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If you are like most marketers today, you are eager for data that will help you identify consumers who have true buying intent. In the recent past, you may have relied on a proxy of consumer intent that is likely based on insufficient and incomplete data or inaccurate assumptions. But, data-driven marketing continues to grow in adoption because the right data set can provide a sharper view of the opportunities in front of you and a smarter way to execute.

The parameters of recency, frequency, and engagement are the key consumer behaviors that serve to indicate in which stage a consumer resides on their buying journey. The stages they generally travel through include Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action (or AIDA.) You can read about this in more detail in a recent blog by my colleague Lauren Dickstein.

If you are like most marketers today, you are eager for data that will help you identify consumers who are researching online that have true buying intent. In the recent past, you may have relied on a proxy of consumer intent that is likely based on insufficient and incomplete data or inaccurate assumptions.

But, data-driven marketing continues to grow in adoption because the right data set can provide a sharper view of the opportunities in front of you and a smarter way to execute.

As a preview of my session at the upcoming LeadsCon conference in New York, Better Marketing, Better Outcomes with Consumer Intent and Behavioral Targeting, I thought I’d share some of the key points in understanding how you can leverage consumer intent and behavioral targeting to improve your marketing programs.

Use behavioral data to spot potential customers early in their buying journey

One of the most valuable ways that behavioral data can help marketers is in understanding the consumer journey and being able to highlight and measure the important points in the journey.

When the journey begins with the Awareness stage, consumers become aware of a product and if they become interested and move forward, they will likely conduct more online research. They will look at what their options are for purchasing that product, then ultimately move to the phase of narrowing down who to buy from, before ultimately making a final decision. When you have data that shows you the entire journey of each consumer, you can identify where those consumers are in that journey.

Once you know where the consumer sits in their journey, you can market to them appropriately with messaging that coincides with their stage of the journey. And, if you can identify those consumers who are early in their buying journey, you can get on their radar early and stay with them throughout the journey.

Engaging with online consumers in relation to the traditional purchase funnel

Traditionally, the way marketers approach consumers when they don’t have this data is to see most prospects equally, and treat them all the same way top to bottom. At the most, they have a lead score based on the activities these consumers engaged in on their own, first party website, downloading a white paper or attending a webinar. It’s better than nothing, but doesn’t even begin to provide the full picture of their complete buying journey across multiple competitor and third party sites. So, it ends up being more of a spray and pray approach, applying one tactic to those most likely to be in the desired stage.

In actuality, the traditional funnel mirrors the same stages as the online funnel. The notable difference is that you can now engage with your consumers more strategically because you have a sharper view into understanding how their behaviors change as they move through that funnel. With behavioral data, you now have a window into what they are actually doing and what is most important to them at each stage.

Now, with a view into the entire buying journey, marketers are enabled to apply the most effective tactics for each stage of the journey, staying with the consumer throughout and giving them what they want and need along the way.

Incorporating customer intent signals into lead intelligence for better outcomes

Traditional lead scoring is a great start into understanding where consumers are on their journeys. But, that is made far more powerful when you have real intent data for those consumers. When you have behavioral data that indicates where they are in their journey you can intelligently nurture your prospects with the right treatment at the right time.

Behavioral data will indicate how likely each consumer is to buy based on real signals. That same data can inform you that an existing customer is back in market so you can stop them from churning.

Understanding the power of the iterative process

As you continue to collect data for a consumer over time, your ability to identify their in-market status progressively improves. That is the iterative process in a nutshell.

For example, let’s look at the situation where a consumer has purchased auto insurance. They are generally pleased with their policy, but every day that consumer see ads for all the other insurance companies in the marketplace.

This consumer being made more and more aware, and over time begins acting on that awareness and starting to respond to messaging and ads, downloading information, filling out a web form, etc.

Each of these actions the consumer takes become signals that make the picture of the consumer’s journey richer and richer. The marketer then gets smarter and smarter every time he sees a consumer again.

Be sure to attend the session on this topic Better Marketing, Better Outcomes with Consumer Intent and Behavioral Targeting at LeadsCon in New York on Wednesday, August 24 at 9:00-9:50am – and be sure to visit the Jornaya booth (#217.)

For more information on consumer intent, read our eBook Why Intent Matters: Shift to the Consumer Journey to Gain a Competitive Edge.