Approaching Intent Data: Why the Disillusionment?

Intent data is nothing new, and neither are the advantages it’s utilization offers. B2C companies have continued to push the envelope of what intent data can offer and how it can revolutionize their marketing efforts. So why is it that so many B2B major players have ridden on the coattails of this success, rather than approaching intent data in a way that provides new details for each industry, company and even the individual user? Well, Aberdeen does.

Intent’s Humble Beginnings

Years ago, B2C eCommerce retailers realized the abundance of consumer data available to them, and thus, intent data’s first real application began. These retailers started modeling the likelihood (by means of logistic regression) that a consumer would purchase a product based on their browsing history (if a customer added an item to their cart, they are x% more likely to purchase that product). Specific pop-ups — a sudden and inexplicable 5% discount, for example — would show up to nudge the consumer ever-so-slightly to complete their purchase.

The sophistication of the models used and their applications have expanded n-fold since the intent data’s humble beginnings. Presently, its more than likely that you will be presented with a list of a recommended products that were’t even necessarily on your radar, products that may complement your past purchases or even cheaper/higher reviewed substitutes for a product you’ve thought about purchasing.

Moreover, these recommendations now follow you across the web, appearing as banner ads on any given website that offer them, regardless of the content on the website you’re currently browsing. This is all possible because these retailers know exactly who you are and what you like. They can segment individuals based on behavior.

Intent Data Crosses Over Into B2B

Although the B2C space has all but mastered the usage of intent data, the B2B space has only recently (5 or so years) begun its journey.

One common approach by some the major players in the space is to tag a set webpages and monitor activity across them. They can then roll up all the events that correspond to a topic and calculate, for each company, a single score indicating the level of interest in this topic/category. It has been evinced that this approach does in fact yield tangible results for many companies. Nonetheless, enthusiasm among users has already begun to decline, with many experts commenting that this emerging technology has entered the trough of disillusionment.

I would argue (and frankly, do) that this isn’t the case — that problem with disillusionment of intent data is not with the data itself, but with the single-minded approach the major players have taken.

What is desperately needed is comprehensive research that evaluates the data in new ways — research that is incredibly valuable in its own right, but more importantly, informs and betters the current scoring algorithms. Rather than relentlessly pushing the envelope of what is possible (as the B2C space consistently has), the B2B space seems content to rest on their laurels, basking in the glory of being the first open the door.

The dirty truth is that many providers cannot continue to innovate because they simply lack the capability too.

My goal is to change the narrative around B2B intent data. In doing so, I hope that the readers will gain a new appreciation of the data and the power that has still yet to be unlocked.

Do you know which specific companies are currently in-market to buy your product?

Wouldn’t it be easier to sell to them if you already knew who they were, what they thought of you, and what they thought of your competitors?

Good news – It is now possible to know this, with up to 91% accuracy. Check out Aberdeen’s comprehensive report Demystifying B2B Purchase Intent Data to learn more.