Professor Plum. Kitchen. Candlestick.
If you’re old like me, you know right away that’s a Clue reference. Clue is a board game in which the point of the game to solve a murder mystery by guessing the right person, in the right place with the right weapon. You also know that Clue requires only a decent memory and some lucky rolls to win. Just like winning at Monopoly requires some lucky rolls and a willingness to buy anything you get the opportunity to buy. I digress.
Here’s a prediction: In the near future, marketing will take a similar approach, requiring top teams to collect vital clues around prospective buyers. Understanding a specific individual (the “who”) and the location or company (the “where”) are two vital data points in targeting the correct audience. The third – and perhaps the most valuable – is buyer intent (the “why” and “when”). Forget the candlestick.
To reach an intended audience, marketers and sales folks will be in a race to uncover a vital clue to the revenue generation game: “When is a customer interested in what I am selling?” In the past, “right-time marketing” was a simpler term to describe best practice around marketing mechanics; for example, the best time of day to send an email. The stakes are now higher. Let’s run through a simple example to understand how valuable “right-time” data can be…
Let’s pretend I’m an IT Manager. I work for a mid-market company with multiple, remote locations. I may or may not be in the market for a virtual server. Now let’s pretend I recently watched a webinar or downloaded a white paper on the best products to manage servers virtually. If you’re in the business of selling server administration software to mid-market companies, this is gold. What information is more critical in targeting the right customer? Without intent data, you’re gambling that the customer has a current need for what you’re selling.
Right person. Right place. Right time.
As a technology, intent data is growing in popularity. Companies such as Bombora have been building out intent data sets for years by partnering with media companies to collect user interactions. By lacing this technology into the customer journey, successive touchpoints can be intelligently automated to optimize customer progress in the buying process.
The next evolution of data-led marketing is upon us. Follow these steps to get involved:
1) Identify potential data sources that signify intent. This could include first-party triggers (someone downloaded something) and – the basis of this article – third party data sets that augment the data you’ve collected.
2) Mix intent-data into your lead scoring, journey map automation or decision-making systems.
3) Build engagement programs and accompanying content around intent-data.
4) Enjoy your success.