We were promised flying cars.
Remember when we were promised a future that looked like the Jetsons with pushbutton meals and a robot in every home? Technology was going to solve our problems and simplify our lives in ways we could only imagine.
Marketing was promised similar advances. One of the saving graces of marketing technology solutions has been the idea that a combination of data and analytics would magically deliver an unprecedented ability to better understand our customers’ needs and accurately predict when and what they planned to purchase. Intent data was going to enable marketers to see where a customer was in the buyer’s journey and provide an accurate view into what their most valuable clients’ behavior would be.
The application of data and advertising certainly hasn’t been perfected– we’ve all experienced data gone wild. Who hasn’t had an ad that follows you around the internet for items that you’ve already purchased or observed embarrassing gaffes like pitches for cruise tickets alongside news articles about sinking ships?
But, intent data is increasingly being used to help marketers across a range of industries to identify where their best customers are in the purchase journey. Getting this right isn’t easy. There are new complexities to take into account, including the continuous morphing of the buyer’s journey – which is much less of a linear path than it was previously. Buyers now have dozens of tools to educate themselves about solutions and increasingly do a significant percentage of research before reaching out to their short list of vendors. The window of time we have to reach the buyer becomes increasingly smaller.
Jonathan Martin, CMO of Pure Storage, understands this challenge as well as anyone. Jonathan notes that most marketers are trying to solve a simple equation: understanding where someone is in the buyer’s journey and what that person is most likely to do next, in near-real time. Cracking that code allows his team to put highly personalized and highly targeted offers in front of potential customers. That’s how Pure Storage is using intent data and closing deals at the same time. Jonathan has a sophisticated point of view on infusing content with insights.
Successful marketing requires an understanding of both the behavior and the psychology of the buyer. David Messina, SVP of Product and Corporate Marketing at Docker and I talked about how he defines great marketing at Docker as “when psychology meets technology.” David hits on the importance of defining your buyer’s persona to ensure that you market to your customer authentically. He’s focused on understanding the value of applying insights and data and making sure it resonates at an emotional level with the people that are using your products.
When done well, analyzing and applying intent data is driving success for marketers.
Fred Studer, CMO at Gigamon and I had a great discussion about how he and his team are applying their insights to intent data. To paraphrase Fred, being able to correlate the intent data from current customers with the audiences you want to sell to is incredibly powerful.
I’m fascinated by how marketers are using insights, intent and engagement to be successful.
We may not have gotten flying cars, but advances in intent data bring us one step closer to marrying the art and science of marketing.
At IDG, we’re always looking for innovative ways to help technology marketers meet their goals.
I’d love to hear how you’re using intent data to improve your marketing. You can reach me at @joshdlondon.