New Insight on B2B Purchase Intent Data – Lessons Learned from Marketo

Steve Niemiec

Chief Operating Officer & Chief Revenue Officer

b2b purchase intent dataRecently, I came across this article from Marketo on how to assess the relevancy of third party B2B intent data. It provides a good rundown on B2B purchase intent data, the power it possesses and most importantly, what to look for in providers and some of the gotchas to be aware of.

I found this especially insightful as the ‘intent’ market moves from the peak of hyper-inflated expectations and from a relative ‘landscape’ of unknowns to being more normalized into work-streams. Specifically, it helps give marketers clarity around who’s got the ‘best’ intent with an emphasis on placing value on having the right data sources. This is a very important thing to understand because if you have been involved in the intent market at all within the last year or two, all that most providers talked about with intent was the size and scale of the data pools — often marketers were paying very little attention to where these signals were coming from or how they were gathered.  We saw (and still do) have companies who refuse to even accurately tell you where their intent comes from and rely on information gathering methods such as web scraping, unreliable IP lookup and more without knowing or having context to what the user is actually researching on.

Some of these methods are covered  extensively by Marketo as well as providing a comprehensive list of questions that marketers must ask to determine how effectively their intent data providers can support their specific marketing use cases. In the spirit of true transparency, I thought it would be helpful for our readers to understand how TechTarget answers these questions.

9 essential questions to ask your intent data provider – How TechTarget stacks up

#1 – What data sources do you provide? What websites/online communities/social networks are you getting this data from?

Directly observed user and company data sourced from the largest technology B2B destination for user-initiated research.  According to Searchmetrics, TechTarget is the # 1 highest growth domain in B2B technology and the 46th largest growth domain on the web. Our search authority is unparalleled – ranking against over 750K key word topics all specific to B2B. Our intent data is derived from more than 10,000 granular IT related topics. The author brings up the point of publisher networks having quality intent signals but can be lacking with respect to reach – this certainly not the case with TechTarget.

#2 – Are you providing account/company level data or individual contact level data?

We provide both:

  1. Our Company level data includes topic interest, sub topic interest, vendor consumption, activity location
  2. As far as contacts, deliver only active members on the TechTarget network interested in specific content at the sub-topic level.  What is an ‘active member?’ It is someone researching on the exact topic or related topics you care about.   Again, these are active members who are fully opted in and self-selected.  I stress this because these are not names that others providers purchased and tagged into a program. A lot of other intent providers don’t own audiences and don’t own sites. Therefore they’re left to supplement with contacts from other sources vs. actually provide the directly observed users who initiated the intent.

#3 – Has this data been verified by humans (i.e. via registration)?

Yes. It is user generated from 100% opted-in users.

#4 – How granular is the data? Can you provide me data on specific actions people have taken (i.e. an entire Tweet, verified intent to purchase CRM in next 12 months) or do you just provide data at the topics/category level?

Yes – Intent data is delivered by sub topic level, within 90 days, specific to topic, content, competitive, team buying behavior and activity.

#5 – Do you have your own technology to collect the data or do you license your data from other providers? What’s your specific data gathering methodology (i.e. website crawlers/scrapers, cookies, device tags, reverse IP address lookup, user volunteered data, API access from public sources like Twitter)?

We have had our own proprietary technology for 11 + years to collect data and that data is delivered to our customers through our Priority Engine purchase intent insight platform.  None of TechTarget’s data is sold or licensed externally. What’s valuable about our data is that it’s directly observed – we see what each user does at any point in time.  We don’t need to rely on IP lookup, we don’t need to scrape websites that aren’t detailed with specific project related information.  What’s very unique to how we approach intent is that individual user behavior is also organized and analyzed by company level/location and mapped across 18 + intent indicators to inform TechTarget of not just which users are in-market, but the full scale of buying team behavior at an account.

#6 – What is your data match rate? What percentage of contacts in a typical CRM or marketing automation database can be matched back to the data providers’ database?

Dependent on the company and market.   Organizations are sourcing thousands of net-new names into their nurture flows currently.  We stress the importance of delivering net new, but also leveraging intent to inform and activate prospects and accounts already within your system .  We all live in the world of leads ‘stalling out’ in nurture flows.  Regardless of if they are net new or matched, we can inform your workflows and determine who has the most value to you and your sales teams. Our TechTarget Priority Engine names often outperform vendor CTR’s and engagement rates through nurture.

#7 – How often do you update or refresh this data?

Every week.

#8 – What format does the data come in? Can I consume it through direct integration with my marketing automation or CRM system? Is it available through an API?

We provide direct integration into CRM and marketing automation systems and all data is accessible through TechTarget’s Priority Engine portal as well. Integrated marketing campaigns can also  be executed simultaneously which allows you to see the addressable universe of companies actively researching solutions as well as reach active buyers with your content.

#9 – Can I use this data to automatically trigger workflows in my system of engagements? For example, can I use this data to put contacts/leads into different email tracks, for programmatic advertising, or use this data in my lead scoring system?

Yes, through custom integration you can utilize TechTarget data to enhance workflows, build ABM campaigns, as well as streamline nurture flows.

More information on comparing B2B intent providers

I hope this information is helpful to you as you navigate the intent data landscape. For a deeper dive and to help you compare specific B2B intent providers, please check out this video and white paper.

b2b purchase intent data, b2b purchase intent insight, Marketo

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