when visitors come to your website, including visiting specific product pages, reading blog posts, downloading relevant white papers, brochures, or other assets, or filling in forms to sign up for newsletters or to request product demos.
Third-party data is information collected by other providers (typically via cookies, and other tracking software) that gives insight into intent across websites other than your own, giving you a clearer view into an account’s interest in specific topics and brands which indicates how interested they may be in what you have to offer.
How Can Intent Data and ABM Work Together?
One of the most effective ways to use intent data is to incorporate it into an ABM strategy to help identify ready-to-buy accounts and tailor marketing efforts and messaging to their specific interests.
There are numerous ways intent data can improve ABM campaigns. Here are six to get you started:
1. Identify and Decisively Target Buyers
With intent data, you can identify the right audience for your campaign by tracking online behavior, such as website visits, content engagement, and search term usage. Use this data to identify the accounts researching detailed information, such as specific products, pricing, competitors, and so on, showing signs they’re close to making a purchase. This allows you to focus your sales and marketing efforts on the companies most likely to convert into customers.
2. Personalize Messaging and Create Marketing Content That Connects
By combining intent data with ABM, you can tailor your messaging, content, and engagement tactics to address the specific behaviors and actions taken by members of your target company’s buying committee. This allows you to customize content for each member, providing them with relevant, personalized communications that are more likely to make an impact.
Case in point: personalized content outperforms a more generic approach. Seventy-six percent of consumers are more likely to consider purchasing from brands that personalize, a statistic that applies equally to both the individual consumer and B2B buying committee behavior.
3. Trigger Targeted Outreach and Amplify Engagement
If intent data shows that a company’s in-market for a solution that you sell, you can then launch an outreach campaign targeting known contacts in that company. This could include links to more information, a free trial, a special promotion, or a complementary demo. Intent data allows you to understand how invested a target account is by monitoring behavior over time, allowing for timely, relevant outreach efforts that are more likely to engage prospects with the right message at the right time.
4. Enhance Market Segmentation
When you rely on intent data to better inform your ABM strategy, you can go beyond the firmographic data marketers typically rely on to develop a truly ideal customer profile. By tracking the behaviors of the personas within your key accounts, you can build greater granularity into your segmentation strategies and focus sales efforts on the accounts closest to making a purchase.
5. Optimize and Adjust Ad Spending in Real Time
By analyzing intent data, you can determine which channels and tactics are most effective at reaching and engaging your target audience so you can allocate and adjust your ad spend accordingly. Using intent data effectively can help you choose the right products to market, improve context of your messaging, and even uncover additional lookalike accounts that help establish a wider TAM.
6. Measure Campaign Effectiveness and Identify Specific Areas for Improvement
By tracking buyer behavior and actions before, during, and after your campaign, you can identify the key drivers of engagement and conversion. Injecting intent data into your ABM practice allows you to measure the success of your campaign and identify areas where it may have fallen short.
If you focus a campaign on promoting a new product, for example, you could use intent data to track the number of users who searched for information about the product, visited the product page on the website, or made a purchase, assessing the overall performance of your campaign and identifying potential areas for improvement in future campaigns.
Achieve Your ABM Goals with Intent Data
As marketers, we are always looking to engage the right audience at the right time, and pairing high-quality intent data with skillful ABM content is one of the most effective ways to make that happen. These six activities will form a sturdy foundation for finding and targeting the accounts that are most likely to buy, allowing you to fine-tune your campaign strategies as you go.
Want to see how first-party intent data can ignite your ABM efforts? Watch our awesome webinar, “A Match Made in Heaven: First-Party Data and ABM Strategies?”
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