Why Purchase Intent Data Outpaces Demographics for Smart Marketers

Michelle Whitehouse

Client Consulting Manager

purchase intent data outpaces demographicsConsumption is intentional; with a little bit of circumstance and serendipity thrown in. But without intention, there is nothing creating forward movement. As marketers, this is something that needs to constantly be top of mind. For years it’s been common practice to rely primarily on demographics as the basis for reaching those who may be interested in a product. But demographics alone just don’t cut it.

To take a lesson from the consumer world, marketers who rely solely on demographics to reach consumers risk missing more than 70% of potential mobile shoppers. Read that again. Now look at the programs you have running—are you taking that risk with how they’re structured? If that’s a yes, I’m sure you’re wondering what’s so wrong with that method. And the answer comes back to intent. Marketing off of demographics alone leads to an untold story—a story with a probable who, but a story that fails to provide the why and the when. Knowing what buyers are looking for, in the exact moment they’re looking for it, is gold…Especially when you have a way to see and act on it.

How intent wins out over demographics for smart marketers

And boy do marketers need to act fast; and strategically. Purchase intent wins out over demographics; and in our fast-paced, digital world—immediacy often wins out over brand loyalty. Think about yourself and your consumer habits—maybe you’re interested in how to decorate a cake and turn to YouTube for a tutorial; or maybe you’re in need of a new coffee machine and open your computer to search. When that need or interest arises, we all rely on these digital sources for answers—or at least for further information to make said decision. These occurrences are intent-filled and are prime-time for marketers to connect with the right who at the right when for the right why.  If Martha Stewart is the first to pop up for that cake tutorial, chances are you’re following Martha’s recipe and, as a result, are led to buying her special cake decorating gadget or two. Well done, Martha’s marketers! But suppose Martha wasn’t on YouTube—suppose she was only on day-time television, when working men and women would miss her; or suppose her recipe and product line was  only in a “woman-centric, 35+ years old” magazine—that’s a lot of viable consumers being ignored.

See how demographics are not the most reliable? Here are a few more stats to bring things to light:

  • 40% of all baby product purchasers live in households without children
  • 56% of sporting goods searchers are female
  • 45% of home improvement searchers are female
  • Only 31% of searchers for video games are men, ages 18-34

Make sure you cover the 5 W’s

5 ws of purchase intent dataSo how do you increase your marketing’s chances of success? Think about your buyer and his or her purchase intent. Try and cover the 5 Ws—who, what, where, when, and why.

  • Be wherever buyers are. 87% of B2B content consumers say that online content has an impact on their vendor selection
  • Be present and recognized long before buyers are ready to engage. Buyers are typically 70% of the way through the buy cycle before engaging with a vendor/sales (SiriusDecisions)
  • Know when the time is right to come knocking. One in three smartphone users have purchased from a company or brand other than the one they intended to because of information provided in the moment they needed it. (Think with Google)
  • Provide personalized solutions when the opportunity arises. 71% of buyers expect content to be directly relevant to their current project (TechTarget 2015 Media Consumption Report)

Don’t fall a victim to the statistics due to a one-dimensional approach. Fail to recognize intention and intend to fail. Be as strategic as possible in your marketing efforts and arm yourself with as much data on your prospects as possible. And if you are working with a data partner/provider, make sure you understand all of your data sources as not all purchase intent data is created equal. If you need help in this area, we have a solution to operationalize purchase intent for immediate action that marketers just like you have seen success with.

We would love to hear how you are putting intent data to use in your marketing strategies and campaigns. Feel free to leave a comment or connect with me on LinkedIn.


Racing and 5 W’s images via Shutterstock

marketing enablement, marketing intelligence, Priority Engine, purchase intent data, technology purchase intent

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