Only 28% of marketing professionals report having an intent data strategy that is in place and measurable, despite having a largely positive outlook on the use of intent data. This is according to a recent study [download page] from Ascend2 that takes a close look at how companies are using intent data, including their goals and challenges.
The B2B and B2C marketers surveyed indicated that identifying new accounts to target is the primary goal for using intent data, cited by more than half (52%). However, close to half (45%) of respondents also said that a primary goal is aligning sales and marketing with intent data. This is a positive sign after the past and ongoing challenges marketing and sales have encountered when it comes to communication or setting key accounts to target.
The study also takes a look at what marketers think are the most actionable ways to use intent data. Primarily, it is being used for targeting and personalization, including delivering targeted ad content (50%) and providing a more personalized experience for prospects and customers (47%). Other actionable uses include email marketing (37%), crafting messaging/content (34%) and account-based initiatives (28%).
The majority (61%) of those surveyed are using a combination of first- and third-party data, but nearly one-third (31%) are using first-party data alone. This is as other research has found that an increased share of marketers are making collecting more first-party data a priority this year.
The State of Intent Data Usage
When it comes to having a plan for intent data use, not all marketers feel that they have a strategy in place. Granted, nearly 3 in 10 (28%) say they have a strategy that is in place and measurable, and 18% are currently rolling a strategy out, but that leaves slightly more than half currently without one. This includes those who are planning to create a strategy in the next 12 months (23%), those who are interested but have not started the process (15%), and those who have no plans to use intent data (16%).
Fortunately, the overwhelming majority (91%) of respondents are experiencing some level of success from their use of intent data. This includes about two-thirds (65%) whose intent data strategy has been somewhat successful and more than one-quarter (26%) for whom it has been very successful (best-in-class).
That said, on the way to success, marketers are experiencing some challenges, with the biggest challenge cited as data quality (50%), followed by making intent data actionable (40%) and data security (38%).
Following from this top challenge of data quality, it figures that quality of data emerged as the most important attribute of an intent data solution or vendor, by some margin (64%). Ease of implementation (43%), source of data (36%) and integration into existing workflows (33%) were also important attributes for respondents.
Importantly, regardless of what stage respondents indicated that they were at in terms of planning or implementing an intent data strategy, some 94% of respondents agreed to some extent that using intent data will give marketing and sales teams a competitive advantage in the year ahead. This includes 4 in 10 (38%) who strongly agree.
The study tallies with research by TOPO from 2020 that found intent data to be the fastest-growing martech category in high-growth companies.
Read the full report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a January 2021 survey of 304 marketers across B2B and B2C channels, 71% of whom work at companies with more than 50 employees.