The meaning and importance of intent marketing

businessman man person arrow
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

Intent marketing aims to affect prospect purchase decision by analyzing consumer behavior. By leveraging intent marketing, 64% of companies reported improvement in return on investment and conversion rates.

What is Intent Marketing?

Intent marketing is a marketing practice relying on identifying and meeting the intent of the customer. Intent refers to what customers want or need in a given period. Intent-based marketing helps marketers determine a brand’s real audience and their purchase behavior at any particular time. 

How does intent marketing work?

Intent marketing works through intent data. Intent data reflects users’ digital footprints when they search a keyword on a search engine, visit a website, or interact with content on social platforms. Intent data sources include:

  • search engines
  • site data
  • off-site web activity
  • point-of-sale
  • CRM
  • social data
  • content consumption data

Search marketing (SEO and SEO marketing) is a well-known way to achieve intent marketing. In search marketing, potential customers’ intentions are detected in their online behavior. The sites they visit or revisit, the amount of time they spend on a specific type of content, and keywords related to certain contents reveal their intent. 

By analyzing this intent data over time, businesses can identify customer behavior trends by analyzing the customer’s journey starting from recurring search engine queries to the engagement and clicks within a website, and the overall conversion rate (e.g. rate of purchase, appointment, sign, or in-store visit).

In addition to examining their customer intent data, marketers also track more comprehensive trends like intent indicators in search. “Buy”, “visit” and “purchase” are explicit keyword which reflect intents to execute. Based on these variables, a customers behavior can be predicted.   

Why is intent marketing important?

The interest in intent marketing has seen a growth in the past ten years as businesses are trying to:

Understand the buyer environment

An individual’s final purchase is influenced by various actors apparent at different transaction stages. The entire process that starts with consumer’s necessity to purchase a product/ service contains engagement with google search, online market place search and social media ads. By analyzing intent data, marketers can reach these purchase-influencing features earlier. For example:

According to Google data, 40% of all baby product shoppers live in households without children. Therefore, businesses solely focus on demographics to sell baby products misses 40 % of customers.  

Optimize their reach out strategies:

By adopting a marketing strategy that utilizes intent data, businesses can find out what their target customers are browsing for and what they are making inquires about. By doing so, they can optimize their reach out strategy and target them with customized campaigns and ads.  

Increase ROI

With intent-based marketing, businesses concentrate on the right leads at the right moment; they maximize earnings by driving more conversions. Therefore, by pushing up an intent-based marketing budget, companies increase their ROI. For example, Google reports that ads relied on intent data provide 30% higher consideration lift and 40% higher purchase intent lift.

Optimize marketing content

Intent-based marketing provides more insight into the customer buying journey. For example, businesses discover buyer intent keywords and can update their content strategy accordingly.   

Improve customer purchase experience

Businesses can use intent data, which includes customers’ reviews and rankings, to understand problems that customers undergo, product/service features they are interested in, etc. By meeting these specific needs in sales processes, businesses can improve their prospective buyers’ purchase experience.