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Where Intent Marketing and Content Marketing Meet

High quality content can draw in searches and inspire social shares. If the material is relevant to a company’s targeted audience, it can be used to generate leads. Although unfettered access to the content makes it more discoverable, it’s also possible to grant access to particularly desirable content by requesting an email signup. This increases the company’s ability to pursue leads and engage them further with related content. Sustained brand awareness increases the chances of a sale. But with all of the noise across digital these days, how do you get heard initially? 

It’s unrealistic to expect that good content will be magically discovered. But there are ways to get it seen. Intent marketing and content marketing can work hand-in-glove to deliver the best results. Purchase intent data, in particular, can be used to ensure that the content is actually going to in-market buyers. If they’re at the outset of their customer journey, or at least still open-minded and free from restrictive contractual commitment, then they can be influenced. Those prospects can be hooked with downloadable, valuable content and online resources, particularly if the content answers a question that is already in their minds or helps to solve a problem they’re facing. 

If the content isn’t going to in-market buyers, then the content isn’t actually serving the marketing needs of an organization. It’s just free content. It may be serving some social good by disseminating information, analysis or entertainment. But the content had a specific marketing intention of its own. For it to be further funded, it needs to be aligned with effective conversion techniques, and for that to happen, it needs to be aligned with prospect or intent data. 

In June of this year, Spiceworks, a technology marketplace, announced an expansion of its existing intent-based targeting capabilities. The company’s intent-powered email, content syndication, and advertising products serve a variety of needs across the landscape of tech. Dynamically changing page layouts further increases the likelihood that ads will be seen. 

Tom Rousseau, vice president of marketing and revenue enablement at Spiceworks, told DMN, “Purchase intent data is the key to building a more targeted list of accounts to focus on for your content marketing efforts. Intent data can help marketers identify where potential buyers are in the purchase journey and target in-market buyers with the right content at the right time.” 

Rousseau also stressed that the benefits of this approach can be universally felt. 

He continued, “At the end of the day, an intent-based marketing strategy is a win-win for both sellers and buyers. As a marketer, you surface timely, relevant content to people who are ready to buy, resulting in more closed-won deals. As a buyer, you’re presented with the info you need, right when you need it, saving time and energy during the buying process.” 

By pairing someone’s intent with a specific piece of content, business results can be improved. But by how much? 

Spiceworks recently released its 2019 State of IT Marketing study. The report noted: “The biggest marketing challenges this year are measuring marketing ROI and driving conversions with content.” 

When asked about this assessment, Rousseau responded, “Although we have access to more data than ever before, coming up with a plan to accurately measure which marketing tactics are generating the most results can be a big challenge. For many years, marketers have relied on clicks as an indication of digital marketing success and assigned full credit to either the last asset or the first asset someone clicked before converting. The problem with relying on last-click or first-click attribution is it discounts everything in-between. Marketers need to factor in every piece of content or event that influenced a customer to make a purchase in order to determine what type of content is more likely to lead to a conversion.” 

There could be challenges here. After all, do customers even consciously know everything that influenced them? The gray area will likely endure. But technology helps to illuminate the aspects that can be determined. 

According to the Spiceworks study, purchase-intent targeting methods will become more widely adopted this year, with an expected jump from 29 percent today to 48 percent of B2B companies by 2020. Larger enterprises currently use purchase-intent targeting at higher rates than smaller businesses.

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