The Ultimate Guide To Intent-Based Marketing in Tech
Tech businesses need intent-based marketing to succeed today because B2B customers expect personalized communications. However, delivering data-backed marketing efforts is becoming more difficult as businesses must also respect data privacy. Marketers must turn to first-party sources to connect directly with leads and deliver customized messages.
Dive into how to perform intent-based marketing today and explore some examples you can add to your marketing strategy.
- Intent-based marketing uses data to personalize marketing campaigns
- Use intent data to identify customers that are a good fit and have a high buying intent
- Account-based marketing is one of the most effective forms of intent-based marketing
What Is Intent-Based Marketing?
Intent-based marketing uses data to predict which leads have the highest potential to become customers. Then, marketers focus most of their attention on personalized strategies for customers with a high buying intent.
Customers leave clues behind everywhere they go online, and marketers are like detectives searching for this evidence across the Internet. For example, B2B customers open emails, like social media posts, and view webpages. Each interaction is another clue as to who the customer is and what they’re looking for.
One customer might open a marketing email, which puts the marketing detectives on that customer’s trail. However, after following that customer’s digital footprints, the marketer might find the footprints lead to the website’s career page. The marketing team can conclude that the customer’s intent isn’t to purchase products but to find opportunities in their business. Then they know not to spend time trying to share products but instead to focus on sharing open positions.
Meanwhile, another customer opened the same email before visiting the website. Once on the website, that customer registered for a webinar and looked at the pricing page. These types of digital clues tell marketers that the second customer is highly interested in the brand and would welcome receiving more product information.
What Is a Buyer’s Intent?
A B2B consumer’s intent is the reason behind their actions. For example, a consumer’s intent when visiting an IT website might be to educate themselves on the industry or to find a specific tech solution.
A consumer with a high buyer intent is looking to buy products or services soon. Meanwhile, customers with low buyer intent don’t intend to purchase any products right away, but factors like industry research can motivate them.
Marketers use intent-based marketing to identify those customers with high buyer intent, then use intent marketing to customize strategies based on how close customers are to purchasing and what specifically is motivating customers to purchase products.
Intent-Based Marketing Aligns Content with Buyer Intent
Marketers use intent-based marketing at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Here’s how different buyer intent becomes evident within each stage of the sales funnel.
- Top of the funnel: educational intent (Buyers are discovering their needs)
- Middle of the funnel: Research intent (Buyers are researching their options)
- Bottom of the funnel: Purchase intent (Buyers are making a final decision)
Intent-based marketing creates content and campaigns for the intent of each stage of the funnel by asking what the buyer is looking for. So, marketers will choose content topics, keywords, and conversion goals based on the stage’s intent.
Benefits of Using Intent-Based Marketing in Tech
B2B tech marketing has a longer sales cycle and is more expensive than marketing in other industries because the products are more complex. Therefore, buyers need more time to understand the options, and marketers require more resources and personalized strategies to convince decision makers to invest in new software. Tech marketing also has a niche audience, so many leads aren’t relevant to the tech company’s products.
Intent-based marketing is necessary for tech marketing to streamline the sales cycle and reduce wasted resources. Instead of pursuing all leads, intent-based marketing helps tech marketers identify the leads that match the ideal buyer based on firmographics and behaviors.
In addition, tech sales agents won’t jump in too early in the sales process trying to convert B2B leads. Instead, the sales team can wait until decision makers move closer to purchasing. In the meantime, tech marketers can use digital clues from buyer behavior to provide timely and relevant content to leads based on the lead’s intent. This timely, customized material will give the leads the necessary information to make an informed buying decision.
Where To Find Intent Data for Your Marketing Strategies
Intent data looks into potential leads to identify whether each lead is a good fit for the business, whether that lead has a high interest in the products, and whether the lead engages with the company.
Use these data types to build a digital intent strategy:
- Search intent data: What terms did visitors use to land on a business website or content?
- Engagement data: How did the customer engage with ads, digital assets, webinars, and other marketing materials?
- Firmographic data: What characteristics does the business have, like industry and budget?
- Technographic data: Does the company have the required software and tech to support the new software?
- Personal interactions: What information did the lead provide during phone calls, chats, and emails?
According to 86% of businesses, first-party data, like the sources above, is the most important part of marketing. First-party data is information companies collect directly from customers rather than outside sources. This data tells marketers where buyers are in the sales funnel and how to proceed with marketing strategies.
Intent-Based Marketing Strategies for Tech Marketing
Use these four intent digital marketing strategies to improve your conversion rate through data-backed efforts:
Personalized Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing attracts potential buyers to a business. Marketers can improve the outcome of their inbound marketing strategies by focusing on buyers with a high buying potential, or buying intent, using intent-based marketing.
For instance, keywords have vastly different intents. A user searching “What is CRM software?” has a different need than someone searching “The best CRM software for tech businesses.” The second search shows that the user is looking for a tool rather than simply researching information.
Tech businesses can use that data to build an end-of-the-funnel content strategy using similar keywords. By creating conversion copy with high buying intent keywords, marketers are more likely to attract traffic that’s ready to make a purchase decision.
Account-based marketing (ABM) relies heavily on intent-based marketing strategies. ABM uses hyper-targeted marketing strategies to interact with small customer segments rather than marketing to larger groups of customers. The leads in ABM campaigns are high value to offset the cost of personalized marketing strategies.
To run successful ABM campaigns, marketers need to understand the leads deeper than traditional marketing strategies. Intent data is at the heart of the strategy because that information tells marketers who the leads are, what the leads’ greatest pain points are, any business changes that might impact buying decisions, and the level of interest individual leads are showing in the business.
Intent data helps marketers qualify IT leads. Lead qualification looks at customer behavior to identify when leads are ready to move to the next stage in the buyer’s journey. For example, a lead that opened one email and then went silent isn’t ready for a sales call. Meanwhile, a lead with high buying intent, like signing up for a free trial, is ready to move forward to the next stage in the funnel.
The average conversion rate in the B2B tech industry is 1.7%. That leaves 98.3% of leads who don’t make a buying decision. Instead of accepting the loss and moving on, marketers can build lead nurturing strategies that take those leads that haven’t converted yet and nurture them until they’re ready to buy.
Not all 98.3% of leads that don’t convert were good fits for the company. Lead nurturing uses intent data to find the right leads. Next, intent-based marketing strategies focus on those leads with content based on lead behaviors. For instance, if the lead attended a webinar, marketers might send emails promoting tech products related to the webinar topic.
8 Tips for Effective Tech Intent-Based Marketing
Use these tips to build a highly effective intent-based marketing strategy for tech companies.
1. Connect to Customers Early
Marketers’ jobs would be much easier if leads sent an email directly to businesses expressing interest in products. Unfortunately, that rarely happens until later in the sales process, as 68% of B2B customers prefer independently researching products.
Instead, marketers have to rely on intent data to find interested buyers. Identifying prospects as early as possible will improve a business’s chances of converting that potential customer. For instance, a B2B consumer that downloads a tech brief might be in the research phase. However, marketers using intent data might see that behavior as a sign of early interest and start reaching out immediately with relevant content that would help the B2B buyer in the research phase.
By reaching out early, businesses reduce competition as the first companies to connect with buyers and have a higher chance of converting those customers.
2. Identify Potential Opportunities
Intent data isn’t just for leads that businesses have already generated. Intent-based marketing also helps marketers identify new opportunities that are a good fit for a business, but those buyers haven’t shown any interest.
LiveRamp successfully used intent data to build a list of target accounts. It brought in $50 million in annual revenue from just 15 accounts. The company used intent-based marketing tools to gather intent data on top Fortune 500 companies. It could determine which companies were the best fit through the platform based on intent data like behavior and firmographics.
Likewise, companies can use intent strategies by gathering lead information and filtering leads based on firmographic details to identify high-value accounts that match the company’s ideal customer profile.
3. Gather First-Party Intent Data
Intent data comes from three sources:
- First-party data: Data your company collects directly
- Second-party data: Data from trusted partners
- Third-party data: Data from unconnected third parties
While third-party data used to be the backbone of marketing, new privacy laws are causing a shift. Now, businesses are turning more and more to first-party data. In addition, building strategies on first-party data now will prepare tech marketers for a cookieless future where third-party data will become very difficult to collect or use.
Without third-party sources for intent data, companies will have to rely on campaign data to improve intent-based marketing.
For example, webinars are excellent sources of intent data. Webinars allow marketers to meet attendees with a similar title and industry as their ideal customers. Then, marketers can identify who has the greatest interest. Marketers use interactions with individuals to understand the leads and personalize future interactions.
ActualTech Media has an audience of tech professionals and key decision makers regularly attending tech webinars. Presenting at an ActualTech Media webinar connects tech businesses directly to tech buyers, giving attendees more control over their information. Presenters can meet directly with buyers rather than learn about buyers from third-party sources.
4. Deliver Content in the Right Context
Intent data tells marketers quite a bit about consumers, but it also tells marketers about digital locations and how effective marketing is in those digital spaces. In addition, intent marketing considers the intent of buyers visiting each channel.
For example, TikTok is a trendy social media platform. However, most TikTok users are looking for entertaining content. Even if there are tech buyers on the platform, the content will probably not yield the results marketers want.
Conversely, a platform like LinkedIn has a much higher chance of reaching business professionals looking for tech solutions. Marketing content that businesses share on LinkedIn will see much better results.
5. Automate Intent-Based Actions
Marketers that use intent-based marketing build campaigns around customer behaviors. Therefore, behaviors not only provide data for future marketing strategies but also trigger personalized campaigns.
For example, digital downloads like e-books and whitepapers can be the first step in an intent-based marketing campaign. When customers download the digital asset, a marketing automation platform enters that lead’s information into an email drip campaign where the customer receives information that builds on what the leads learned in the digital download.
6. Prioritize Customers Based on Intent Data
As leads start to come in, marketers should know which leads to prioritize. Some leads will show a high buying intent. Those are the leads that marketers want to invest the most resources and time into. Marketers especially want to focus on high-value accounts with a high buying intent, as these leads are like gold in the tech marketing world.
Other leads have a very low intent. Marketers don’t want to start calling these potential customers to nurture them, as that would take time away from those with high value. Instead, leads with a low buying intent should go into an automated campaign. Automated campaigns give those prospects more opportunities to interact with the brand, so marketers have more data to work with.
Once those low-quality leads start opening more emails, attending more events, and engaging with the brand, marketers can move the lead from passive campaigns to active ones that require more time.
7. Segment Leads Based on Intent
Lead segmentation doesn’t have to be an intent-based marketing strategy, but intent data does improve lead segmentation. Place those prospects into groups based on shared intent data as leads come in.
There are three primary segments that marketers can build from intent data:
- Leads that take no actions and interact with no content
- Leads that consistently engage with content but don’t convert
- Leads that engaged with the content and converted
Marketers can use intent data to sort segments even further. For instance, the first group could include three further segments:
- Unengaged leads with no potential to buy (e.g., a hobbyist who downloaded an e-book for its educational value)
- Unengaged leads that could become engaged leads (e.g., leads that match the buyer’s persona)
- Unengaged leads with a notable intent other than purchasing (e.g., a business looking to partner with the company or a tech professional looking for a job)
8. Personalize Content for Each Account
Intent data helps sellers customize marketing interactions. This tip applies mainly to ABM strategies, where marketers require more data for personalized interactions. For example, salespersons understand B2B customers’ wants through intent data and can provide more specific offers and lead-nurturing content.
Content syndication is an intent-based marketing strategy for personalizing interactions with target accounts. In this strategy, companies create customized digital assets like videos or e-books for target accounts. Then, the marketers distribute that content to a list of accounts with high buying intent.
A data activation platform like Clearbit fills in data gaps to help marketers personalize content. The platform looks beyond their current data so marketers can access a full database of prospects and intent data. Then, marketers can integrate their tools to use the data in their current strategies, like content creation, list building, and targeted distribution.
Intent-based marketing also reduces the number of irrelevant ads leads receive. The average person sees around 10,000 ads a day. While regular marketing might promote any product that fits the buyer’s persona, intent data focuses on the products that match the buyer’s needs based on behavior.
Boost Your Intent-Based Marketing
ActualTech Media uses intent data to target and reach quality leads through campaigns like content syndication. Our content syndication process uses filters and direct marketing techniques to help tech marketers build effective AVM strategies.
Are you looking to gather more intent data to build strategies? Then join a multi-vendor webinar to connect with leads and understand your audience on a deeper level.
Contact us to find the best intent-based marketing service for your marketing goals.