As key drivers of the revenue team, marketing and sales are constantly looking for the next innovative method to get a competitive edge—particularly in generating revenue for the business.
One method that continues to pique interest is intent data.
Having created numerous products that leverage massive volumes of data in the marketing and sales space, we get asked many questions about how to best leverage intent data. In this blog, I’ll walk you through what intent data is, how to use it to drive revenue, and how to evaluate a vendor:
What is Intent Data?
Intent data is behavioral information collected about an individual’s online activities, combining both topic and context data, which I’ll explain in more detail below.
Topic Data: When you search for something or visit a website, you are expressing an interest in that topic. For example, people who read this article are expressing some level of interest in “intent data.”
There are several different categories of topic data:
- Anonymous 1st Party Behavioral: People visiting your website who are identified by their IP address, which is then mapped to their company’s name. You can use solutions like Demandbase and Marketo Web Personalization to leverage this information to personalize the content displayed.
- Known 1st Party Behavioral: People visiting your website who have also filled out a form online. Because they provided their contact information, they are considered “known.” Using a marketing automation platform, you can then track their page views.
- Anonymous 3rd Party Behavioral: People visiting other websites that you don’t own, but indicate some relevance (e.g. Forbes.com for business professionals). Their IP addresses are collected by vendors like Bombora and Big Willow.
- Known 3rd Party Behavioral: People visiting other websites who have also filled out a form on that site providing their contact information. In this context, they become known to the website owner, and vendors like TechTarget make that information available to marketers.
However, topic interest alone is not all that actionable without knowing the context of the individual.
Context Data: Context is all about gaining insight into who the person is that’s taking the action in question. For example, if the person reading this blog is a marketing professional, it’s possible they are in the process of evaluating a product that leverages intent data. But if the person is an industry analyst, it may be more likely they are writing a report and looking for more information on the subject.
Levels of context range from higher-level, more general information (e.g. Which company does this person work for? What is their official role within the organization?) to really granular, personal insights (e.g. Does this person have expertise in using technologies or best practices associated with my product? Does this lead and company match with my ideal buyer or could they be an influencer?)
Without this context, you’ll be wasting your time and budget engaging with prospects who may be making all the right behavioral signals but will never become customers (e.g. trying to sell your product to the industry analyst).