By Caitlin Brennan

June 7th, 2016

Can you predict something before it happens? How about finding consumers before they’ve even started shopping. Impossible? Not with intent based marketing. It’s like the marketing equivalent of a crystal ball. Intent based marketing relies on research and resources to identify people about to make a purchase decision. For example, searching Twitter and tweeting at the people who use phrases like “new pair of shoes” or “switch gyms” is intent marketing at its most basic. By paying attention to these buying signals, brands can identify and reach out to potential customers.

Listening to understand:
Sound great? Then listen up! Intent marketing starts with social listening. It’s the key to discovering signals and understanding intent.

Let’s break it down:

#1 – Determine your customer intent signals:
By using social media listening you can tune in to conversations around your brand or product. Look for the trail of digital breadcrumbs by setting up keyword searches around your product.

#2 – Understand the intent:
You know the phrase ‘it’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it?’ (Maybe you heard this from your mom growing up?) This mom adage perfectly sums up how to interpret intent. It’s necessary to analyze the conversations to figure out what’s driving the conversation.

Say you own a clothing boutique and have a Pinterest board featuring your new styles. Someone commenting ‘nice dress!’, while a fine compliment, doesn’t express intent to buy. Whereas someone commenting, ‘this dress is perfect for my Homecoming dance!’ has expressed an immediate need and desire for your product.

Building audiences:
While it’s important to listen, you need to build upon what you’ve heard. The key is to not only discover and understand the signals – but to leverage that information. With this information, you can build audiences for social, search engine marketing, email…however you want to reach potential customers.

#1 – Create better campaigns and content based on the intelligence:
Make different campaigns for different types of decisions. If you sell shoes and handbags, don’t use the same campaign for both types of consumer. Users reveal what they’re interested in by the sites and product pages they visit, and marketers can then target consumers with personalized ads based on the intent signals they’ve given off.

#2 – Target your campaigns based on both intent and behavior:
Use other sources to find behavioral data (like your website traffic) and find overlaps with the intent data you get from social listening. This is a high-priority group of people who are actively shopping around. Social listening can tell you the kinds of questions they have so you can help them make the right decisions.
Make campaigns for different levels of intent, especially with bigger decisions and purchases. B2B buyers considering seven-figure contracts might be most ripe for pitches early on when they are just starting to gripe about their old systems. Again, by setting up social listening campaigns, you can search for relevant comments.

For another example, say you’re a local seller of car audio systems. Create alerts and geotag people in your area who share on social about recently purchasing an older model car and express interest in music. Knowing that most older model cars don’t have sophisticated sound systems, you can make a decision based on your brand voice as to whether you want to make a direct pitch or just use it to let them know you exist.

Consider you see a tweet from a potential customer discussing a recent purchase of an older model car and plans to attend a local concert. You don’t want to get too personal, so make sure you provide value to potential customers. In this case, you are providing value since you already know the person has an older model car and you know they like music, so you are providing them what they need without them even knowing. You are defining the need.

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The real-time nature of social media allows brands to target consumers not just by who they are, but by what they are doing from moment to moment. Intent based marketing locates individuals right where an intervention is most effective.

Fortunately, tools like Falcon (ok, we’re a bit biased) make it easier to discover the intentions of your customers/potential customers, and tailor messages to them directly. It may not be exactly like seeing into the future, but it’s close. 

Understanding Social Media ROI

Effectively measure the ROI of your social media marketing so you can optimize it.


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