Marketers are feeling the effects of the meteoric rise of “big data” across the marketing landscape. The notion that more data is always better has been soundly debunked. After all, when more data leads to confusion within an organization, it slows the process of developing true, actionable insights based on signals in the marketplace. However, that’s not the case with intent data — and that’s why we’re seeing such tremendous growth in this important category.
Let’s take a look at how this important new marketing tool has evolved over the past couple of years and where we can expect it to take us in 2020 and beyond.
The Rise of Intent Data
It’s clear why intent data is appealing to marketers: It helps marketers to identify responsive audiences that are in-market for a product or service, as demonstrated by their online actions or the content they’re consuming. By focusing messaging and sales efforts on prospects with demonstrated intent, at the exact moment they’re demonstrating that intent, marketing and sales organizations can not only greatly improve the efficiency of their efforts, but they can also collectively help reduce the noise in the marketplace that results from un-targeted messaging. Intent data also helps combat the ill effects of data pollution within organizations, because it is immediately actionable and insights-driven by its very nature.
Given these benefits, it’s no surprise that the market for intent data has grown dramatically over the past few years. As of last year, only about 25% of B2B companies were using intent data and monitoring tools, but 35% of companies expected to use them within the next 12 months. The growing interest and adoption are a direct result of promising intent data case studies showing notable boosts in engagement and sales team close rates as a result of intent insights.
As with any promising marketing tool, positive ROI sparks adoption; which, in turn, drives growth in availability and innovation within the space. And indeed, advances in the intent data arena have been swift and impressive.
Getting Closer to Prospects Than Ever
Intent data is following a similar trajectory of innovation that we saw with the rise of digital media, overall — except at an accelerated rate. Targeting capabilities have come a long way in just a few short years. Where intent data initially allowed us to generally identify companies whose interest in certain types of solutions seemed to be surging, we’re now able to get much more granular.
These days, we can go beyond company level to pinpoint specifically which company locations are driving the surge, as well as the individuals within the company who are most likely to be decision-makers around the purchase. We even know the types of devices these people are using for digital communications and their preferred channels of contact. In other words, the latest intent data tools are now delivering those coveted “right time, right person, right place, right message” capabilities.
Furthermore, the scale of intent data is growing rapidly. By virtue of rising interest in the market, data providers have been investing heavily in increasing site coverage. As a result, the number of companies and industries covered by intent data grows every day, as does the granularity with which the companies, their locations and their representatives are known.
Moving into 2020 and beyond, we can expect to see intent data continue to grow in scale and sophistication. Importantly, continued momentum and advances are resulting in:
- Deeper Integrations Within Organizations: Intent data continues to play a deeper role in companies’ omnichannel efforts. Rather than existing as a separate tool within the marketing team, real effort is being made to infuse intent insights across both teams and channels.
- Increased Speed: As intent tools mature, they’re also enabling greater speed when it comes to acting on surges in company activity. For the companies leveraging the latest tools and putting insights into action quickly, this added speed can be the ultimate competitive advantage.
- Expansion of Touchpoints: In its early years, intent data was largely put to work in an online capacity in the form of digital ads, an expensive and less direct way of connecting with in-market prospects. But these days, now that intent data is getting down to the level of the individual contact, more-direct communications via email, phone, and other tried-and-true sales channels are being enabled.
Intent data as a key driver of account-based marketing programs has only come into its own in the past few years. But already, it’s transforming how businesses market to businesses. In 2020, as marketers focus on creating closer relationships with customers and prospects and improving experiences for those individuals, intent data is becoming even more powerful.