William Bernbach, a pioneer in the American advertising industry, said, “You cannot sell a man who isn’t listening.” It is one of the fundamental criteria that defines a marketer’s strategy while designing a campaign. The degree of success is usually determined by its ability to engage the customers and eventually convert them.

Marketers use various tools to analyze the pool of audience engagement data. This data is collected through first-party sources like websites, landing pages, email subscriptions, or using cookies on third-party properties. Consequently, the nature of audience insights derived needs to be processed differently while using them in various marketing campaigns.

In our recent post, we spoke a bit about the differences in data types marketers rely on in their marketing. Marketers inadvertently shift towards using third-party data for most of their marketing campaigns. Third-party data provides detailed demographic audience insights and helps marketers to understand whether their customers are listening to them. It also speaks about customers’ interests, behavior, activities, and journey across products and tries to form a complete buyer’s persona. 

Customer intent in SaaS marketing

Although third-party data provides valuable insights into customer preferences and urges them towards the end of the conversion cycle, there is an issue. Audience interest data usually doesn’t translate into conversion in the B2B landscape. Why? Because demographic seldom narrates the complete story about the customers. 

As a result, marketers depend more on guesswork based on audience interests while designing their campaigns. They create marketing communications based on the audience preference, therefore spending more ad dollars without impactful conversions. True, conversions may happen, but it becomes difficult to realize what actually got them to visit your page. This is where purchase intent makes more sense while targeting the audience. 

There are a few differences between customer intent and interest.  The former speaks about the things that the customers like, and the latter indicates the things that they want or are willing to buy. Thus, a customer might like to listen to John Denver or eat at a barbecue, but collecting that data would not help marketers convert them. 

Undermining demographic data or customer interest is not a prudent choice. But designing campaigns based only on customer interest can be flawed, or rather, can deliver partial success. Purchase intent, on the other hand, plays a much more significant role in converting customers, especially in the B2B sector.

In this case, first-party data is a better indicator of customer intent than third-party data. Marketers can collect first-party data through user consent. It comes only when the audience intends to receive information about the product, i.e., they are willing to purchase the product at some point. They are already ready to understand the product or try a demo version, so are one step closer to buying your product.

Wrap Up

Once marketing messages are curated based on the customer intent, it becomes more contextual. Further, marketers can nurture the audience with effective resources, eventually leading them to the bottom of the funnel and converting them. When marketers operate with first-party data, marketing communication becomes more influential and conversion-focused. 

Instead, if marketers have the information on customer intent markers like website visits, resource downloads, or signing up for a trial, converting such a set of customers becomes easier. For that, the nature of communication should be more targeted and contextual and improve the intent to buy the product. Converting them would be much more challenging unless your marketing messages cannot make the audience listen to you.

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