Intent Marketing

Why Brands Need to Start Marketing for Intent

By Sarah Pritzker
Monday, January 28, 2019

Why Brands Need to Start Marketing for Intent

Intent marketing is the latest big strategy in the marketing world, and there are some very good reasons for it. Although it might seem like just another option in a large marketing toolkit, marketing for intent is actually an extremely versatile marketing tactic that can and should inform every other marketing tool in use. Here’s why all brands need to start marketing for intent, and how intent marketing makes such a difference.

What is Intent Marketing?

As its name suggests, intent marketing predicts the intent of your potential customer. By using a range of tools including SEO, SEM, website and social data, machine learning, AI, and behavioral analytics, it’s possible to discover what each internet user is looking for—or to put it another way, their intent. That insight can power better and more personalized marketing campaigns, hitting the right keywords, channels, and special offers which directly respond to your customer’s needs and desires.

To uncover intent, marketers use machine learning tools to analyze deep data, drawn from each user’s pattern of touches on your site and marketing channels, and the queries that they ask on Google and other search engines.

Google itself uses machine learning from user queries to deliver a better user experience. Predicting intent is how Google understands whether you want to see ‘pizza recipes’ or ‘pizza takeout places’ when you Google ‘best pizza,’ for example.

Which Brands Can Use Intent Marketing?

One of the best things about intent marketing is that it’s relevant for every single brand. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, whether you sell high-turnover consumer goods or high-end luxury items, services or products, you can harness intent marketing to power your campaigns to success.

With intent marketing, you’ll usually divide each customer into 3 types of intent. Once you know which intent you’re dealing with, you can target all of your marketing efforts toward that step of the customer journey.

The first type is informational intent. This means that the internet user is looking for information, but hasn’t yet decided whether or not to make a purchase. For example, if you sell baby bath products, a search for ‘Is baby soap safe for newborns,’ ‘best new baby gifts,’ or a visit to your website blog post about baby soap for newborns, all show informational intent.

The next type is transactional or commercial intent. This is when a potential customer has decided to buy a specific product but might not have chosen where to buy it. A search for ‘newborn baby soap special offer’ shows transactional intent, because the user wants to buy baby soap and is looking for the best place to do that.

The last type of intent is navigational intent. That’s when a customer has both decided to buy baby soap, and where to buy it. A Google search for ‘Baby soap Amazon’ shows that the customer intends to buy soap from Amazon.

How Does Intent Marketing Help Businesses Succeed?

When you understand intent, you can succeed better in a number of ways:

  • Define your ideal customer more accurately. With insight into the customer journey through intent marketing, you gain a much more correct understanding of your ideal customer, which means that your marketing materials can be far more accurate.Marketing that’s based on demographics risks overlooking key customers, just because they don’t fit your assumptions. For example, according to research by Google, 40% of people who buy baby products live in a household without a baby. If all of your marketing materials are aimed at parents, you’ll probably lose a large portion of this business.
  • Improve your content marketing. With so much content flooding the web, yours could easily get drowned out. Over 4 million blog posts are published every day! Content marketing is now a winner-takes-all situation—if a piece of content ranks highest on the SERP for a given query, it’ll get more visitors, which reinforces the search engine’s view of it as the most appropriate content to answer that question.
    When you use intent marketing tools, you can tailor your content very accurately to provide the most appropriate answer to a given search query. This way your content ranks higher on SERP, and it will rank highest for precisely those users who are most likely to convert.
  • Break out of the funnel. You’re probably used to thinking about potential customers based on their position in the marketing funnel. The trouble is that this is based on the assumption that every customer follows more or less the same buyer journey—beginning by researching information about a product, then narrowing down their options to decide on the best product, and then making a purchase.As pointed out by Google’s own research, today’s customer doesn’t take a linear journey to making a purchase. A customer is likely to research, choose a brand, then step back and research some more, and only make a purchase several weeks or months later, based on something else entirely. When you follow a marketing funnel assumption, you might miss opportunities to convert a potential buyer. Intent marketing gives you clear data about when a user could convert so that you can send a final push ad or social media reminder and maximize your sales.
  • Deliver real-time personalization on a granular level. Intent marketing harnesses machine learning so that you can personalize all of your marketing campaigns at scale. Deep personalization is the holy grail of marketing—being able to harmonize push notification, email marketing, content marketing, social media ads, mobile ads, and more in a way that is fully customized to each user, yet focused on a single specific goal, is highly successful.
  • Be the first to make contact with the customer. According to research by Forrester, 85% of the time, the first business to make contact with a potential customer is the one that makes the sale. This makes it very valuable to be able to predict who is most likely to make a purchase from your business so that you can be the first touchpoint for that user as they begin their purchase journey. Intent marketing gives you that insight, so you can be the first port of call for the buyers who are most likely to convert.

Marketing for Intent is the Most Successful Type of Marketing

Intent marketing is highly dynamic and is effective across every vertical, campaign type, and customer demographic. Because it’s more accurate at identifying potential customers, it brings a higher conversion rate. Intent marketing is the most successful marketing strategy for every business, so there’s every reason for brands to start marketing for intent straight away.

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