Chistine Crandell | Forbes.com
Customer intent is such a loaded phrase. Figuring out your prospects’ intentions or the purpose of their actions is like finding a flashlight in a mine. If you have it, you can quickly figure out what your next step should be. Without it you’ll keep stumbling along in the dark.
It used to be that figuring out customer intent was pretty easy; they told you. Sales and Marketing were looked upon as sources of knowledge and guidance, so buyers gladly shared their challenges and intentions. Today, buyers turn to their peers and the Internet for insight, advice and education. There’s no motivation to share intent with vendors because there is no value to be gained, in the eyes of the buyer. Buyers will reveal their intent when they’ve decided you’re a contender in the purchase decision.
We all know that waiting for the phone to ring is not a viable growth strategy. Marketing’s charter is to build early awareness and brand preference. The big hammer is content, in every imaginable form possible. But the challenge of deciphering intent remains. Without understanding intent, it is very hard to build the right content strategy, nurture program or sales strategy.
Most marketers rely on web analytics to tell them which web pages were visited, time on page, content viewed, and website pathing. With cookies a profile can be built over time in your marketing automation system (assuming they support this feature) that marketers can use to roughly deduce a target account’s intent. It’s not very sophisticated but if the same target account has visited a set of product pages several times the chances are high they’re in the market for a solution. The same applies to ads. Marketers rely on ads to drive awareness but majority of ad-clicks don’t result in further interaction.
Analytics measure siloed events, not journeys. As a result content consumption data is fragmented and scattered across the industry.
Publishers, advertisers, companies, etc. all have bits and pieces of the bigger picture of what target accounts are doing. Short of launching a customer journey project that develops an actionable journey map of customer actions, which is what every marketer should be doing right now, to understand and pinpoint what a buyer is up to – where they go, who they talk, what they access, and how they use it – there aren’t many options for marketers. What marketers need is an automated way of aggregating all those bits and pieces into a holistic picture of their target accounts’ action.
An innovative approach was launched from New York City-based Madison Logic who has the potential of turning the industry on its head by aggregating and monitoring behavioral B2B intent data across all the channels, ad networks and outlets.
Madison Logic takes the raw data feeds, aggregates and analyzes the data and then make it available to list vendors, telemarketing companies, and product companies who in turn use it to spot prospects with high intent. They currently track over 50 million unique buyer interactions. Because they aggregate content consumption across multiple channels and ad networks, companies are able for the first time to track their target accounts, determine intent and know what the right next step is to engage that buyer in a meaningful conversation.
What’s the big deal?
Today, every outlet and network owns and monetizes just their data. If you run an ad on a couple networks, you have to get the performance stats from each of them and attempt to piece together what your target accounts did, if anything, on each network. A time consuming and inaccurate process that most companies skip because it is too hard.
“Most contacts in a marketer’s database have only one interaction,” said Mike Burton, VP platform and data marketers for Madison Logic. “Aggregating the industry’s intent data into one large silo and tying it back to accounts and individuals will give us the data we all need to fulfill the promise of MA, lead scoring, and much more.”
With Madison Logic you can monitor what content your target accounts consumed, when, and where. By integrating that data with your marketing systems, you’d be able to quickly spot which buyers are demonstrating high intent and are ready for a call or an offer. Armed with content consumption patterns you have a pretty good idea of what you should do to deepen brand preference or get on their radar screen. “Think of MadisonLogic as one great big data warehouse that captures where B2B buyers go and what content they consume,” shared Burton.
The secret sauce of Madison Logic is in their ever growing network of publishers. “We create a co-op with publishers,” states Burton. “But it goes against the guard who believe in hoarding their data.” While some may cite privacy or creep-factor as issues with this approach, Burton believes it’ll reduce spamming, cold-calling and opt-outs because he believes the B2B marketing industry is at an inflection point.
Some big brands and agencies are using Madison Logic for behavioral segmentation and spotting warm leads. More advanced customers are integrating Madison Logic with their marketing automation system to be more prescriptive in their micro-segmented demand generation, nurturing and lead retargeting campaigns.
Finally, B2B marketers and agencies have credible data to drive relevant, meaningful conversations at the right time.