Intent Data: It’s Not the Volume of Signals That Matters – It’s What’s in ‘Em

intent data signalsAs a marketer, I’m super excited about the potential AI and ML promise to help me understand data and take productive action on it. Our editorial team is making significant progress using these techniques to continuously improve CX for our members. At the same time, I’m bothered by all the noise companies are making out there in MarTech/SalesTech categories, because it’s causing unhelpful confusion for customers and prospects. I’m talking specifically about those analytics and data providers who are making claims about access to high volumes of “behavioral signals”, that they claim to be massaging with AI and ML so they can then market the outputs as “purchase intent data”. It’s gotten so bad that our own data analytics team recently came to me saying “we’ve got more than a quintillion signals available, do you think you could start messaging around that?” I took a deep breath and said this: “Let’s never forget people, it’s not the number of signals, it’s what’s in ‘em!” … “Oh yeah,” they said.

Content is Essential Fuel for Intent

Over and over, our data analytics folks have proven to me the strength of our real purchase intent signals. They’re able to do that because our signals originate from the consumption of content on our 140+ hyper-specific websites. These are internet properties built and maintained to support enterprise tech buying decisions. That’s why they lead the world in Google organic search and it’s why more buyers congregate on our sites than anywhere else on the web.

Yes, there are other enterprise tech web properties out there producing valuable insights. But surprisingly few. And even fewer with significant scale. Like us, those with any scale are “walled gardens” – none of us share data with the companies who claim to gather it from “the entire internet”.  No web property generating high value – strongly predictive – data is going to let another company scrape that value away from it. So what are these signal folks are touting?

Millions of Signals – But Where is the Value?

As you and I both know because of our personal web surfing behavior, most web traffic is created by general interest material. Even within our specialized industries, there’s tons of news we all need to keep up with. All of that stuff throws off “signals”. And much of it can be observed by any smart data aggregator out there. But no matter how much of this data you gather or how good your AI/ML capabilities, because the content creating the signals is not purchase decision support content, the data you get can’t productively predict purchase intentions. Yes, strong surges around technology-relevant news topics may provide some value as to which companies might get serious about solving a need in the near term. But the vast majority of the signals openly available on the web are actually of no immediate use at all.

Focus on What Really Matters – Actionable Signals that Actually Indicate a Purchase

That’s why, as the leading provider of real purchase intent data for enterprise tech, our focus continues to be on creating the most useful content possible for enterprise tech buyers. It’s so we can offer them the buying decision support they crave, and so that they, in turn, will give us permission to share data about them with our tech vendor clients.

We’re generating zillions of behavioral signals all the time. The ones you and I need to care about are only those that indicate an impending purchase and on the flipside, the lack of signals that proves that no purchase is soon to happen at an account such that we can prioritize most effectively and focus our best efforts elsewhere.

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