HomeBlog Intent Monitoring: Investigating Buyer Behavior

Intent Monitoring: Investigating Buyer Behavior

January 24, 2018 | By Kerry Cunningham

  • The interest in intent (prospect behavioral) data is surging in the b-to-b market
  • There are many types of behavioral data – truly understanding a prospect’s intentions may require more than one
  • Intent data is the evidence of interest, and the more evidence marketers compile, the stronger the case for following up

If you are reading this, you are likely a marketer – probably even a demand marketer. And you are probably on – or are receiving updates in one way or another from – the SiriusDecisions blog. So you probably know us already.

Some of you are already SiriusDecisions clients, and you’re here because you keep a steady eye on what we are saying in your areas of interest. But you may also have arrived at this blog post because you did a Web search for content related to intent monitoring in b-to-b. Or you arrived on this page because you follow SiriusDecisions blog posts religiously and see them all irrespective of content. Perhaps you’re a prospect for SiriusDecisions and so have received a communication from our marketing or sales resources that motivated you to come to our Web site and poke around.

There are countless other chains of events and circumstances that could have led you here. Even still, knowing that you are here reading this provides us some insight into your identity and interests. You’re probably not a retired physician sitting on a beach in Maui, or a major league second baseman enjoying a respite from baseball. You are probably not Lebron James. But when we factor in all the possible reasons you might have read this far, we can’t derive many hard and fast conclusions yet.

We would need more information – probably a lot more – such as your name, company, title and other attributes.

Absent that, if we could know that you and/or your colleagues also accessed other blog posts we have published about intent monitoring, we might be able to come to a more certain conclusion that reading this post on intent monitoring was not a fluke.

Furthermore, if we knew that you had tried to access links to gated content on the same subject but had not logged in to view them, we might tentatively infer that you are not a SiriusDecisions client – even without knowing your name and company. But if you didn’t try to access other pages, we might have to concede that the reason you didn’t log in may be that you don’t really care that much. You’re interested, but not type-in-my-password interested.

On the basis of this first-party intent data, we think (but aren’t certain) that you are interested in intent monitoring and you are not already a client. Is there other behavior that might help us understand you better?

Yes – there is a broad category of third-party data. For example, if we knew where else you went on your digital travels, that might help a lot. Currently, two of the top five search results for intent monitoring in Google link back to SiriusDecisions blog posts. But if you had conducted that search, you would have also seen paid results from intent monitoring vendors and other commentators in the b-to-b marketing and sales ecosystem. Knowing that you also visited other content on the internet related to intent monitoring would have further cemented our conclusion that not only are specifically interest in intent monitoring, but also that this interest is not a casual one.

Still, if you came to our Web site and read this blog post, and even if you did a search and followed links to other related content, does that mean that this a serious business issue for you?

Perhaps not. Perhaps you did just hear something about intent monitoring, thought it was a curious term, and indulged your curiosity for an hour or so and were done with it. To really know whether we should devote our resources to you, we would probably want to see some evidence of sustained interest in the subject. If you returned to our blog, or if we saw that researching behavior over time, then we’d have yet more evidence that this was a serious issue for you.

Finally, because our services are typically purchased by a group of people deciding together to work with us, we would probably want to see some evidence that you are not a lone actor – that your interest in marketing best practices is not unique to you but is something you share with others from your organization. So we would probably want to look for evidence that there is more searching and content consumption – both first- and third-party – on this topic emanating from your IP address range and your related devices.

While we are accustomed to thinking of prospect behavioral data as leads, there’s a lot more to it. There’s first-party, de-anonymized Web traffic, third-party de-anonymized researching, third-party leads and more. And these types of behavior help us better understand who is and is not interested in our solutions and the categories in which we operate. While each form of behavioral data is useful by itself, the real power is in combining them.

So, we recommend that you start exploring how the different layers of behavioral data I discussed might improve how you understand, prioritize and communicate with your prospective buyers.

Kerry Cunningham

Kerry Cunningham is a Senior Research Director of Demand Creation Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Kerry has more than 20 years of experience in b-to-b demand creation and management, spanning a broad array of industries and markets. Follow Kerry on Twitter @KerrySirius.

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