by Tom Kaneshige. When people are in the market for a product, they give off a symphony of buyer intent signals. Attentive marketers can pick up on these signals and deliver the right content at the right time — the kind of content that leads the buyer down the path to purchase.
Buyer intent signals are the new data that deliver real results. They’re the digital tea leaves for modern-day marketers. According to a new strategic brief from CMO Council, buyer intent data tops the list of most relevant marketing data signals, followed by purchase data and online behaviour data. What makes buyer intent signals so valuable? In a rapidly digitalised customer journey, more and more consumers research online and make buying decisions before meeting a salesperson. It’s more important than ever for marketers to understand and track buyer intent signals in order to take action at the apex of the purchasing decision.
Buyer intent data signals can come from multiple sources, including website and CRM, social media, content consumption, third-party data, search, etc. The most common buyer intent signals come from search in the form of keywords, which change depending on the buying stage. In the awareness stage, buyer intent signals might be a surge around topics and keywords related to general challenges and pain points. In the consideration stage, they might be related to products and service categories. In the decision stage, they might be specific company names, product names and features.
Look for the signals beyond search
But buyer intent signals go well beyond search. Generally speaking, a company takes 32 intent actions before buying, according to LeadSift, a Foundry company. In its report, Visualizing the Buyer’s Journey with Intent, buyer intent signals include engaging with competitors, custom keywords, hiring relevant roles and attending events.
How can “help wanted” listings be a buyer intent signal? Ask sales engagement software vendors. They should be on the lookout for companies ramping up their inside sales teams. By hiring inside sales reps, also known as “digital sellers,” the company will likely need sales engagement software, which digital sellers need to process marketing leads.
As potential customers show buyer intent signals at various stages of the buyer’s journey, marketers can tailor messaging for greater impact. In the case of hiring signals, which occur during the late stages of the buyer’s journey, marketers might want to create and distribute hiring-based content, such as an onboarding checklist or a “who’s who” list to follow on LinkedIn.
Content type matters
The LeadSift report is chock full of such advice. “If a buyer’s been showing intent for a while, focus on more direct channels like hyper-targeted ads and outbound sales,” says the report. “Pay closer attention to first-party channels if third-party signals decrease to check if buyers are still looking.”
Content type matters, too. During the awareness stage, content should be easily digestible and perhaps highly visual. In the consideration stage, gated content such as eBooks and white papers works well. For the critical decision stage, marketers should create case studies, testimonials, detailed vendor comparison guides, and product-centered white papers.
It should be clear by now that buyer intent signals, coupled with the right content, are critical to the success of the modern marketer, who sits in the driver’s seat in the buyer’s journey. All of this calls for a buyer intent data strategy that spans real-time acquisition and analysis of buyer intent signals and personalised content distribution. Do you have one?
Main image credit: Unsplash.com.
Tom Kaneshige is the Chief Content Officer at the CMO Council. He creates all forms of digital thought leadership content that helps growth and revenue officers, line of business leaders, and chief marketers succeed in their rapidly evolving roles.
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