ThinkWithGoogle predict that in 2019 one of the highest growth areas in marketing will be around 'Intent'.
Defined as the thoughts and actions that lead a customer toward a particular purchasing event, intent is both something as a vendor you have the power to shape and to measure.
eCommerce giants are already leveraging intent-based optimisation to drive sales, increase conversion rates, and personalise the content being delivered to their consumers. To a similar extent, B2B service providers can immediately start using intent tactics & data in order to fuel growth.
The average B2B buyer is now 67% of the way through the buyer journey before they decide to contact a vendor (SiriusDecisions). If you are not engaged in this dialogue as your customer or prospect is doing their due diligence, then it is likely you will be falling behind your competitors. In the context of highly specialised bids, you want to be involved whilst the project is being scoped, not when it is sent out for tender or an RFP (request for proposal) has been issued.
Two areas you, as a service provider, can improve on are:
1. Generating demand for your service
To 'shift-left' and engage with your buyers earlier in their purchasing cycle, you need to differentiate and raise awareness about your expertise. Whether building online profile, speaking at events, creating content, or having a strong referral network, it is likely you will find a combination of BD (business development) activities will help to position you as the 'go-to' trusted advisor.
2. Reacting to intent-based information
A large part of leveraging intent comes down to understanding. What is it that my customers are struggling with and how are we positioned to address these issues? Identifying what content your customers are engaging with on your website, can be indicative of potential challenges. Going the step further and reacting to this information (whether collected digitally, or in-person) will help you to tailor and personalise your customers' experience with you and your firm. Again, positioning you as the 'go-to' trusted advisors.
Behind the concept of intent data is the understanding that buyers are actively researching products and services online, thereby giving a signal of when and what they want to hear from you.