One excellent place for B2B marketers to focus their efforts as we move into 2019 is intent marketing: any marketing that concentrates on what a prospect tells marketers, either directly or indirectly, they need or want at a given point in time. Here are six ways intent marketing can be used to help achieve 2019 goals.
1. Video ad targeting
Video-based content appeals to business customers because they can view it on their phones and don’t have to worry about scrolling or changing text size to make it more readable as they consume the material during their commutes, for example.
A recent survey about content marketing plans found that video was the top B2B content format. More specifically, 64 percent of respondents increased their use of audio/visual material, including webinars and live streams.
Thanks to a recent update from Google, marketers can now push videos ads to prospects on YouTube based on custom intent audiences. To use this new audience option, advertisers create a video ad in Adwords using keywords that prospects may have searched on Google. For example, a company that sells data backup services could target users who recently searched “purchase data backup services” on Google.
2. Increased data volume
The amount of available data, including information about user intent, is expanding rapidly. Experts think the use of intent data by B2B sales teams will take off in 2019 for several reasons. For starters, tools and processes are becoming more streamlined, making it easier to collect and analyze the information. Plus, sales representatives are getting more comfortable working with data.
In B2B marketing, intent data could be used to identify the best time to provide people with content that solidifies their purchasing decisions. When B2B customers do things like download white papers or sign up for mailing lists, intent data software processes those signals and tells marketers how to keep people engaged.
Historically, marketers and sales teams haven’t frequently communicated with each other. In 2019, that needs to change. With the help of intent data, sales teams can fill marketers in on how customers behave. Then, marketing professionals can tweak their tactics as needed.
3. AI, of course
AI presents abundant possibilities in the B2B sector, and it seems that 2019 will be the time when marketers start to capitalize on them in intent marketing efforts. A poll revealed that over half (53 percent) of B2B marketers felt that AI would make marketing more effective in boosting revenue.
Marketers can use AI to analyze the growing volume of available data to better understand users’ intent and predict what marketing materials they will best respond to. AI can enable marketers to predict intent even when a user hasn’t explicitly stated it in a search or by giving a company their contact information. Using AI to analyze data could help marketers uncover more subtle hints about intent as well.
4. And also ABM
The days of appealing to a vast audience through B2B marketing are in the past. ABM is maturing, and numerous tools exist to help marketers succeed with it. ABM involves focusing on a relatively small group of your customers or prospects — usually the top 20 percent that drive revenue growth — and treating them as accounts rather than just as individual buyers (it’s necessary, naturally, to focus on decision-makers in the context of the accounts with which they’re associated).
Intent data is critical to determining which of your customer and prospects are most likely to make substantial purchases. Beyond identifying top accounts, marketers can also use intent marketing to identify the relevant decision makers within a company. They can use it to determine through which channels a prospect might prefer to interact. Combining intent marketing and account-based marketing can make for a highly efficient, precise strategy.
5. Intent-Based Content Marketing
It’s critical that B2B marketers consider intent when crafting their content. Marketing content that matches user intent is likely to perform better on search engines, engage users more effectively and lead to more conversions.
As Google’s algorithm improves, it’s getting better at returning results that match user intent. In other words, if your article gives the searcher what they’re looking for, it’s likely to end up on the first page of results. To improve their content strategy, marketers need to determine which terms prospects are searching and the intent behind those searches. Then, they can craft content that meets that need.
For example, say someone searches “how to choose a logistics provider.” If you write an article that includes that keyword phrase but defines third-party logistics instead of providing a strategy for choosing a provider, you likely won’t rank. If, on the other hand, your article gives step-by-step instructions for selecting a provider, you have a much better chance of ranking. Matching user intent isn’t the only thing Google considers, but it one of the most important factors.
This list should give B2B marketing professionals plenty of inspiration as they plan and execute strategies this year. They should keep in mind that it’s best to adapt the methods to their customers specific, expressed needs for the best results.