Buyer intent and modern marketing
The 2022 guide to buyer intent
Understanding consumer behavior has been a key factor in successful business for ages. From store layouts to strategic fresh baked bread, understanding consumer interests and actions is what sets apart the game-changing strategists from the money-suck marketing campaigns.
Despite being a key factor to success, however, the tools and approaches to understanding consumer behavior and intent seem to change quite often. That’s because, while the goal is ultimately the same, the game has been constantly evolving.
Most recently, the socially-distanced push towards a stronger e-commerce space has changed the nature of consumer intent and behavior tremendously, and these trends are certainly here to stay.
Let’s look at what buyer intent actually is, and how navigating it will be crucial in 2022.
Buyer intent 101
We get ads all the time. More importantly, we get ads that we don’t read all the time. The ultimate weapon of a marketing strategy would be to be able to get the right ad in front of the right person at precisely the right time — food delivery ad for somebody who’s hungry, ridesharing service for somebody who’s just missed the bus, a marketing service ad for somebody researching buyer intent, etc.
While mind-reading is still, sadly, out of the picture, we do have the next best thing: buyer intent. Intent data, simply put, is information regarding the intent of different consumers, whether it be an intent to buy or to read and learn. This data can then be used to finely tune marketing campaigns and, more specifically, to employ targeted marketing at just the right time for just the right person.
There are generally two major types of intent data. First-party intent data is collected by the users on your own platform. This behavior is often tracked via cookies and software like Google Analytics and can give useful insight into how consumers are engaging with your platform — specifically what they are interested in and what they aren’t interested in. If users are browsing your prices frequently but never making it to checkout, it might pay off to employ some targeted marketing (or to check if your checkout button is broken).
Third-party intent data is collected off of your platforms, such as user social media feeds and other websites. While first-party data is very important, third-party data is crucial. You might be able to work wonders for consumers on your platform, but unless they’re already loyal customers, the majority of their research pre-purchase is going to be happening off of your site. This means that, for the best conversion rates and marketing success, you’ll have to be able to win over consumers before they’ve even visited your site. Third-party data is the key to pulling this off.
Any data scientist will tell you: data is important, but it’s more or less useless on its own. Collecting data is a tricky job in and of itself, but once you’ve got the data, interpreting it correctly is everything. In other words, once you have the numbers regarding what potential customers are looking at on and off of your site, what blogs they’re reading, whether or not they’re adding things to the cart, etc., then you have to make those numbers tell a story.
For example, you shouldn’t just send targeting product ads to everybody visiting your website. If someone is exclusively reading your blog content, they’re more likely to be learning for research’s sake than with an immediate intent to buy. Sending them ads will likely just be missing the mark. However, if somebody is reading your blogs and browsing your product selections (looking at the prices), they might be an ad away from a purchase.
Interpreting data is an easy concept, but it can be quite complicated in practice. Luckily, there are plenty of tools that can make this simpler, such as LeadSift, Zoominfo, and LeadFeeder. Having dedicated marketing professionals who are experts in intent data is important too, as well as having reliable resources for further research and learning.
An important focus in 2022
As we’ve mentioned, these trends towards online aren’t going anywhere. While the pandemic certainly presented unprecedented challenges for everybody, it also forced a lot of consumers to consider and explore the virtual market. The shifts in consumer behavior these last two years, then, have included a lot of online research and shopping. As the attitudes around COVID-19 begin to ease in some places, it’s becoming clear that these shifted attitudes aren’t exactly regressing to pre-pandemic shopping attitudes — online is here to stay.
This means that marketing and consumer behavior research will continue to shift towards these virtual tendencies. It also means that accurately collecting and interpreting intent data will be more important in 2022 than ever before.