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How to leverage intent and engagement in the buying cycle



How to leverage intent and engagement in the buying cycle

“Buyer intent signals are a collection of indicators that tells me whether the account that I am targeting is relevant to my brand or relevant to one of my offerings,” said Hussam AlMukhtar, Senior Director of Strategic Marketing for B2B intelligence platform ZoomInfo, at our recent MarTech conference.

“Unlike first-party website engagement, intent signals are different in the sense that they are collected from third-party applications or a third-party content that I as a brand do not have access to,” he added.

Marketers can collect buyer intent data from each place they interact with customers. It can come from product reviews, message boards, blog comments, case studies, general news articles and more. Unfortunately, many marketers fail to act on this wealth of data and integrate it into their campaigns.

buyer intent signals
Source: Hussam AlMukhtar

“94% of buyers are conducting some form of online research before getting to me as a brand,” AlMukhtar said, speaking figuratively. “That’s important because my ability to close a deal could be up to 74% if I were to be the first brand to reach a decision-maker. Given the importance of this signal, marketers have been trying to understand how to use it.”

Here are three ways marketers can better understand and leverage this valuable intent data to improve the customer buying cycle.

Review your brand’s customer buying cycle

The buying (or purchase) cycle is a visualization that tracks customers as they move through the sales funnel to reach the purchasing stage. And it’s the brand’s responsibility to guide them at each touchpoint.

“These tactics and programs have a shared responsibility across all of them and individually as well,” said AlMukhtar, “which is to generate awareness for the brand and the products and offers to effectively generate intent.”

buyer cycle illustration
Source: Hussam AlMukhtar

Consumers perform a good amount of self-education before and during the buying cycle, often developing their own processes irrespective of the brand. It’s up to marketers to align their buying cycles with these processes to meet customer needs and retain leads. They need to understand where the customer is coming from.

“Our buyers are fairly tech-savvy and, more importantly, they’re privacy-conscious,” he said. “They figured out that opening an email could be tracked, that visiting a website could be tracked and attributed — they may not want that and may go around it.”

Use intent as a measurement unit

AlMukhtar described a helpful strategy he uses to measure the intent of customers within the buying cycle. By creating a table that divides customers into “intent groups,” he showed how marketers can determine each lead’s propensity to purchase: “These KPIs can be categorized into these three different units: ‘no intent,’ ‘some intent’ and ‘high intent.’ And we can use metadata that comes from these signals.”

chart detailing buyer intent measuring process
Source: Hussam AlMukhtar

It’s ultimately the marketer’s decision as to what determines intent level, but it should be based on specific actions customers take throughout the lead cycle, such as clicking a call-to-action button, downloading a white paper, etc. Once the results are categorized, marketing teams can more easily apply the intent insights to their campaign strategies.

“When I set up this table, I can then take the outcome of these units — the ‘no intent,’ ‘some intent’ and high intent’ — and apply it on top of the account-based funnel,” AlMukhtar said. “Then I can come up with an engagement matrix that allows me to start looking at what kind of campaigns can I execute for these different cohorts.”

Develop a customer engagement matrix

The engagement matrix framework builds on data gathered from the intent measurement table, mapping customer intent scores to actionable engagement steps. Each action item can be custom-built for the cohort in question based on how their intent score.

customer engagement matrix table
Source: Hussam AlMukhtar

“If I were to take the cohort of unengaged accounts with ‘no intent,’ I might want to put them into a high-speed digital program that has the objective of generating new leads, and moving an account from ‘no intent’ to ‘low intent’ or ‘high intent,’ said AlMukhtar.”

Categorizing customers in the buying cycle this way can enable marketers to transform intent insights into more effective campaign tactics.

“Lining up the intent metrics across your account funnels helps marketers understand where they can maximize spend efficiency and where they can allocate their dollars,” he said.

About The Author

Corey Patterson is an Editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he covers SEO and PPC to help marketers improve their campaigns.

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Sneak Peek: The MozCon 2023 Speaker Line-Up



Sneak Peek: The MozCon 2023 Speaker Line-Up

The year may slowly be wrapping up but we’ve got an extra special, early gift to share before you log off that laptop and put away your favorite travel mug.

We’re thrilled to announce the first 19 extraordinary speakers that will be taking the MozCon 2023 stage in Seattle this coming August (in alphabetical order).

Snag your Super Early Bird tickets!

Meet the speakers

Amanda Jordan (she/her)

Director of Digital Strategy, RicketyRoo
@amandatjordan | @ricketyroo

Amanda is passionate about helping complex, large businesses improve their local visibility. Her background includes working with clients in the legal, health, financial, and home services industries.

Andi Jarvis (he/him)

Strategy Director, Eximo Marketing
@andijarvis | @EximoMarketing

Andi is the Founder and Strategy Director of Eximo Marketing, a marketing strategy consultancy based in the UK. Eximo works with established manufacturers who want to grow their business via direct to consumer. Andi also hosts the Strategy Sessions podcast.

Brie E. Anderson (she/her)

Owner, BEAST Analytics

Brie E Anderson is an Analytical Nerd with a Soft Spot for Strategy. She’s spent the last 10 years helping businesses of all sizes execute data-driven strategies to increase ROI. Today, she runs BEAST Analytics, a digital marketing analytics consultancy.

Carrie Rose (she/her)

CEO & Founder, Rise At Seven
@CarrieRosePR | @RiseAtSeven

Carrie Rose, Founder of leading Global Search-First Creative Agency Rise at Seven both driving and facilitating search demand for global brands operating in 4 locations across the world including UK, US and EU

Chris Long (he/him)

VP of Marketing, Go Fish Digital

@GoFishChris | @GoFishDigital

Chris Long is the VP of Marketing for the Go Fish Digital team. He works with unique problems and advanced search situations to help clients improve organic traffic through a deep understanding of Google’s algorithm and web technology.

Crystal Carter (she/her)

Head of SEO Communications, Wix
@CrystalontheWeb | @wix

Head of SEO Communications, Wix, Crystal is an SEO & digital marketer with over 15 years of experience. Her clients have included Disney, McDonalds, and Tomy. An avid SEO communicator, her work has been featured at Google Search Central, Brighton SEO and more.

Daniel Waisberg (he/him)

Search Advocate, Google
@DanielWaisberg | @google

Daniel is a Search Advocate at Google, part of the Search Console engineering team. His job is divided between educating / inspiring the Search community and working with the product’s engineering team to develop new capabilities.

Duane Brown (he/him)

Founder & Head of Strategy, Take Some Risk Inc.

Duane has lived in 6 cities across 3 continents while working with Ecom, DTC and SaaS brands. He now lives in Canada helping brands grow through data, strategy and PPC marketing across search & social ad platforms.

Jackie Chu (she/her)

SEO Lead, Intelligence, Uber
@jackiecchu | @uber

Jackie Chu is currently the SEO Lead, Intelligence for Uber, driving analytics and tooling for the SEO teams globally. She has deep experience in technical SEO, content SEO, ASO and international SEO spanning both B2B and B2C industries.

Jes Scholz (she/her)

Group CMO, Ringier
jes_scholz | @ringier_ag

Group CMO at Swiss media giant Ringier, marketing technologist & mum of two tiny humans. Jes loves to talk about the future of search, smart marketing automation and travel.

Lidia Infante (she/her)

Senior SEO Manager, Sanity
@LidiaInfanteM | @sanity_io

Lidia has been working in SEO for almost a decade, helping businesses in SaaS, media and e-commerce grow online. She has a BSC in Psychology and a Master in Digital Business and is a regular speaker at SEO events such as MozCon, BrightonSEO or WTSFest.

Lily Ray (she/her)

Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research, Amsive Digital
@lilyraynyc | @​​amsive_digital

Lily Ray is the Sr. Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Amsive Digital, where she provides strategic leadership for the agency’s SEO client programs. Lily began her SEO career in 2010 in a fast-paced start-up environment and moved quickly into the agency world, where she helped grow and establish an award-winning SEO department that delivered high impact work for a fast-growing list of notable clients, including Fortune 500 companies.

Miracle Inameti-Archibong (she/her)

Head of Organic Search, John Lewis (Financial Services)

Miracle is Head of Organic Search at John Lewis (Financial Services) and is armed with more than a decade of supporting national, and global brands with technical SEO and data strategy.

Noah Learner (he/him/his)

Product Director, Two Octobers
@NoahLearner | @twooctobers

Noah is a technical marketer, nicknamed the Kraken, who is happiest building SEO tools, automations, data pipelines and communities. When not in the lab, he loves skiing, fly fishing, camping with his family, and walking his dog, Shadow.

Dr. Pete Meyers (he/him)

Marketing Scientist, Moz
@Dr_Pete | @Moz

Dr. Pete is Marketing Scientist for Seattle-based Moz, where he works with the marketing and data science teams on product research and data-driven content.

Ross Simmonds (he/him)

CEO & Founder, Foundation Marketing
@TheCoolestCool | @FoundationIncCo

Ross Simmonds is the founder & CEO of Foundation, a global marketing agency that provides services to organizations all over the world ranging from some of the fastest-growing startups to global brands. He was named one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEO.

Tom Anthony (he/him)

CTO, SearchPilot
@TomAnthonySEO | @SearchPilot

Tom is CTO at SearchPilot, where he leads the engineering & product teams. Tom has been working on the web for over 25 years, and has a PhD in Computer Science. He lives with his wife and 3 daughters in Germany.

Tom Capper (he/him)

Senior Search Scientist, Moz
@thcapper | @Moz

Tom heads up the Search Science team at Moz, providing research and insight for Moz’s next generation of tools. Previously he headed up the London consulting team for SEO agency Distilled, and worked as a chef in a roadside grill.

Wil Reynolds (he/him)

CEO & Vice President of Innovation, Seer Interactive
@wilreynolds | @SeerInteractive

Wil has been leading the charge to leverage “Big Data” to break down silos between SEO, PPC, and traditional marketing — pulling together data from various sources to see the big picture.

Meet the emcees

Cheryl Draper (she/her)

Event Marketing Manager, Moz
@CherylDraper | @Moz

Melissa Rae Brown (she/her)

Learning Team Manager, Moz
@Melissa_R_B_ | @Moz

Ola King (he/him)

User Researcher, Moz
@justolaking | @Moz

From fan favorites to fresh faces, it’s a pretty great start to what’s sure to be the best MozCon yet! We’ll have even more incredible speakers to reveal, including our community speaker lineup, in early 2023.

But don’t wait to snag your tickets! Save up to $600 on MozCon 2023 now with Super Early Bird pricing.

Grab your Super Early Bird tickets!

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