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Cristina Nikolov Senior Sales Manager iotec

The Rise of Intent Marketing

Intent marketing has become the buzzword in the past year but do brands really understand what it involves and the benefits it provides?

Intent marketing is the act of identifying and then targeting consumers’ signals of intent, it helps determine what it is they really want or need at any given moment. Intent considers not only who a brand’s real audience is, but how they behave and what is influencing them at a particular moment in time. According to Network Research, when brands want to search for new audiences, attitudinal targeting is three times more accurate than demographic targeting. Attitudinal targeting is achieved through real-time intent marketing strategies. 

Advertising used to be about roughly matching a brand’s audience with a demographic and then matching that demographic with a relevant category or publication, however this assumptive targeting has obscured media buying for far too long. Rather than purely finding audiences based on assumptions, intent marketing identifies and targets signals of intent. In fact, research conducted by Millward Brown indicates that as many as 70% of potential mobile shoppers could be missed if brands fail to identify intention.

If brands rely solely on audience data to reach their customers, they will risk missing great swathes of potential shoppers. Take long haul flights as an example. The people they may be targeting with audience data may have been on a flight recently and have no intention of purchasing another while never targeting the multitude of irregular flyers out there.

Intent marketing, when combined with machine learning capabilities, enables marketers to reach audiences that are showing signs that they’re interested in that particular product or service at scale.

On the flip-side of this, however, scale could be a detriment to programmatic marketing if not managed properly. Brands have access to more people, more data and more insights than ever before, but this has led to mass data aggregation and assumptive audience targeting. The misuse of aggregated audience data creates real-time targeting mistakes, sloppy marketing and unhappy consumers who have been categorised and targeted incorrectly.

Partly this issue is caused by the reliance on third party data - something that the industry needs to move away from. Third party data is notoriously of variable quality and, by using it brands are only making an assumption about a user based on actions from their recent past but have no insight into what they will do, or what they may want next. Their level of scale diminishes and their marketing efforts reach the same audience group over and over again. 

Instead of relying on the classic cookie, brands should be considering using technology that looks to the future, makes predictive decisions from constant learnings and delivers a relevant message, in a right environment to a person who’s showing signs of interest at a specific moment in time.

By leveraging machine learning technology and targeting a consumer's signals of intent, technology platforms will be able to provide transparent and tangible value to clients, their agencies and media platforms. Intent marketing removes any assumption made about a brand’s audience and targets everyone showing signals of intent, everywhere and in real-time. While the technology is learning and optimising, brands will have more time to innovate, create and contribute to their business and development.